There’s more focus than ever before on mental health and wellbeing so do yourself a favour and press pause or check out of everyday life, so check yourself in for the ultimate staycation.
Words: Tamara Clarke
Saadiyat Rotana Resort & Villas is a luxurious property nestled in the capital’s cultural district on Saadiyat Island.
Just minutes away from the hustle and bustle of the city, Saadiyat Rotana has everything you need for the ultimate retreat including an array of award-winning restaurants.
The sprawling five-star property has a spa, kids’ club and more than 327 rooms, suites and beach villas making it an ideal place to take
a time out.
The suite life
The family suite pairs two rooms together – one with double beds and the other a king – which is the perfect setup for a family of four.
The kids stay in one room with the parents next door, sharing a small common area with an exterior door. This suites-within-a-suite concept makes life easy as family members can move between the two rooms freely and privately – a necessity when a five and seven-year-old are on the loose.
The rooms are spacious with modern amenities including rainshowers and reading lights strategically placed above each side of the beds – beds that are covered in comfy, white feather-down bedding “like you’re sleeping on a marshmallow” as per the kids.
The open, airy space is framed by wall-to-wall light-coloured tiles, which mimic oak wood slats giving the room a natural aesthetic, and the décor isn’t the only nod to nature. Several cards are placed strategically throughout the rooms explaining Rotana’s commitment to resource conservation. Guests are given the option to reuse towels and forego having linen changed on a daily basis.
The living quarters for this short stay are comfortable, inviting and welcoming down to the fluffy black slippers the kids couldn’t wait to slide into.
Eat your heart out
Relax, rejuvenate and eat good food. Saadiyat Rotana’s got you sorted on all fronts.
Get sorted and slip into the evening brunch at Si Ristorante Italiano & Bar to kick things off.
The quaint but well-appointed terrace is breezy and comfortable for enjoying a variety of Italian delicacies made from fresh seasonal ingredients prepared in open kitchens and of course, the grill.
There’s a generous cheese buffet with crackers, jams and an assortment of bread. Lasagne, slow-braised beef and artisan pizza are instant favourites.
For a special, personal touch, servers visit each table offering up servings of piping hot risotto and pasta. Plates must be watched carefully though as there’s a resident cat waiting to pounce.
AED 275 with soft beverages, AED 325 with house beverages, AED 425 with premium beverages. 6.30pm-10.30pm.
Sim Sim, the all-day dining restaurant on the premises, serves more than 100 international dishes and an expansive breakfast buffet inclusive of early morning staples like beef bacon and scrambled eggs as well as offbeat dishes like egg fried rice and spinach fatayer.
From French toast to pancakes to waffles and the live omelette station, there’s really nothing missing. There’s even a full-service cereal bar with Frosted Flakes – a God send with picky kids in tow.
If the abundance of options doesn’t get you revved up, perhaps a cranberry shooter from the fresh juice bar will. AED 178.
The Market Brunch
The Market Brunch – one of the best in the capital – takes place every Friday when Sim Sim is transformed into a charming marketplace with food galore.
The Fish Market – arguably the most coveted aspect of this brunch – boasts a wide selection of raw seafood including mahi mahi, crab, prawns, tuna, calamari and lobster to name a few. The concept here is to pick your portions and leave it with chefs who grill it to perfection and send it to your table.
There’s also a salad bar, an Asian-themed bar with crispy panko fried comfort food, dim sum, sushi and a live-cooking station for customised stir-fry.
The indoor-outdoor setup lends itself to a number of sizzling grills, as well as a colourful kids’ area to keep young diners entertained. Experiencing the brunch as a guest at the hotel means you can really tuck in and retreat back to the room in a matter of minutes – a perk worth paying for.
AED 350 with soft beverages, AED 495 with house beverages, AED 595 with premium beverages and VIP lounge access, AED 165 for kids aged six to 11 years old. 1pm-4pm.
Turtle Bay Bar & Grill
Turtle Bay Bar & Grill serves great food and amazing views of the property. At night, the terrace floats next to a wading pool illuminated in blue.
It’s a fun, quirky place to gather with the whole family as kids get a kick out of the giant replica turtle nearby and the ample kids’ menu – a colourful booklet with crosswords puzzles and activities.
While the kids’ menu is set, customisations are easily made. The adult menu is heavy on seafood but the steak options don’t disappoint. Succulent USDA Prime ribeye is made to order and paired with truffled shoestring fries topped with Parmesan – a must-try.
Saadiyat Rotana invites kids to stay and play with Aladdin’s Cave, the onsite destination for toddlers, teens and everyone in between. There’s a lot on offer or kids but this place is also a parent’s dream.
The venue opens to a reception area where children are signed in and out. There’s a wall of cubbies as shoes are not allowed in the space and also a row of neon yellow swim vests because, safety first.
Kids’ Club is attended by friendly, welcoming staff – the single most important aspect in winning parents’ trust.
This multi-room destination on the property is made just for kids with a screening room, water slide, lazy river, kids pool, library and gaming room.
There’s so much on offer but the kids start with a game of fuse ball, then move on to the scheduled arts and crafts activity followed by a game of mini golf and finally, some free
time on Playstation.
My two scents
With the kids sorted, mum and dad can enjoy a bit of relaxation at Zen the Spa, a peaceful, luxurious oasis that calms the senses as soon as you walk in. The signature massage, which promises deep relaxation with a signature blend of warmed oils is an unmatched experience.
Before the service begins, a tray of four signature oils is presented. One by one, each scent (Renew Rose, Revive Morning, Light Relax and Inner Strength) are waved in front of me. The lavender notes in Light Relax pull me in. I nod to it and the service begins.
Tap into it
Saadiyat Rotana Resort & Villas is the perfect place to disconnect and enjoy life off the grid but that doesn’t mean it’s void of technology. In fact, the hotel puts some pretty cool, current technology right at your fingertips.
Rooms are secured with keyless entry. Guests simply slide an activated key card over the lock until it illuminates green, turn the handle and push to get in. In-room controls such as lights, the cooling system, doorbell and status indicators like ‘do not disturb’ are all managed by a slick looking touchpad. There are touchpads mounted inside and outside each room for ease of use.
While this hotel is totally tech’d out, it’s not intimidating. These features are so easy that kids can work them – mine surely had the time of their lives ringing the doorbell and leaving us in the dark.
For bookings, contact: 02 697 0000, rotana.com/rotanahotelandresorts