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  • Writer's pictureAbu Dhabi Review

This Saadiyat staycay will take you away without having to leave Abu Dhabi

Having stayed at all of the hotels and resorts on Saadiyat Island, we've been intrigued for a long time to see how Rotana (known primarily as a city brand) would fit, sit and make their mark on the idilic Island.

Saadiyat Rotana Resort and Villas has been open since 2018 and offers numerous dining outlets, private access to Saadiyat beach and a popular kids club (currently not open due to Covid-19 restrictions). Located in-between other resort hotels, its facade is in keeping with the style of its neighbour's, with it's low rise building and sandy coloured exterior.

Our two night stay was in a one bedroom Club Rotana Suite, which would normally offer access to the Club Lounge where you can have breakfast and sundowners, however due to current restrictions, it is closed. The suite itself, had a lounge with a dining area, small kitchenette, cloak room and balcony. The bedroom was large enough to add an extra bed for the little one and had a larger balcony over looking the pool and beach, equipped with two sun loungers. It was pretty shady the whole day, so in winter months don't expect your swimwear to dry quickly (let's face it, that's a key usage of most balconies for families!)

The facilities at the resort were also impressive. The pool is huge, so you didn't feel as if you were too close to others. There are large turtle statues dotted around spraying water from their mouths, which whilst fun for the kids, offered a great back massage if you stood the right place. The pool is not particularly deep so it felt safe for kids to swim independently. You can order food and drinks to your lounger or head over to Nasma Beachfront Bar which is an open air dining venue which overlooks both the beach and the pool. They'll also give you a cooler with water and towels.

The beach offers sun loungers and umbrellas, and the walkaway to the beach takes you a far as possible so you aren't traipsing through the sand to get to your desired spot. The beach is split into couples and families, so adults looking to have a more relaxing sunbathe, can do so without the dulcet tones of screaming cherubs around them.

Dining at the hotel is a gastronomic experience. Turtle Bay Bar and Grill offers fine dining with tables overlooking the pool on a terrace that's also surrounded by pools of water. Si Ristorante plates up authentic Italian fare and in their all day dining restaurant, Sim Sim, you'll enjoy breakfast and a really fantastic brunch called The Market Brunch.

The Market Brunch, is an absolute smorgasbord of cuisines, plus it boasts a rather large fish market. Grab your favorite fish or lobster and head over the grill stations where they will do all the cooking for you. The brunch offers indoor and outdoor seating - during the winter months, try and get a table outside - it's a real fun vibe. The drinks flow super fast and whilst it may be on the upper end of the market from a price perspective, you'll get your money's worth, thats for sure. As we rolled back the room, we saw a gastropub called Hamiltons, which has lots of offers - we'll try that next time.