Poolside view

Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort hits the right chords — design, view, and sustainability

There’s an exotic destination in the heart of the capital located on Saadiyat Island. Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort is a breath of fresh air and different in every sense. This understated luxury arrives at the Abu Dhabi shores and is the perfect place to unwind, relax, and enjoy the island life. This ultra-modern and contemporary resort has taken the level of sustainability to another level. Anchored on one of the most desirable beach locations in the UAE, the resort was also conceived with the environment in mind and is accredited with the respected pearl certification. Saadiyat’s design ensured a reduced impact on the key island habitats, namely mangrove and wetland areas as well as the Saadiyat beach dune ecosystem, its native flora and fauna, specifically the nesting of endangered hawksbill turtles.

In partnership with Trust Your Water, the resort will provide solutions to eliminate the need for single-use plastic water bottles. Additional measures include complimentary reusable water sports bottles for all guests who will be encouraged to refill at water stations, serving local filtered water in glass bottles throughout the resort and eliminating plastic straws and single-use plastic products. Linda Griffin is the general manager of Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island and has a career spanning more than three decades, Griffin has worked all over the world – from her native Canada to Australia, Africa, Japan, South America, and Europe, she brings a wealth of experience to her latest post as general manager, Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi. Griffin is thrilled with the response the property has received so far.

Panoramic suite

Set against a beautiful azure backdrop, dining and socialising at any of the restaurants and bars here evokes a freeing sense of escape. There’s a restaurant for every mood. The Lounge Saadiyat is a great place for sundowners and for spending quality time with friends. The rich aroma of roasted coffee will entice you into Majlis Saadiyat on the lobby level.

Head to White and indulge your every foodie whim at the interactive White, with dishes from around the world tailored to your taste, prepared live at our cooking stations. Then there’s TEAN where the guests can experience the best of Arabic cuisine. For complete peace of mind, body, and soul, try their spa. The spa spans 2,700sqm, with 15 treatment rooms, male and female facilities, that include sauna, hydrotherapy pools, steam room, salt room, experience showers, and traditional Arabic Rasul room. At the centre lies the grand Moroccan Hammam – enrich the body and mind with this cleansing ritual that has been celebrated for centuries. 293 Rooms and suites face the sea, showcasing views from either a private balcony or a garden access room, with an extended patio and outdoor space. Existing in harmony with the ocean, calm and neutral hues create an aura of understated elegance and ocean-inspired accessories enhance the interiors. Room options include king rooms, twin rooms, suites, and villas. Eight exclusive villas offering two, three or four bedrooms provide impeccable comfort along with your own private pool and five of the villas also have their own spa treatment room.

Linda Griffin, general manager

In conversation with Linda Griffin, general manager of Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island about the property:

What considerations go into building a luxury hotel?

Luxury can be defined in many shapes and forms. The look and feel of the hotel, quality of the services offered, diversity of the experience and features of the property that cater to the needs of each individual, all come into play. A true luxury hotel provides exceptional experiences that exceed customer expectations and creates a brand encounter that will be talked about to friends and relatives. Luxury also lies in adopting the right technologies, authenticity, attention to detail, personalisation, and the ability to surprise guests. To embody luxury many aesthetic and ambient elements must also be taken into consideration in the design stage to balance the exterior with the natural environment. At Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort, our vision was to embody the local culture with an offer of understated luxury in contemporary and sustainable surroundings. From the guestrooms to our tranquil Talise Spa, luxury underlined by simplicity marks the property’s modernist, light-toned aesthetic. We have placed a particular focus on the culinary side of things and are proud of the hotels varied and elegant cuisine. The dining options are of the highest calibre and there is something to suit every palette from Arabian mezzes to chic poolside lunches.

What was the inspiration behind the hotel design?

The hotel’s design is a harmony of architecture and landscape that creates a ‘sense of place’. Equally, the property’s interior spaces connect with the outside environment to maximise the natural beauty of the location and reinforce its strong connection to the sea. The hotel was designed to blend into Saadiyat Island’s environment – it fits in with the rolling dunes around it, causing as little contrast as possible. With its modern architectural style, light filled spaces with lofty ceilings, sea inspired installations and colour palette of subtle and natural shades, the resort has been designed to create the ultimate lifestyle experience for visitors and guests.

How does the specific city contribute to the hotel’s design elements?

Location plays a major role in designing a hotel. Situated next to one of the most spectacular beaches in the Arabian Gulf, every aspect of the resort’s design has been influenced by the beauty of Abu Dhabi’s shores, and its rich culture and heritage. The resort’s modernist architecture settles naturally into the topography of Saadiyat Island; with iconic and timeless buildings that accentuate the coastal location and offer expansive views of the stunning ocean vista. A contemporary Arabian look and feel reigns throughout with traditional motifs reflects in the culinary and beachside offer.

How do specific designs contribute to the guest experience?

Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort has built its aesthetic around the natural beauty and cultural heritage of the location, which is a large draw for guests. From the arrival experience at the Porte Cochere, along the journey to the resort suite or villa and during their entire stay, the connection to the sea is always apparent. The transparency of design allows the visitor to constantly be aware of their location within the resort and on Saadiyat Island. The architectural planning of the design is strengthened by two axis; the formal south-north axis between the main entrance the sea respectively, and the circulation axis which takes the shape of an arc spanning from east to west across the site. The circulation axis is intersected by a series of overlapping ellipses. Four accommodation wings stem like arms, reaching out to the Arabian Gulf, one pair of arms form both an eastern and western central ellipse, located either side of the central arrival lobby. Significantly, all rooms, suites and villas face a northerly aspect maximising cooling views to the sea.

White Restaurant

The generous and welcoming lobby, centrally placed in the building, offers a transparent view of the beach front, letting guests engage with the outside and enjoy expansive views of the pristine waters.Filled with generously proportioned sofas and armchairs, the comfortable lounge spaces provide guests a place to socialise and relax.

The guest rooms are a study in aesthetic simplicity. The living rooms are expansive, the bathrooms open and airy providing alluring layering of spaces through diaphanous patterned glass screens. The living zone also offers a direct view of the pools, lush tropical gardens and the waters beyond. In the restaurants and entertainment areas, natural and textured materials are employed to create a warm, wholesome atmosphere, enhancing the azure tones of the sea outside.