Despite my love for travel, I can’t say I’m one of those people that love to fly. Tedious and tiring, I long for the impossible: time travel. (Or supersonic jets that render lengthy airport waits and hours up in the air obsolete.)
In saying that, after a 14-hour flight, any kind of ground-level situation is a welcome relief – but especially one with a 5-star label. Enter: the Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi.
Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi
This celebrated Abu Dhabi hotel lies on pristine Saadiyat Beach, an environmentally protected stretch adjacent Saadiyat Beach Golf Club. The resort’s prime spot on Saadiyat Island (which translates to ‘the island of happiness’) earns it a coveted status among leisure seekers. Needless to say, on the drive to the ‘island of happiness’, I’m more than a little ecstatic at the thought of checking in to my luxurious home for the evening.
The resort – Park Hyatt’s biggest worldwide – is underpinned by a chocolate and taupe colour scheme with subtle gold accents. It’s dim, moody and absolutely gorgeous – an air-conditioned oasis from the glaring desert sun and oven-like temperatures outside. It’s certainly opulent, like what I imagine a sheikh’s estate to look like, but it’s not a place the average traveller would feel out of place.
The check-in desk is purposefully tucked away to ensure your eyes are drawn to the lobby centrepiece. A tranquil water feature subtly commands attention, behind which you can glimpse the glittering pool, and in the distance, the brilliantly blue water of the Arabian Sea. Someone hand me a beach towel, already.
But first, breakfast. Few scenes are a more captivating sight than the sparkle of sugar-glazed pastries and intricate fruit displays at a breakfast buffet. Then come the wafts of smoky bacon; yes, this is food nirvana.
Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi’s breakfast offering is a wonderland for food lovers. Every craving is satisfied, from the hot selection, including made-to-order omelettes and various cuts of bacon (beef, not pork), to local Emirati cuisine – like the creamy hummus that even had this steadfast chickpea unenthusiast going back for seconds.
Those that are more continentally inclined have their pick of cereals, mueslis, fruit, cheese and smoked meat/fish. After all, what’s breakfast without a cheese plate? Sweet tooths, you certainly haven’t been forgotten either, with a smorgasbord of flaky baked goods and made-to-order hotcakes and waffles.
Counting five other food and beverage outlets in its edible arsenal, Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi’s dining scene also excels beyond the buffet.
Afternoon tea is served in The Library, a contemporary tea lounge that brews specialty blends alongside exquisite chocolates and cakes, while hearty char-grilled meats take centre stage in the large theatre-style kitchen at The Park Bar & Grill. When it comes to afternoon libations, inventive cocktails and Mediterranean fare are the perfect pairing at Beach House, a destination restaurant with a rooftop bar, offering uninterrupted views of Saadiyat Beach.
A Sneak Peek Of The Inner Sanctuary
My early morning arrival meant my eagerly awaited room wasn’t quite ready yet. But, it meant I could enjoy a preview of the resort’s dedicated sanctuary, Atarmia Spa, to wash off the last 14 hours.
Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi’s spa sits at the intersection of ancient Arabia and contemporary luxury. As I expected, the private shower suites were just what the travel gods ordered, with a choice of therapeutic rain-style or horizontal faucets and luxury bath products.
Unfortunately time was not on my side to enjoy the rest of the spa features, which range from a private pool and sauna facilities to a host of modern-day healing therapies inspired by Arabic rituals. If you really want to amp up the luxury during your stay, ‘Opulence’ treatments incorporate gemstones, caviar and even diamonds to replenish your mind, body and soul (just not your bank account).
A Home Away From Home
If Atarmia Spa is the icing on the Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi cake, the rooms and suites are its rich buttery sponge.
Much like the rest of the resort, it’s obvious that ‘standard’ was never part of any design brief. Accommodation types across the 308 rooms and suites vary little between exquisite and luxurious, differing only in size and the little extras.
The chic colour scheme from the lobby continues into my sea view king room. Views from my private balcony span the palm tree-peppered resort grounds to hazy vistas of the golden sand and aqua water in the distance.
While the bed is cloud-like, the bathroom is the crown jewel. Dual vanity sinks, a Hans Grohe-designed walk-in shower and an enormous bathtub are a welcome sight, but the beauty addict in me is more delighted with the Le Labo bath products.
If you have a few more dirhams to lay down, you can upgrade to a 100-square-metre suite, or treat yourself to a villa to enjoy the ultimate in Arabian hospitality. At 200 square metres, expect a two-bedroom beachfront villa, complete with an outdoor terrace, dining terrace, living room, kitchen, and the piece de resistance, an outdoor plunge pool.
The Included Extras
At the resort’s centre is its impressive swimming pool. A mix of day beds shaded by lush palms and sunny spots create the perfect balance of privacy and being in the midst of the action. Or, you could reserve a sunlounge on the sand and spend your days alternating between your day bed and dips in the ocean. Other facilities on offer for all guests are a state-of-the-art tennis court, as well as a world-class 24-hour fitness centre.
Adults don’t get to have all the fun, however. Camp Hyatt is an exclusive facility for guests between ages five and 12. While parents are off at the spa, kids can enjoy everything from face painting and nature trails to cookie decorating and movie sessions. Parents and their young ones under four also have access to a haven filled with soft and baby toys to relax and play.
Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi sits at the nucleus of Abu Dhabi’s cultural heart, placing its guests within convenient reach of the city’s treasures. In fact, the 27-kilometre-long island is rapidly undergoing a refreshment project that will cement its status as a world-class leisure and cultural destination of grand, UAE-style proportions. The Zayed National Museum, Louvre Abu Dhabi and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi are long-awaited developments all due to open on the island in the near future.