Zaya Nurai Island, Abu Dhabi – The Review
A weekend staycation in the UAE provides choice like no other destination I’ve lived. From the desert resorts of Ras Al Khaimah, to the inner city hotels of Dubai, and the natural islands of Abu Dhabi.
Upon arriving at the dock on Saadiyat Island, your expectations are confused, a luxurious destination you can only get to by boat, yet the modest un- signposted dock and friendly staff casts ambiguity. We arrived at midday in advance of the 12:30pm speed boat transfer, the weekend bag packed and ready to celebrate a special anniversary – it was announced that Zaya Nurai Island was Abu Dhabi’s offering of comparability to The Maldives, a boastful PR message engrained in my expectation.
A 15 minute boat ride led us to the island, skipping the tranquil, silky, turquoise waters to an arrival of warmth and modern architecture. Guiding us to the reception was a path of established flora and a cold towel to dab one’s brow. The reception is beautifully decorated with art, books, photography, solid wooden furniture and a wall of carefully curated wines. A welcomed welcome. As a wine lover, I wanted to explore and upon seeing the selection, they have tailored for a knowledgeable palate.
A warm welcome to Zaya Nurai Island
A buggy escorted us to our Beach Villa and already our senses were awakened, the nature, beauty and design were fantastic and considered. The service from the staff was refreshing and executed with passion – they really do care, which ironically can falter tremendously in 5 star hospitality.
The villas are stylishly designed, modern, warm and again considered – since arrival I’ve noticed the abundance of books available, which seals the emotion of peace, togetherness and relaxation, certainly a focus of the resort. “WOW, WOW, WOW” were the words as the curtains were opened to reveal the views, the resort has ticked every box so far.
With the summer heat in the UAE reaching 50˚, it’s hard to escape the intense and smothering humidity, yet the villas had a freshness to them and the pool was perfectly cooled.
The Villas – Zaya Nurai Island
Sipping Champagne in an afternoon of romance, sharing stories and memories and as the sun starts to bow we head out to explore the island. Just in time for a cocktail at sunset.
The Beach Villa at the tip of sunset – Time for a cocktail at Smokin’ Pineapple
Outside the villa were bicycles as our transport across the resort which was great fun, a slight breeze made the ride pleasant and as we passed the staff, we were greeted with sincere smiles – smiling with the eyes (the sign of a true smile).
It was happy hour at Smokin’ Pineapple (Two for One), which was great, however, the bar tenders could have done with a little bit more training – pouring too much ice in a blender with the balance of ingredients for a frozen Margarita, dilutes the drink tremendously and the excess was poured away. At AED 70 a cocktail one should expect perfection.
The views over the sea were beautiful, hammocks on the shore, grass under feet and a wooden bar and ‘handmade’ garden furniture gave an authentic island feel to a five star resort.
As the sun starts to set at Zaya Nurai Island
The night drew in and we carried exploring the other restaurants and offerings at Zaya. All offering something a little different and again well executed with great staff service. All very ‘instagrammable’ and you’ll find some of my images @ajridgway (instagram)
Now for my “WOW, WOW, WOW” moment… Later that evening, I was posting and sipping a wonderful oakey, buttery Chardonnay, when a knock at the door was heard. We were greeted with a fruit platter and an array of goodies, accompanying it was a card from the hotel congratulating us on our anniversary, wishing us the best for a lifetime together #allyouneedislove. The resort Marketing team must have been following the posts and researched what room we were staying in and sent us this personal congratulations. What service! WOW. Absolute.
The water, the night, the views
Summary, Zaya Nurai Island you were magnificent. I was compelled as an unbiased paying customer to write this review. A totally exceptional experience executed with perfection, we will be back. Thank you for your 5 star hospitality, attention to detail and memories.
One night stay AED 2,500 booked through Travall World (booking.com)
Thank you for reading.
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