Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort: Sheer Luxury

It may not get the recognition that some of its sister properties do, but this is a magical resort. (Supplied)
Updated 03 September 2019
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Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort: Sheer Luxury

DUBAI: Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort has been open for less than a year, but has already been named Abu Dhabi's Leading Luxury Resort by this year’s edition of the long-running World Travel Awards. And considering the competition in the UAE capital, the accolade speaks volumes about the experience at the resort.

Celebrating its first birthday this November, the property had something of a quiet soft launch, and even now — just a couple of months away from its first birthday — remains relatively unheralded compared to other Jumeirah properties such as Burj Al Arab and Zabeel Saray. But don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s not worth a visit.

Because it most definitely is. Sometimes the less hype about a place, the better.

Located a 30-minute drive away from Abu Dhabi International Airport, Saadiyat Island is billed as a “world class leisure, residential, and cultural hub,” and is already home to several luxury resorts as well as the Louvre Abu Dhabi. Jumeirah’s latest edition is situated in prime position among the other five-star retreats, and is attracting a diverse clientele — during our visit we met travellers from the GCC, Europe and the United States.

A couple of things are major highlights: the gorgeous view, and the food.

Most rooms — there are around 290 rooms, suites and villas on the property — overlook the beautiful private beach and pool areas. The golden beach spans about half a kilometer along the gorgeous blue sea, and there are three swimming pools to choose from. For those seeking relaxation, Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort is home to a standalone spa, featuring 15 treatment rooms.

The marine theme spills over into the hotel’s interiors, intentionally offering a “backdrop of refined island life,” with spacious rooms featuring floor-to-ceiling windows and opening to a balcony with a panoramic view of the sea. The cool breeze feels fresh and calming — a welcome change from the atmosphere of the daily grind.

The hotel is taking active steps towards sustainability too; amenities are recyclable where possible, and it has eliminated single-use plastic. Water-filled glass bottles can be found near the room’s mini-bar, and these are replenished daily, while the resort also provides complimentary reusable plastic bottles for guests to refill at water stations dotted around the place.

As for the food — oh, goodness the food. If you don’t have time to stay at the resort, then you should at least try one (or more) of its seven restaurants. Our first stop was the poolside eatery, Mare Mare, which specializes in the home-cooked-style coastal flavors of Italy. The La Burrata starter that arrived at our table — fresh burrata cheese, heirloom tomatoes and basil pesto — was simply divine, while the Classica gourmet pizza — with tomato sauce, buffalo mozzarella and anchovies — was one of the best pizzas we have sampled in the Emirates so far (for those averse to anchovies, don’t worry — there are plenty of fish-less options).

Saving the best until last, try the fantastic Tean, a Levantine/pan-Arabic restaurant that has an exciting menu. Rather than just sticking to the tried-and-tested mixed-grill dishes, here you have a choice of everything from manakeesh to Turkish pide, and Emirati specialties too (Machboos Robian, Al Harees, and Thareed Dajaj, for example). Signature dishes include homemade manti, and Dajaj Musakhan (chicken, sumac, onion and pine nuts). Leave room for dessert — the Umm Ali is worth it.

And if you decide you should work some of those calories off, the resort features fitness facilities, a floodlit tennis court, a watersports center, and a golf course. Whatever your holiday format, you’ll definitely enjoy a stay here.


Rita Ora shows love for Arab fashion in London 

The singer was spotted wearing a shirt dress by Rami Kadi. (Getty Images)
Updated 18 September 2019

Rita Ora shows love for Arab fashion in London 

DUBAI: Earlier this week, celebrities descended on YouTube & LOVE magazine’s London Fashion Week party, including the likes of Gigi and Bella Hadid, Kendall Jenner and Rita Ora — who chose to sport a Lebanese minidress on the occasion. 

Models and pop stars partied the night away at London’s The Standard Hotel on Monday night and Ora dazzled in a Pied-de-Coq patterned outfit from Lebanese designer Rami Kadi’s Fall/Winter 2019 collection, dubbed “Ometeo.”

The semi-sheer shirt dress featured pale yellow and ice blue patternwork and Ora paired the outfit with a wide brimmed hat and knee-high black boots. 

The outfit was styled by Rob Zangardi and Mariel Haenn. 

Rita Ora is no stranger to the Middle East and has performed in the Gulf a few times. (Getty Images)

Young Lebanese designer Kadi has become known for his cutting-edge style and often uses unexpected materials in his work — his latest collection features plexi glass in neon shades. The talent is becoming more and more popular with international celebrities and has already dressed the likes of pop legend Jennifer Lopez and Portuguese model Sara Sampaio, with Ora becoming the latest in a long list of leading ladies to turn to Kadi for sartorial advice. 

Besides her fashion choices, Ora has shown love for the Middle East in other ways — including filming her latest music video in Dubai. 

The singer unveiled the video for her single “New Look” in July and Dubai residents were quick to spot their stomping grounds in the clip. 

One of the neighborhoods to feature in the music video was Meydan — home to Dubai’s premiere racecourse, as well as a clutch of popular party spots.

Ora also performed at The Assembly - the Global Teacher Prize Concert in Dubai in March and at Base, the open-air club in the artsy Dubai Design District, last year.

In 2018, the award-winning singer found time for a quick Instagram-friendly workout in the gym of her Bahrain hotel before going on to wow crowds at the island’s annual Spring of Culture Festival.

The 27-year-old rose to fame in 2012 when she featured on DJ Fresh’s UK Number One “Hot Right Now.” Her self-titled debut album, released in August that year, also went to Number One and featured hits including “How We Do (Party),” “R.I.P.” and “Shine Ya Light.”