Blue Marlin Ibiza UAE
A taste of Ibiza, just 45 minutes from Abu Dhabi Discuss this article
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If you’ve driven along the E11 highway from Abu Dhabi to Dubai, you’ve probably hurtled past this venue without even knowing it’s there. But take the 399 junction at Ghantoot and you’ll find a restaurant and club embracing the spirit of venues you’d find on Ibiza – Spain’s legendary clubbing island.
Blue Marlin Ibiza UAE, which opened in February and has a sister club on the Spanish isle, is just 45 minutes from the heart of the city (25 minutes from Dubai) and offers a brunch, clubbing and beach experience that is a first in Abu Dhabi.
Situated by the Golden Tulip Hotel, you’re greeted at the club’s very own entrance by a young lady dressed for the beach with a walkie talkie. Blue Marlin offer a membership package for those wanting priority bookings and a pick-up and drop-off service from your home to the resort, but anyone can visit the beach club, though calling ahead to get on the guest list is advisable for mixed groups and booking for brunch is essential.
Once in, a quick walk past the hotel’s pool and down two flights of very steep stairs reveals the intimate entrance to this secluded beach paradise, which is protected and hidden by massive shrubs and palm trees.
The décor is minimalist, with white chairs, sofas and tables hugging the decking floor tightly. There’s a lot of smiling staff at Blue Marlin, all armed with walkie talkies and rushing around refilling the unlimited Spanish beverage offered as part of the brunch.
There’s plenty of space. The venue is split into several sections, including a terrace, a dining area, a bar area and, of course, the beach. The club can also be accessed by yacht and helicopter if you’ve got plenty of dirhams to spare. There are VIP areas, dip pools and a private cabana as well.
While this is predominantly a venue for young clubbers looking to party, families are also welcome. On TOAD’s visit we spotted babies and kids making sand castles in the afternoon. But one word of warning: once the brunch has finished, around 5.30pm, the music gets loud.
Most guests arrive at either 1pm or 3pm for the brunch package and then stay on to party afterwards. The brunch is à la carte, with unlimited refills offered to all diners. TOAD went for the sushi platter, the tomato gazpacho with basil oil, blue prawn and avocado ceviche and the fresh and impressive beef carpaccio with soy onions and pickled mushrooms to start.
Mains include lamp chops with lemon confit, fresh prawns and squid, fresh hammour fillet marinated with chermoula and a selection of barbequed items served with steamed veg. There’s also a live pasta station and a selection of desserts including chocolate cake and homemade sorbets. For a venue which is obviously keen to market itself as a clubbing hotspot just as much as a restaurant, it’s made a lot of effort with its menu.
Blue Marlin is an all encompassing experience. They have their own DJs and fly many in from the real Ibiza as well (a recent Friday saw Jamie Jones on the decks, a British DJ well known in Spain and the winner of several awards from clubbing magazines last year). They also stream club tracks live over the internet from their website and you can buy CDs of their music. And they have an iPhone app and a shop selling clothes and jewellery.
After brunch, most guests then relax on the beach. There’s a selection of giant inflatables if you want a float around in the water and there’s a Jet Ski for hire as well. But TOAD instead chose to lounge on the huge cabanas on the sand and listen to the live singer belting out a few club classics.
As sunset approaches, the vibe at Blue Marlin changes quite dramatically. The music flips from chilled out tunes to full-on banging house. The volume quite literally is raised to the aforementioned chest thumping 11 and the evening is all about dancing the night away with a beverage or two.
So who should go to Blue Marlin Ibiza UAE? It’s certainly a young crowd and is great for a birthday celebration. We saw several parties 20 or 30 strong unwinding there on a Friday and you can order even more food during the evening as well. It’s in the middle of nowhere, but there’s enough to do to keep you happy from 1pm until it closes. It gets pretty packed and there are plenty of beautiful people parading around flashing the cash, but the atmosphere is jovial without being snooty.
When it comes to embracing the Ibiza spirit, Blue Marlin gets it spot on. Certainly the liveliest brunch we’ve come across in the nation’s capital, it’s well worth making the journey if you want a unique Friday experience.
Dhs240 per person for brunch, general entry to the beach club is free. Open Fridays, 1pm-late. Golden Tulip Al Jazira, Ghantoot, www.bluemarlinibiza-uae.com (056 113 3400).
Time Out Abu Dhabi,
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