The dreamy island getaway you never knew you needed…

Nurai Island has always enjoyed a mysterious allure, floating just a 20-minute boat trip from Saadiyat Island, this secluded safe haven has been on our list for some time.

So with a rare burst of Sunday afternoon motivation we find ourselves aboard a water taxi and Nurai-bound for a most epicurean sort of adventure. It takes us over waves and through untouched ocean blues, tracing a line of serene green mangroves.


On arrival, we are greeted by a luscious canopy of tropical greenery, with floral pops of purple and a wooden boardwalk guiding us onto the shore. This tropical oasis exudes sophistication and luxury while retaining an understated barefoot bohemian chic.

At once we arrive at Dusk, a charming Mexican eatery with twilight views of a setting sun sinking into the sea. We sit at an ocean-level annex on the outdoor terrace, plush cushion to our backs. Below us, a carpet of grass catches shadows from the soporific sway of palms overhead.


We decide that sharing dishes are the appropriate form for and island idyll and begin with smoked guacamole (Dhs75). It makes a conjuror’s entrance, brought to the table encased in a glass bell jar, swimming with mesmerizing smoke. We dig in salty tortillas, heaping on the greeny, smokey goodness, punctuated with bursts of lime.


We also try the aguchile de salmon (Dhs90). This small-but-mighty bowl of seared cubed salmon sits in an aromatic bath of spicy, citrusy auguachile sauce. Experience on the tongue is leant depth by garden-fresh crunches of onions and cucumber, creating a delicate harmony in each mouthful.


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Tostadas de tinga de pollo (Dhs60), come What’s On approved too. Shredded slow cooked chicken marinated in a smokey adoboa sauce topped onto a fried corn tortilla. A smear of sour cream, crunchy red cabbage and dash of fresh cheese round off each hefty bite.

The Tacos de carne cocinado a feugo lento (Dhs70), also deserve recognition— a corn tortillas primed with guacamole, chimichurri, slow cooked beef and cotija cheese that just melt in the mouth.

We’ve the desire for more but the sun’s dying light calls us back to our water carriage home. Our hearts and stomachs full.

What’s on Verdict: Nurai island feels like a dream, a trip to the tropics. The ideal place to spend an afternoon relaxing with loved ones and finding equilibrium with the elements.

Dusk Lounge, Nurai Island, Dhs550 weekday pass (200 redeemable) Dhs650 weekend day pass (200 redeemable), kids 5-12 Dhs150 (Dhs50 redeemable).

Images: provided and What’s On