“A palatial resort in Mediterranean design, the resort connects with the centuries-old traditional Arab culture with its oriental court gardens and extensive water features.” Rixos Premium Saadiyat Island
Rixos Premium Saadiyat Island is an imposing five-star resort that combines Turkish hospitality with Abu Dhabi’s first all-inclusive hotel concept. Set amongst Ottoman style buildings, water features and manicured gardens is a variety of accommodation choices comprising of 366 rooms and suites and 12 luxury villas. Guests can enjoy an abundance of facilities such as private beach access, the large resort pool, onsite spa, fitness centre, water park and wave pool. The imposing lobby is quite a sight to behold with ostentatious gold, bright blue and green decor, not to my taste but still a certain kind of wow factor if you favour more garish design.
The main attraction of this ginormous resort, besides the free flowing premium beverages, is its location on the beautiful pristine beach of Saadiyat Island. It’s not only a sun worshipper’s paradise with plenty of loungers but also the perfect spot for a nightly sunset stroll. The main pool is the place to kick back and enjoy the speedy service provided by the waiters on rollerblades who whizz around serving drinks and ice-lollies. One of the all-inclusive rules, of which there were many, is that food is not served by the pool which is unusual/annoying but snacks can be ordered at nearby People’s restaurant.
The all-inclusive package covers breakfast, lunch and dinner all served at the vast all-day dining restaurant, Turquoise. With check-in at 3pm and lunch only served until 3:30pm things did not get off to a great start, a ploy you may deduce that was not mentioned at any time prior to arrival. We did, however, manage a speedy meal despite the tight timings. Be aware that if you agree a late check out the all-inclusive options stop at 12 noon regardless.
Although there were limited vegetarian options the international buffet actually exceeded my expectations with regard to quality but the service did not. Covid restrictions dictate that buffet stations have servers but sadly inadequate training meant they had no idea what they were serving (for example the salad guy didn’t even know what a tomato was!). A management issue for sure and slightly frustrating when stations were busy, glad we were there on weekdays not at a weekend.
Lunch and dinner selections were very similar and the breakfast options were plentiful, however I would have tired of the repetition if staying longer than two days. Guests can elect to dine at the hotel’s other restaurants at an additional charge, take a culinary trip around the globe at L’Olivo (Italian), Orient (Turkish), Aja (Japanese) and Mermaid (Seafood)*. There’s also a selection of bars for all guests. Villa guests have a butler service and access to an exclusive club house.
We stayed in a premium king room with direct access to a shared private pool. The sizable room had a large bathroom with freestanding bath and separate rain shower, a small outdoor terrace with seating and a garden with sun loungers. Although it’s great to have the pool access the continuous depth of the water was too high to just chill without a shallow end or in-pool steps/seats. The rooms gaudy decor combined eye-popping bright colours but despite that the bed was comfortable and the bathroom wall slid back to create an open plan space.
If chilling by the pool or relaxing at the beach isn’t your thing there are plenty of other activities to keep you busy. The kids water park and the wave pool are a fantastic feature that will keep the younger members of the family (and big kids) entertained and cool in the desert heat. There’s also a fitness centre, Anjana Spa with its Turkish Hammam and snow room, tennis courts, badminton, table tennis, beach volleyball and bike tours and golf at nearby Saadiyat Beach Golf Club (additional charge). In non-Covid times the resort offers live music and performances, themed dinner nights, Rixy kid’s club, fitness sessions such as aerobics and water sports.* Culture vultures can visit the nearby Louvre Abu Dhabi, undoubtedly the region’s best art museum.
For a relatively new resort there are a few issues with service and facilities (lifeguard was collecting falling pool tiles) and it’s a little grubby in places but nevertheless you can’t beat the location. The all-inclusive factor felt like a throwback to the European package holiday. Would I go back? Probably not to stay but I think the Daycation packages are great value. If you are planning a visit and your budget allows, book a beachfront villa because they look top notch.
The Nitty Gritty
Rixos Premium Saadiyat Island, Saadiyat Island, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Telephone: 02 492 2222
Check-out: 12 noon
*In light of COVID-19 and for precautionary measures some of the hotel’s dining, recreational and other services and operations may be limited or temporarily suspended until further notice. Face masks or coverings are required at all times unless inside your own room, suite or villa. For more information click HERE
Stunning beachfront location and main pool area
Fantastic kids water park and wave pool
Premium drinks included in all-inclusive package
Lovely birthday celebration set-up in our room
Free fast wifi
The Not so Good…..
Check-in 3pm but the all-inclusive lunch service finishes at 3:30pm
Buffet staff not adequately trained and did not know what they were serving
All-inclusive had restrictions
Pool depth too deep in pool access rooms
No bath robes provided in our room
All views are my own based on my experience. Unless otherwise stated all photos © Jo Brett 2021. All rights reserved. Additional photos used with courtesy of Rixos Premium Saadiyat Island.