Abu Dhabi’s best pools

Top places for a dip in the capital

Finally the cooler months have arrived and we need no excuse to soak up some rays. What is living here for, after all, if it’s not to take advantage of the awesome weather and the stunning scenery? Whatever your preferred water-side style – whether it’s all-you-can eat pizza or kayaking into the sunset – we’ve got you covered. Here are some of the capital’s very best beach and pool days.

Aloft Al Ain

The brand is known for its pool parties, and the Garden City branch is no different. Every Friday, there is a barbecue shindig from 5pm-9pm and for Dhs200 each you get pool access, a barbecued buffet and unlimited house beverages. Friday, November 3 is the Caribbean Pool Party by Reggae Beachfest from 5pm-2am – for Dhs100 (with two beverage coupons) so dance and swim all night to the best of Caribbean beats with a live band and DJs. A range of bar bites will be offered, with themed mixed drinks specially concocted by the mixologist.
Aloft Al Ain, Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium Development, Al Ain (03 713 8888).

Aloft Abu Dhabi

There’s an Aloft here, too, and it offers some amazing pool deals. Head down on a weekday and enjoy the Double Treat offer of pool access for two, a pizza and two soft drinks for just Dhs99. Rock up on a weekend, however, and pool entry is free for the ladies before 1pm, and Dhs37 after. Gents can buy a bucket of hops for Dhs120 and get free pool access for two. If you’re a pizza fan, Fridays are all about unlimited pizza and pool access for Dhs99.
Open 11am-11pm. Aloft Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (02 654 5000).

Beach Rotana
Surrounded by palms and with views of Etihad Towers, step into a hidden world at the Beach Rotana. There is a 120-metre private beach, a temperature-controlled infinity swimming pool, water sports, two beach bars and a covered kids’ outdoor and indoor play area, including a pool.
Dhs155 (weekday pool pass or Dhs240 for two). Dhs220 (weekend pool pass or Dhs320 for two. Dhs95 (kids). Open daily 9am-6pm. Beach Rotana, Al Zahiya (02 697 9000).

Fairmont Bab Al Bahr
With spectacular views of Khor Al Maqta and the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, this hotel boasts a temperature-controlled, Olympic length lap pool, a covered children’s pool area and a pool-side Jacuzzi. On the beach, there is football, badminton, frisbee, softball, volleyball and rugby for the sporty types.
From Dhs150 (weekday pass; Dhs200 for couples; Dhs300 for two adults and two children; Dhs50 for children aged three to 16). Dhs200 (weekend pass; Dhs350 for couples; Dhs400 for a family; Dhs100 for children). Free for under-threes. Open daily 6am-8pm, beach open sunrise-sunset. Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, Khor Al Maqta (02 654 3160).

Hiltonia Beach Club
Billed as “a leisure oasis in the heart of the Corniche”, Hiltonia is a large space catering for both active and inactive types. As well as a lovely beach and a number of pools, there’s also a spa and an array of watersports.
From Dhs120 (weekday pass, Dhs80 after 3pm); Dhs200 (couples, Dhs140 after 3pm); Dhs60 (children, Dhs40 after 3pm). Dhs170 (weekend pass; Dhs290 for couples; Dhs75 for children aged five to 15). Open daily 8am-8pm. Hiltonia beach Club, Corniche Road (02 692 4324).

Jumeirah at Etihad Towers
Enjoy the cooler months and soak up the sun on a private beach, or try one of three outdoor swimming pools. There is a poolside bar and a swim-up bar for maximum comfort. Pool access on a week day is Dhs150 and on a weekend it’s Dhs200.
Open daily 7am-9pm. Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, West Corniche (02 811 5555).

Nation Riviera Beach Club
Flanked by its own 200-metre stretch of pristine beach and overlooking the waters of the Arabian Gulf, Nation Riviera Beach Club boasts an array of health and recreational services. Part of The St. Regis Abu Dhabi, Nation Riviera Beach Club is easily accessible from the main building via an air-conditioned private tunnel underneath the Corniche. Weekday pool access for non-members is Dhs150, Dhs250 for a couple, Dhs350 for a family of two adults and one child, and Dhs70 for every additional child. On a weekend, it is Dhs200, Dhs300 for a couple, Dhs400 for a family of two adults and one child, and Dhs70 for every additional child.
Pool open daily 8am-8pm, beach open daily 8am-sunset. Nation Riviera Beach Club, The St. Regis Abu Dhabi (02 694 4780).

