By the sea

Seven awe­some beaches to ex­plore this sea­son. By Sean-paul Do­ran

Time Out Abu Dhabi - - BY THE SEA -

FOR MANY PEO­PLE, a dream hol­i­day means chill­ing on the beach with some sun, a good book and the sound of crash­ing waves.

For those of us lucky enough to live in Abu Dhabi, though, that’s a stan­dard week­end.

It’s easy to take for granted the abun­dance of great sea­side spots we have in the cap­i­tal. And it’s now the per­fect time of year to go and re­dis­cover just how great they are.

Here’s our guide to some of Abu Dhabi’s best beaches...

Al Ba­teen Beach

This spot is pop­u­lar with both ex­pats and lo­cals, thanks to its fam­ily-friendly vibe. The beach also draws those keen on a spot of Àsh­ing or a ref­eresh­ing swim. The waters are very calm and the views from the 800m stretch of sand are equally sooth­ing.

You can see the Hu­dayr­iat Bridge, which leads to the newly opened Hu­dayr­iat Is­land, whether you’re ly­ing on your towel or over at the chil­dren’s play­ground.

And if you are feel­ing a lit­tle ac­tive, you can hire kayaks or stand-up pad­dle­boards and get out on the water.

There is also a hand­ful of cafés, around 100 car park­ing spa­ces and plenty of life­guards on duty.

→ Free. Open daily 8am-sun­set. Al Ba­teen, Khal­ifa Al Mubarak Street, off Al Khaleej Al Arabi Street.

Al Maya Is­land & Re­sort

This is the per­fect place to en­joy bang­ing beats and revel in a party at­mos­phere.

You can catch a boat from a dock next to the Kha­lidiya Palace Ray­haan by Rotana and then take a 20-minute jaunt over to this re­sort, a truly iso­lated spot on an is­land off

the coast of the Cor­niche. Guests can choose to lay out on one of the many sun loungers avail­able, sit around the pool­side bar, hit the dance Áoor and party to tunes be­ing spun by top city DJS, or jump into the mas­sive pool and so­cialise around the swim-up bar.

There’s also a small beach vol­ley­ball sec­tion if you fancy a game with friends.

Satur­days have more of a chilled vibe, with groups en­joy­ing a small get­away from the main­land. The food op­tions are pretty good and there are even vil­las avail­able to rent, too. → Fri­day: Free for ladies un­til 1pm, air­line staff free un­til 2pm, stan­dard en­try Dhs125 (in­clud­ing one drink. 11am-9pm. Satur­day: Dhs100 (in­clude shut­tle boat and use of fa­cil­i­ties) 10am-8pm, www.al­mayauae.com.

Cor­niche

Abu Dhabi’s pris­tine Cor­niche beach­front is a fan­tas­tic fam­ily spot on which to en­joy the sand be­tween your toes. It’s di­vided into three sec­tions: Al Sahil is for sin­gles and groups, Gate 2 is for fam­i­lies and has a quiet zone and Gate 3 is for fam­i­lies, es­pe­cially those with young chil­dren.

The sea­side board­walk is four miles long and the walk­ways are paved and dot­ted with benches and gar­dens that over­look the glory of the open Ara­bian Gulf.

Sur­round­ing the beach there are chil­dren’s play ar­eas, sep­a­rate cy­cle and pedes­trian path­ways, plus cafés and restau­rants.

There are also plenty of free sports fa­cil­i­ties on of­fer, in­clud­ing vol­ley­ball courts and foot­ball pitches and three play­ing Àelds. And if your fam­ily likes a bit of ad­ven­ture then take a speed­boat or jet-ski off the Cor­niche and marvel at the Abu Dhabi sky­line, or go snorkelling to dis­cover lo­cal marine life.

BAKE, a beach man­age­ment com­pany, op­er­ates at Gate 2 and Gate 3 from whom you can hire a sun lounger or even a towel if you’ve somehow for­got­ten your own.

→ Fam­ily beaches open daily 8am-8pm. Dhs10 per adult and Dhs5 per chil­dren un­der 12. Kids un­der Àve go free. Dhs25 per lounger. Pub­lic beaches open daily 8am-8pm. Free.

Hu­dayr­iat Is­land

The new­comer on Abu Dhabi’s beach scene has been mak­ing waves since open­ing ear­lier this year. And big plans are afoot to give this 3,000 hectare is­land a bright fu­ture.

