Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort: A Sanctuary for Sustainability

5 mins

Set to a backdrop of azure waters and frolicking dolphins, a staycation on Abu Dhabi’s most picturesque island, Saadiyat, is a far from ordinary experience  

‘Move your body, feel the music, and connect with the earth beneath your feet.’

Dancing barefoot around the garden of an enormous villa to the beat of drums and Tibetan gongs isn’t the most normal way to spend a staycation.   

But then again, nothing about Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort is anything less than extraordinary. 

Saadiyat’s amazing marine life

Located on the UAE’s most beautiful stretch of coastline, in an area frequented by turtles, dolphins, dugongs and other precious ocean animals, it’s a unique luxury resort with a conscience.   

The first hotel in the Middle East to be recognised by The Oceanic Standard, the global initiative that awards businesses for their plastic-free and sustainable initiatives, its efforts go far beyond just paper straws and wooden key cards.  

Not a single plastic bottle can be found anywhere. Rather than giving out bottles of water, every guest is provided with their own reusable tumbler to refill at water fountains that are spread throughout the hotel.  Thermo-dynamic panels heat the hot water, and its extensive recycling practices ensure that as little as possible goes to waste.

But the most special and commendable thing is the effort it makes to protect local marine life.

The resort is proud to have its own onsite marine biologist who works with the local authorities to care for any sick and injured turtles that are washed up on the beach. It also organises beach clean-ups and other environmental-focused activities for guests and the local community.

Providing a stark contrast to some of the UAE’s other polished beach clubs and man-made beaches, the golden sand in front of the resort is fringed with native flora and fauna that provides vital natural habitat for birds and nesting turtles.  

In fact, every element of the hotel is designed to have minimal impact on the surrounding ecosystem. We were even lucky enough to meet some of the island’s most magnificent local residents in person.

Whilst strolling along the beach we were followed by a pod of rare humpback dolphins playing close to the shoreline.  It was a real ‘pinch me’ moment to be remembered for a long time.

Alternative eco-friendly experiences

But what brought me to dancing and yodeling around one of the resort’s private villas was a ‘cacao ceremony’ that had been arranged by the spa.

Combining guided breathing with homemade cacao tasting and intuitive dancing, it was all concluded with half an hour of restorative sound healing set under the stars. Thrown out of my comfort zone and led on a journey that was totally new to me in every way, it was far more refreshing and impactful than any standard pampering session.

Going far beyond the usual fitness classes and wellness experiences, the spa also offers sound baths in its stunning grand hammam, tailored sound healing retreats, full moon rituals and more.   

The ‘Eco golf’ is another one-of-a-kind activity. 

Inviting you to practice your swing by hitting shots into the sea, it uses special biodegradable balls that contain a centre made from fish food.  

Very family friendly, a huge choice of beach balls, toys and kites are available on the beach for anyone to use, while kayaks, stand up paddle boards, body boards and other watersports equipment can also be rented. 

Of course, the best activity of all is stepping off your sunbed for a refreshing swim in the impossibly clear and clean ocean. Don’t be surprised if you see fish or even turtles out there bobbing along with you. 

Delicious local cuisine

The idyllic setting and eco-luxury rooms are complemented with a choice of magnificent restaurants, including chic poolside Italian Mare Mare, Sal pool bar, sports bar Offside and Levantine hotspot Tean. We dined at the latter, and enjoyed a blissful evening meal set to the soundtrack of the lapping waves.  

Brilliant for those on a meat-free diet, we feasted on silky smooth hummus, salty slabs of grilled halloumi, crunchy Greek salads, freshly baked Turkish pide, authentic Arabic falafel and other colourful mezze. Everything was delicious, and the quality was simply superb. 

But breakfast at White was arguably the greatest indulgence of all. Taking the classic hotel morning buffet to the next level, the dedicated avocado toast station was an absolute revelation, while I could have worked through the many different smoothies, juices, pastries, homemade muesli and chia bowls all day.  

Offering the ultimate island escape, just 15 minutes from Downtown Abu Dhabi and an hour from Dubai, Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort feels a world away from the realities of everyday life.   

With blue seas and soft white sands to rival the Maldives, it’s a little slice of eco-conscious paradise located just steps (or a short drive) from your front door.   

For more information or to book a stay at Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort, please visit the website here

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