Rosewood Abu Dhabi

Whether guests are looking for a refreshing summer dip or a more energetic workout, the hotel’s pool will help take the heat off Abu Dhabi Summer days. Cooled in the summer and heated in the winter, Rosewood Abu Dhabi’s 25-meter outdoor pool allows guests to enjoy refreshing swims any time of the day, whatever the season. Entry is Dhs150 on weekdays, and Dhs250 on weekends, a pass includes Dhs100 voucher to spend at Glo.
Open daily 6am to 8pm. Rosewood Abu Dhabi, Al Maryah Island, abudhabi.rosewood@rosewoodhotels.com (02 813 55 50).

Saadiyat Beach Club
Perhaps the coolest beach club in the city. Escape for a day and relax, surrounded by natural beauty on the beach, take a cooling dip in the pool or sample the delights that our restaurants and lounges have to offer. A weekday visit will set you back Dhs250, Dhs350 for a couple, Dhs100 for children between 10 and 17 and it’s free for those under 10. A cabana is Dhs600. Monday and Tuesday are ladies’ day and it’s just Dhs90 entry. Weekend rates are Dhs375, Dhs525 for couples and Dhs150 for kids over 10, while a cabana is Dhs1,000. There is access to the spa facilities including the sauna, steam room, Jacuzzi and plunge pool until 8pm.
Beach open daily 9am-sunset, pool open 8am-9pm weekdays, and 8am-10pm weekends. Saadiyat Beach Club, Saadiyat Island (02 656 3500).

Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri

A pretty pool with views of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. On weekdays, pool access is Dhs200 or Dhs400 for a family of two adults and two kids, additional children are Dhs 100. At the weekend, it’s Dhs300, Dhs600 for a family and Dhs200 for additional children. You can offset these prices, though, against food and beverages you have from the pool bar.
Pool bar open 9am-11.30pm. Shangri-La Abu Dhabi, Khor Al Maqta, Qaryat al Beri (02 509 8888).

Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi
With an amazing coastline where dolphins are regularly surveyed by the UAE Dolphin Project, this is truly a luxury day out. The pool is surrounded by swaying palm trees and lush manicured gardens, and there is a quiet outdoor whirlpool and water features. The children’s pool is one foot in depth and conveniently located next to the Camp Hyatt. The Poolside Bar offers a selection of refreshing beverages and an array of light snacks. A day pass on both weekends and weekdays is Dhs300 for adults and Dhs150 for kids 6-12. Kids under five go free.
Open daily 7am-10pm. Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi, Saadiyat Island (02 407 1234).

Park Rotana Abu Dhabi

Enjoy the temperature-controlled pool with a licensed bar. Other facilities include a kids’ playground, billiard table, ping-pong table, giant chess and tennis court. Swimming lessons are also offered. A weekday pool pass is Dhs75, Dhs120 for a couple and Dhs44 for kids. On the weekends, it’s Dhs100, Dhs160 for a couple and Dhs44 for kids.
Open daily 6am to 11pm. Park Rotana, Al Salam Street, Khalifa Park Area (02 657 3333).

The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal

One of Abu Dhabi’s largest outdoor swimming pools at 1,600 square metres and with two private sandy beaches, this resort is a big treat. There’s also a kids’ pool and Ritz Kids Splash Park to keep little ones happy. Round up a few friends and enjoy the new cabanas, with up to four guests for Dhs500 for non-members and Dhs300 for members on a weekday, and Dhs700 for non-members and Dhs500 for members on a weekend. Make sure you reserve your favourite spot – that glorious autumn weather is here. A weekday pool pass is Dhs100, Dhs160 per couple and Dhs50 per child. On weekends it’s Dhs300, Dhs500 per couple and Dhs100 per child.
Open daily 7am-sunset. The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal, Khor Al Maqta’a (02 818 8888).

The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort
With one of the best locations in the city, three outdoor pools and a private beach that receives frequent visits from local dolphins, this is the kind of place dreams are made of. Relax, dip, dodge the Hawksbill turtles and send your kids off to the Sandcastle Kids’ Club. Enjoy a wide variety of water-based activities. Options include kayaking, paddling, snorkeling and boogie boarding from 9am to sunset. A single pass is Dhs250 per person, including a food and beverage voucher worth Dhs100. For couples, it’s Dhs500 with a Dhs250 voucher, and a kids’ pass is Dhs125.
Open daily 8am-8pm. The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Saadiyat Island (02 498 8777).

