After finding out I was pregnant, Will and I realised we were going to have to make some changes to our lives!
The first of those was to reconsider the trips that we had planned – which included cancelling a very highly anticipated return to our favourite Maldives island Hurawali. We had booked it thinking we had plenty of time and simply couldn’t wait for one last hit of Maldives luxury! However, once we knew a baby was not he way we had to rethink. Whilst the risk of Zica is pretty small, it is there and it wasn’t a risk we wanted to take. I knew I would be paranoid if I got even one bite and I didn’t want that hanging over me my whole pregnancy. So, after a few tears, we cancelled the trip and started looking at other winter sun options.
Enter Abu Dhabi.
We had visited a couple of years ago, and liked the relative ease of getting there, excellent standard of accommodation and food and (hopefully) good weather.
Will found out that the Jumeirah group had only just opened a new hotel there The Jumeriah at Saadiyat Island and it looked gorgeous. Right on the beach, it had a number of pools and restaurants, stunning interiors and a sea view from every room. It was bigger than the hotels we normally stayed in but small boutique-style hotels don’t really exist in the Middle East and this looked like it was perfect for what we needed – some R+R.
Abu Dhabi is similar to Dubai (and less than an hour away in a car) but a bit cheaper and smaller. There are still the huge shopping malls, amazing food from all over the world and the service is always excellent wherever you go. I also have a friend who lives in Abu Dhabi so it is always great to be able to catch up with her too.
We flew into Dubai and booked a car to take us over to Abu Dhabi, arriving to our hotel in the middle of the night. We woke up the next morning to a stunning view, and as is custom for us wherever we go – rain!
This trip was right after our 12 week scan so I was still suffering from the exhaustion that comes with growing another human! Our days mainly revolved around eating too much at breakfast, snoozing it off by the pool or beach, eating lunch even though we didn’t need it, followed by another snooze then dinner! It was so nice to be able to succumb to the tiredness and Will enjoyed the rest as much as I did after a very busy start to the year at work.
We ate so much, I have to admit, I didn’t get hungry the whole time we were there! Healthy breakfasts followed by lunches on the beach front, and a three course meal for dinner!
I still didn’t have much luck getting my bump to ‘pop’ properly – I tried my best though!
For those of you interested in staying at this hotel in Any Dhabi, here are my tips:
- We stayed half board and whilst the buffet was very good (we ate there on our first day and each had an incredible curry), we aren’t really a fan of eating our evening meals in a buffet setting. The hotel has two other restaurants which are both brilliant and you could eat certain items on the menu for no extra cost at all, and the rest of the menu heavily subsidised. This meant we could enjoy a proper restaurant for little or no extra cost to what we had already paid.
- As a hotel guest you are able to take advantage of the sister hotel in the city The Jumeirah at Etihad Towers. You can go to the observation deck for free which is amazing and also eat in the restaurants at that hotel too – again for free or a little extra but not full price. We ate at the Japanese restaurant Tori No Su one night and loved it. Reception were so helpful and booked everything for us.
- The spa wasn’t fully open when we visited in Feb which was only a couple of months after the hotel opened its doors. It was a shame as I was desperate for a mani-pedi but they did give us a tour and it is incredible. If you are staying make sure you book in for something – I loved the look of the Hammam but had to stay away because of my little bump!
- There is a brunch at the hotel on a Friday and we didn’t book in and had our usual (three course) breakfast. I then saw the set up for the brunch and immediately regretted our decision. I have never seen so much incredible food in my life! Talk about prawns and oysters! Next time we visit (probably with baby in tow), I am getting on that brunch bandwagon. I am already dreaming of it!
- The hotel is very child friendly and we saw a lot of people there will little ones – as we were out of school holidays it was mainly people with toddlers. There is a kid’s club and children’s pool and from what we could tell the staff bent over backwards to help parents and their little ones.
- But with no little one ourselves (yet) it was easy to stay out of the kid’s way and enjoy our time sans-babies for a little while longer at least. We went to one of the non-children pools and could have easily have been at an adults only hotel.
- We stayed in a standard room and it was stunning. It was so big, beautifully decorated and you could see the beach and sea from the bed. The bathroom too was gorgeous and had me wanting to rip ours out and recreate it at home.
- Oh and if you are that way inclined, there is a great gym. I had intended on going more, but made it once and was pleased I did. I would have joined the classes there – they have everything from yoga to HIIT to boxing – but was unsure what I could manage being pregnant and oh-so-tired so just did my own workout instead.
We did manage to get out from the hotel a few times, and here’s what we did/what I would recommend:
- Shopping – whilst I wouldn’t normally shop whilst on holiday the shops and service in the Middle East are excellent. We visited two malls – YAS Mall that has all the European brands in like Zara and Topshop and Galleria which is a bit more top end and where I bought my Gucci Soho Disco bag of dreams!
- Kayak trip in the Mangroves – We did this one sunny morning and it was a highlight of our trip. Just don’t drop your phone in like I did!
- Etihad Towers Observation Deck – as mentioned above we got in for free through the sister hotel but you can visit if you aren’t a Jumeriah guest. We went up just before sunset and watched the sun go down which was lovely. There is a cafe/bar there too so you can enjoy a little something up there if you like.
- Louvre – for art lovers this is a great gallery and the building is pretty darn impressive too.
- We didn’t go this trip, but on our last trip we visited the Grand Mosque and loved it. So beautiful and interesting.
- There are tonnes of other things to do, we just tend to be pretty lazy when we visit but if you want more activities and culture you don’t need to look hard for it!
I came back from the trip rested and with a little more energy in my step. Until the next time Abu Dhabi!