“Saadiyat Rotana Resort & Villas is set to become the go-to destination in the Capital for a luxurious resort experience.” Marc de Beer
Turtle Bay Bar & Grill is the first restaurant to open at the new Saadiyat Rotana Resort and Villas. The enormous resort, which has a prime location on a pristine stretch of Saadiyat Beach, is still in its initial opening phase with more dining outlets coming soon but for now all eyes are firmly focused on Turtle Bay.
One thing you can’t deny is this upmarket restaurant has the most beautiful setting. The two-storey establishment, flanked at the entrance by giant stone turtles, offers guests a fabulous poolside terrace for alfresco dining and a spacious interior with a well-stocked bar and wine cellar. Upstairs there’s a rather delightful rooftop terrace (not open to guests until September) serving a variety of cocktails and offering an amazing vista, especially at sunset.
With its selection of grilled meats and locally-caught fish Turtle Bay offers a sizable surf and turf menu but sadly it’s vegetarian options are a little more limited. I have been twice, once as a paying guest and once to the media launch and while I have enjoyed both experiences I was underwhelmed by the veggie choices.
My dining companions however, carnivores and pesacarsians have on both occasions, enjoyed their dishes. You can expect everything from jumbo prawns, traditional fish and chips to oysters and lobster, mixed grills, short rib and prime steaks that melt in your mouth, so I’m told. Dessert options are varied, the cherry and praline creme brulee was tasty but overly large and the glace cherries were a surprise and unwelcome addition.
I’m excited for the remaining dining outlets to open especially as my favourite cuisine will be served at Si Ristorante Italiano & Bar, the first Italian restaurant to open on Saadiyat Island. Hamilton’s Gastropub promises British and American pub-style classics accompanied by a selection of beers. Sim Sim all-day dining serves international favourites for breakfast, lunch and dinner and Sama Lobby Lounge is the place for tea, coffee, pastries and light snacks, both of these venues are already in operation.
The luxury resort is a prime beachfront property nestled on the shores of the Arabian Gulf. Grab a hammock or private cabana at the beach club and enjoy the music from the live DJ. Nasma Beachfront Bar (opening soon) will offer a menu of sushi, ceviches, sharing plates and signature cocktails. For those who like to keep active there’s plenty of options including a large outdoor swimming pool and with pool bar, two tennis and one multi-sports courts, mini golf and Bodylines Fitness and Wellness Club. Enjoy some pampering time at Zen the Spa (opening soon) with its ten treatment rooms and traditional Turkish and Moroccan hammam. Younger members of the family will be entertained at the Aladdin’s Cave kids club with its lazy river and cinema.
The five-star Saadiyat Rotana Resort & Villas is a modern interpretation of Arabic architecture flanked by date palms that offers guests over three hundred rooms and suites and thirteen spacious beach villas. The lobby is a vast neutral space that reflects the region with sands from all seven emirates housed under glass panels in the floor and there’s desert cacti and plants dotted around the low level seating areas. Why not treat yourself to a daycation, it’s definitely worth a visit to see for yourself what this latest opening on the ever expanding Saadiyat island has to offer.
Turtle Bay Bar & Grill
Location: Saadiyat Rotana Resort & Villas, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi
Telephone: 02 697 0000
Restaurant Opening Hours: Daily 12.00 noon – 12.00 midnight
I have visited this restaurant as both a paying and invited guest. Unless otherwise stated, all views and photos on this page © Jo Brett 2018. All rights reserved. Additional photos used with courtesy of Saadiyat Rotana Resort & Villas