Yas Beach
Located on the sands of Yas Island, the new beach lounge area features an open-air DJ booth, bar, infinity pool and five private chalets. There are shaded cabanas around the pool and the tropical-themed Tikki Bar and Restaurant will keep you refreshed. Watersports lovers are catered for by aquatic group Noukhada, with a wide range of sailing, kayaking, windsurfing, paddle boarding and more. Jet skis are also available. Prices start at Dhs50 on weekdays and Dhs100 on weekends and children under 12 go free. Fridays are all about the adults, though, with the infinity pool being reserved exclusively for them. Oh, and Etihad staff can enjoy 30 percent off on food and drink.
Open daily 10am-7pm. Yas Beach, Yas Island (056 242 0435).

Zaya Nurai Island

This private island is a stunner with its white beaches, turquoise waters and sea swings. The minimum spend for a day on the island is Dhs420 on food, beverages, spa or water sports. Beach bar Smokin’ Pineapple (open daily 5pm-7pm) has swings, hammocks and beautiful view, while pool bar Ginger Mermaid (open 11am-7.30pm) offers some great food and thirst-quenching concoctions. Watersports range from Dhs70 for 20 minutes kayaking, to Dhs5,400 for a snorkelling trip for two.
Open daily. Zaya, Nurai Island (02 506 6222).

Emirates Palace

With two swimming pools, a marina, a fitness and wellbeing centre – with yoga, tennis, watersports and more – and a kids’ club, this super-luxury hotel is a pretty reliable choice for a day of leisure. You can ride a camel on the white sandy beach or work on your beach body at the fitness centre (equipped with a VibroGym and offering body composition analysis), too. This is a swanky place, so a week day pass will cost you Dhs300 for adults or Dhs150 for children (aged four to 20), and a weekend pass is Dhs400 per day, or Dhs200 for children (aged four to 20).
Cascade Adventure Pool open daily 7am-sunset, Las Brisas Leisure Pool open 7am-9pm. Emirates Palace, West Corniche (02 690 7310).

Emirates Palace’s Beach Club supervisor Jonathon Pappelero has been at the luxury hotel for ten years and in that time he has seen plenty of tides coming in and out. He tells us what it takes to look after such a fantastic destination.

What do you do day to day as part of your job?
As Beach Club supervisor, my job is to manage the day-to-day experience of our guests, Beach Club members and our staff. I am fortunate that my job includes working with children and spending time in the water because those are two things that I love most in life.

What else have you been involved in during your time at the hotel?
I am from the Philippines, so you could say that I was raised in the waters of my island nation. When I am not working, I am still usually in the water, and, being from an archipelago, I am very aware of how important it is to preserve our world’s oceans and sea life. In my free time, I have begun planting and tending to a coral nursery near our marina. I have rescued numerous sea turtles that have washed up on our shore, including one that weighed over 60kg that the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation team thinks could be more than 30 years old. She is being rehabilitated there currently, but we plan to release her in our waters when she is well enough to resume her life in the sea.

I implemented our sea turtle rescue programme many years ago when we realised that sea turtles were washing up injured in greater numbers, and no one really knew what to do about it. Now we work hand-in-hand with the Environmental Agency in Abu Dhabi and the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation team to give the sea turtles a second chance.

What makes Emirates Palace beach and pool so good for visitors?
Some guests might say what makes it special is how exclusive and private our Beach Club is. We have 1.3km private beach, two pools and Fitness Centres along with a Kids’ Club to keep every family member and type of holidaymaker happy. I believe what makes us so special is our level of service and our effort to treat every guest like family. I really love my job and I think it comes through to guests and members every day.

If people come to Emirates Palace for the first time, what is the one thing they absolutely have to do?
That all depends on what type of an experience you seek. For those coming to relax, I’d say to visit our East Beach pool with its water hammocks or maybe visit our spa? I’d send families to our West Beach Club pool with its lazy river and waterslides. Everyone who enjoys the sea should try sailing, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding or our motorised sports. We have trained instructors on the beach to teach guests how to do every watersport so not knowing how is never an excuse not to try something new. Finally, no one should leave without taking a cycling tour of the hotel grounds. These are just a few of my favourite things to do at Emirates Palace Beach Club. I may be a bit biased, but I’m sure it’s the greatest beach club in the city.

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