Here’s what you can find at Abu Dhabi’s best beach clubs: Peace and quiet, if you are after it, or a chilled beachy vibe free from the hordes of Dubai. There are some pretty great views out there, too…
1. Grand Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel & Residences Emirates Pearl
The Grand Hyatt Abu Dhabi only opened in June, so it’s been a little hot to enjoy the beach club’s best feature: a 30-metre infinity pool. Not now, though, so dive right in. In addition to a small private beach there is also a plunge pool and children’s pool, surrounded by 70 sunbeds and 10 private cabanas and pods as well as something else you don’t find at local hotels very often: outdoor functioning training equipment, part of an offshoot of the 330-square-metre gym.
Grand Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel & Residences Emirates Pearl, daily 8am to 8pm, Dhs100 Sun to Thurs, Dhs150 Fri & Sat. Tel: (02) 510 1234. hyatt.com
2. Nation Riviera Beach Club
You couldn’t help but feel a twinge for the Corniche stalwart beach club, The Hiltonia, when the Nation Riviera behemoth rolled into the capital a few years ago. Connected to the St Regis Abu Dhabi via a cool marbled underground tunnel, the club offers 200 metres of prime private beachfront, with views of the Marina Mall breakwater and Lulu Island across the water. There you can lounge, swim or join in circuit-training classes led by the club’s personal trainers. There’s also a massive pool and swim up bar with a lively Friday scene, as well as an outdoor jacuzzi and private cabanas for rent. The Cabana Bar & Grill offers a range of items, from tasty burgers to superfood bowls. It’s also fully equipped for kids: Treasure Island Children’s Club is housed in a mock pirate ship, with fully supervised activities inside and out.
Nation Riviera Beach Club, St Regis Abu Dhabi, daily 8am to sunset, Dhs160 Sun to Thurs, Dhs210 Fri & Sat. Tel: (02) 694 4780. nationrivierabeachclub.com
3. Saadiyat Beach Club
It’s the rarest of offerings: a standalone club (no hotel attached) on an island that offers the only natural beaches in the capital. There’s two places to eat – the seafood restaurant Safina, and De La Costa, a casual joint that turns into a shisha lounge at night – an indoor/outdoor kids clubs, a beautiful infinity pool, and one of the most gorgeous settings in the emirate. Besides the view, you might even spot a dolphin or two out in the Arabian Gulf.
Saadiyat Beach Club, Saadiyat Island, daily 8am to 10pm, Dhs210 Sun to Thurs, Dhs320 Fri & Sat, ladies Dhs90 Mon and Tue. Tel: (02) 656 3500. saadiyatbeachclub.ae
4. The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal
Guests here can either amble out to the natural private beach on the Grand Canal or relax in a lounger or private cabana around a massive 1600-metre swimming pool. There are two pool bars selling fresh juices, smoothies and cocktails with the nearby pool restaurant Al Fresco offering five bento-style boxes featuring delicious salads, soups, mains and desserts. This is a very kid-friendly beach club, but there is an adult pool hidden nearby in the lush garden if the happy shrieking gets to be too much.
The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal, daily 7am to to sunset, Dhs200 Sun to Thurs, Dhs300 Fri & Sat, Dhs100 children. Cabana packages from Dhs350. Tel: (02) 818 8144. ritzcarlton.com
5. St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort
Head out to St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort for fantastic, unobstructed views of the Arabian Gulf from its private beach. There’s all the other stuff you need in a great beach club too, including three outdoor pools, cool tunes, delicious snacks and cold drinks on order. But it’s the views that will keep you coming back.
St Regis Resort, Saadiyat Island, daily 8am to 8pm, Dhs245 Sun to Thurs, Dhs450 Fri & Sat. Tel: (02) 498 8888. marriott.com
6. Jumeirah at Etihad Towers
There’s an infinity pool, a poolside bar and a swim-up bar at this gorgeous hotel located on the capital’s Corniche. While the beach is on the small side, the pool is huge and staff bring around frozen treats from time to time. The food is great, too – order a Nicoise salad or niftly deconstructed nachos from Pool Bar when you feel peckish.
Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, daily 10am to sunset, Dhs160 Sun to Thurs, Dhs210 Fri & Sat. Tel: (02) 811 5555. jumeirah.com
7. Emirates Palace
This is not a mere beach club, and why would it be, considering this is Abu Dhabi’s original luxury location? What we have here is a full-on resort featuring an assortment of fun tucked away on lush grounds. There are 1.3 kilometres of private beach and two resort pools, with adjacent smaller pools for children, a jacuzzi and swim-up bar. There is a full watersport centre – non-motorised and motorised – tennis and paddle courts and more than six kilometres of jogging paths, if you’re so inclined. For kids and your own inner child? There’s a lazy river run, cascading waterfalls, giant waterslides and an outdoor play zone. Hungry? Order in a snack or a picnic from La Brisas or Cascades, the hotel’s east and west beach club eateries.
Emirates Palace, daily 7am to sunset at Cascades Pool for families, 7am to 9pm at Las Brisas leisure pool, Dhs310 Sun to Thurs, Dhs155 children, Dhs410 Fri & Sat, Dhs205 children. Tel: (02) 690 7311. kempinski.com
8. The Club
There is a reason The Club (formerly the British Club) has been a favourite since it was founded way back in 1962 by a small group of expats looking to launch a social scene in Abu Dhabi. These days there’s the nice stretch of private beach – divided into family and adults-only areas – a 25-metre, temperature-controlled pool as well as two smaller versions for children, a shaded play area and a beach hut-style cafe within stretching distance. Fridays are sorted for families, from breakfast to sunset. The catch? It’s a private facility, so the best way to check it out is by tagging along with a member or trying it out for a day (or even a month) with an eye to getting a membership.
The Club, Mina Sadiyat. Tel: (02) 673 1111. the-club.com
9. Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort
This hotel doesn’t even open until later this month, but we are already excited about the beach club. Aerial views show a long private beach running the length of the property; one massive pool and another, smaller one. There is the plan to cohabitate with the local flora and fauna of mangroves, turtles and dolphins, and keep the property free of plastic. A sneak peek picture of the kids club shows a funky, colourful grassy area while the poolside Mare Mare restaurant looks to have a chill vibe, with rattan, natural wood and white accents.
Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island, opening November 30. Tel: (02) 811 5555. jumeirah.com