There’s a big clue in the word staycation and that is stay. If I’m finishing work on a Thursday night and aiming the front of my Lexus at Abu Dhabi, when I get there, I want the least hassle as possible. In fact, once I’m at my chosen hotel, from the moment I leave my car with the valet, I don’t want to see it again until I head home. I’ve got three nights only and I want to spend them eating, drinking and sitting by the pool.
Staycations are all about relaxing, not spending two hours to get ready to go find a restaurant; you simply can’t beat going back to your room after a few hours chilling by the pool, popping on some comfy casuals and heading downstairs to a top eatery – and that’s why for me at least, the all-inclusive Rixos at Saadiyat Island makes complete sense.
So, what has the Rixos got that’s going to keep its guests busy for a weekend (or much longer)? Well, here’s what makes the hotel stand out in the hotel-heavy capital…
Location: It’s on Saadiyat Island – literally, the Island of Happiness. It’s easy to get to by car and now much quicker thanks to Abu Dhabi’s fantastic Maximum Speed limit. The E12 from Yas to Saadiyat with its sea and mangroves views is a picturesque drive and a great way to start a holiday.
Style: Here in the UAE you expect a certain level of architectural aesthetics and the Rixos doesn’t disappoint; after all, the hotel’s design is inspired by the palaces of the Ottoman Empire. Inside, you’ll find grand spaces filled with soft colours, geometric shapes and intricate curves, all of which are totally Instagramable. The lobby itself is absolutely stunning, setting the ambience for your stay ahead.
Choice: Depending on the level of luxury you’re seeking, the Rixos has your accommodation wishes covered. Room wise, there are 366 rooms and suites all designed in the same opulent Ottoman style as the rest of the hotel. For those with larger wallets, there are 12 three and four-bedroom villas to choose from, all of which have either shared or private pools as well as direct access to Saadiyat’s pristine white sands. Oh, and a dedicated butler is also assigned to the villas – although we can’t guarantee he’ll be an old English guy called Jeeves or Alfred.
Dinner time: Without doubt, the best time of the day and the Rixos Saadiyat Island can keep even the most avid foodies coming back for seconds. A total of ten restaurants and bars can tickle your taste buds during your stay, meaning you can sample delights from across the globe without leaving your comfort zone. It’s all-inclusive too, which takes the financial guesswork out of dining. So, what would we recommend? Well, as the Rixos is Ottoman inspired, Turquoise is the place to head for your authentic Turkish cuisine, with the traditional beef, lamb, chicken or sucuk shawarma (doner kebab for you Brits!) is well worth a visit.
You can’t beat going back to your room after a few hours chilling by the pool, popping on some comfy casuals and heading downstairs to a top eatery.
For seafood lovers, the beachfront Mermaid offers delicacies caught freshly in the Mediterranean and swiftly packed off to the UAE’s capital.
No staycation is complete without pizza, so a trip downstairs to L’Olivo must be taken at least a few times during your stay. But not on Mondays, as sadly for pasta-partisans, it is closed.
With a live Teppanyaki station along with a sake and sushi bar, Aja brings the exotic delights of Japanese food culture to the Rixos Saadiyat Island. Here, the chef will prepare your meal for you on an iron plate (a teppen), then fry it (yaki). Delicious!
A selection of beach bars, tea and shisha lounges and the Club House – an exclusive restaurant reserved for villa guests, keep the hunger pangs at bay, while the Orient finishes of the restaurant list with a menu comprised of Oriental Turkish cuisine.
Entertainment: There’s no point having an all inclusive stay if there’s nothing to do and although the likes of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Zayed Mosque and Ferrari World are a quick drive away, the Rixos has plenty to do, boasting its own waterpark (complete with wave pool), plus a children’s aqua park to keep the kiddies happy. Within the extensive gardens, the Rixos Saadiyat’s Spa will soon have you deep in a state of relaxation – an integral part of any Turkish inspired hotel. The spa’s design reflects traditional Ottoman architecture to create a truly luxurious indoor and outdoor sanctuary, where guests enjoy complimentary use of the steam room, sauna, a private outdoor pool, and if you’re feeling adventurous, the ice room. A collection of luxury treatment rooms and a traditional Turkish Hammam await those who wish to book a spa treatment, with expert therapists on hand to restore balance for mind, body and soul, especially so if you’re dropped the little ones at the Rixy Kids Club.
Adrenaline junkies can work out in the state-of-the-art gym, or take part in a wide range of in-resort activities from tennis lessons to yoga on the sand. Whatever your staycation requirements, the Rixos Saadiyat Island has it all. It’s quite possible to spend an entire weekend eating pizza, or do the complete opposite and live it at 100km/h finishing your stay with a sunset paddle boarding session. It’s all included, so just enjoy yourself.