Probably the biggest and most reputable pool party in Abu Dhabi, Al Maya Island is one of the first things newcomers to the city hear about on arrival. Maybe it’s the fact that Al Maya is billed as a remote island hidden from the city (the location of which is only known to a few people), but the parties here are talked about in almost revered tones. Luckily, the experience lives up to the hype.
An afternoon at Al Maya begins by catching a boat from a dock next to the Khalidiya Palace Rayhaan by Rotana (opposite Emirates Palace) and taking a 20-minute jaunt over to Al Maya Resort, a truly isolated spot on an island off the coast of the Corniche. From there, the resort is your oyster. Guests can choose to lay out on one of the many sun loungers available, sit around the poolside bar smoking shisha, hit the dance floor and party to tunes being spun by top city DJs, including DJ-CJ and DJ Chris Harvey, or jump into the massive pool and socialise around the swim-up bar.
When the weather is good, the Al Maya pool parties are always busy; hundreds of party people make the trip out every weekend. The male to female ratio is pretty good, too – the door policy is strictly mixed groups only which is adhered to and ensures a good crowd. Drink prices are also surprisingly reasonable, with buckets of six hoppy bottles priced at Dhs150 – no wonder the dance floor fills up quickly after 4pm.
Other facilities, including the changing rooms, are of a good standard. Make sure you take cash with you if you plan on hiring a locker, as you can’t do this by card.
Overall, Al Maya Island pool parties offer everything guests could ask for in an afternoon of fun in the sun. Great music, great company, a huge swimming pool and a top summer location – a Friday afternoon here is one you won’t forget in a hurry.
Dhs100 entry. Emirates and Etihad cabin crew free entry before 1pm. Every Friday from 11.30am, last boat leaves Al Maya Island at 9pm. Private boat and jet ski parking available. For table reservations and VIP call Rony (050 731 7802). Al Maya Island Resort, water taxi next to Khalidiya Palace Hotel (signposted), Corniche West (02 667 7777).