Ex­pect a host of food trucks and sports fa­cil­i­ties from the is­land, which is con­nected to the main­land via the struc­ture for­merly known as the “Bridge to Nowhere”. The 600 me­tre-long beach is open daily from 8am to 7pm and is free to use for the gen­eral pub­lic.

There are also three new slip­ways for boats and jet-skis, mak­ing it a must-visit for thrillseek­ers in the cap­i­tal look­ing for some­where new to get their kicks.

→ Free. Open daily 8am to 7pm. Hu­dayr­iat Is­land.

Close to the Park Hy­att Abu Dhabi, this sanded area is set on Saadiyat Is­land’s serene nat­u­ral shores. The 400m beach is a great spot for a day out with friends and loved ones, to en­joy Abu Dhabi’s clean, warm turquoise waters.

For an ex­tra fee, there are beach yoga classes to en­sure guests’ bod­ies and minds stay in shape in the sun­shine, along with eco-friendly water sports ac­tiv­i­ties such as wind­suràng and sail­ing.

The Beach Café of­fers food and bev­er­ages and will de­liver straight to your lounge chair, so you don’t have to move at all.

To make the beach ex­pe­ri­ence even more en­joy­able and re­lax­ing, there are show­ers and chang­ing rooms, to­gether with sun loungers, tow­els and lock­ers for rent.

Man­aged by BAKE, you’ll have 300 loungers to choose from, mean­ing you shouldn’t strug­gle to Ànd your per­fect sea­side spot any day of the week.

→ Open daily 8am-sun­set. Dhs25 per adult and Dhs15 per child aged six-12. Kids un­der Àve go free. Sun lounger and an um­brella: Dhs50 (week­days), Dhs75 (week­ends and pub­lic hol­i­days). Saadiyat Is­land.

Yas Beach

Styling it­self as a “beach play­ground” big on beats and brunches, Yas Beach is a must-visit lo­ca­tion. The venue is si­t­u­ated on a re­vamped area of the ex­ist­ing club, which aims to at­tract Abu Dhabi’s most earnest party peo­ple with a raft of in­ter­na­tional DJ book­ings and din­ing pack­ages.

With 400m of golden sands, this is an­other desti­na­tion that caters for pretty much ev­ery need you may have. There’s a huge pool and Àve pri­vate chalets to en­joy.

There is also an abun­dance of loungers, so you won’t have to get there early to mark your ter­ri­tory with your towel.

There’s a wide se­lec­tion of din­ing op­tions in­clud­ing freshly made piz­zas and Mid­dle Eastern food, so you’ll be spoilt for choice.

If you want to stay ac­tive and com­pete against your pals, there are two vol­ley­ball courts, or if you’d rather do your own thing, hit the shores for stand-up pad­dle­board­ing.

Stay­ing at one of the ho­tels on Yas Is­land? Then en­try is free.

→ Open daily 10am-7pm. Dhs50 per adult and Dhs25 per child aged six-12 from Sun-thu, Dhs100 per adult and Dhs50 per child from Fri-sat. Yas Is­land

(056 242 0435).

Zaya Nu­rai

You could spend your life trav­el­ling the world and you’d strug­gle to Ànd a beach which tops this one for pure, in­dul­gent lux­ury.

Take a ten-minute pri­vate boat ride from Saadiyat Is­land to this lux­u­ri­ous se­cluded is­land that is con­ve­niently ac­ces­si­ble from all ma­jor travel ports in the UAE.

This place is a mag­net for Abu Dhabi main­lan­ders and thank­fully the re­sort of­fers day passes for you to check it out.

You can just take a leisurely stroll on the beau­ti­ful beach or plunge into an ad­ven­ture with one of the water sports such as stand-up pad­dle­board­ing, beach snorkelling, ped­alo boat­ing and sea kayak­ing.

But if you’d rather un­wind and let your wor­ries slip away then opt for a day at Zaya spa, where the wide range of treat­ments start from around Dhs220.

There are also plenty of din­ing op­tions to choose from in­clud­ing Frangi­pani, which of­fers dishes that use or­ganic and sea­sonal pro­duce – and there’s even a reg­u­lar Fri­day brunch.

→ Day pass is Dhs480, with Dhs420 re­deemable against F&B, spa and ac­tiv­i­ties). Open daily 10.30am11pm, Nu­rai Is­land (02 506 6274).

Al Ba­teen Beach

Yas Beach

Zaya Nu­rai Is­land

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