Cindy from LilOneOfTheAshes headed to Abu Dhabi and Privilee’d at a resort that her and her family had never visited before, Saadiyat Rotana Resort & Villas. Here’s how they spent their day!
As soon as Abu Dhabi announced that a green Al Hosn pass was no longer required to enter the Emirate, we started planning our Abu Dhabi Privilee daycations. So many to choose from - which one shall we go to first!? We have never been to Saadiyat Rotana Resort so thought we'll start with that. It's on Saadiyat Island which we have been to many times before and have always had a great time as it’s just so beautiful.
Driving from Dubai to Saadiyat Island
It was a quick one hour drive from Dubai Marina to Saadiyat Island. We arrived at Saadiyat Rotana Resort around mid-day, and checked in with our Privilee app at the reception. Just as we had anticipated - no restrictions at all. We were in and good to go with the family to enjoy our day!
Top tip: The Saadiyat Rotana pool and beach is open from 7am - super early. If you have kids that wake up at crazy hours, (don't they all!?), it would be pretty cool to head to their beach at 7am before anyone else is there.
Playtime at Aladdin's Cave Kids' Club
After being cooped up in the car for an hour, it was time to let the kids run free. We went straight to Saadiyat Rotana's Kids' Club - called the Aladdin's Cave. This was situated in a separate area by the pool and beach.
The kids were so excited as we walked towards the Kids' Club as it was built to look like a cave! Time to explore! We spent some time with the girls in the shaded outdoor playground, and then went back inside as it was getting warm. They did some colouring, and then started playing with the many toys that were available.
By now, we were getting hungry, and it was a struggle trying to get the kids to leave the Kids' Club! The good thing is that you can leave kids aged four and above with the team, so we did just that and went to get some food.
Top tip: Aladdin's Cave opens at 10am and shuts at 8pm all week. Drop off is 4 years old, though younger ones are allowed with parents or nannies.
Brunch at Sim Sim
We took our two year old with us to Sim Sim, the family-friendly restaurant at Saadiyat Rotana. Every Saturday between 1-4pm, they do a lavish family brunch called 'The Market Brunch'. It was perfect for us as it’s close to the Kids' Club, as well as the pool and beach.
We visited in mid-December so the weather was great for sitting outdoors and the venue was full, so there was a really nice, buzzy vibe. The Market Brunch food was incredible, you’re able to pick your own fresh seafood and meat and then the team cook it for you on the grill - so fresh! There were also fresh oysters and an extensive roast section.
We picked the girls up from the Kids' Club after an hour or so (perks of having a Privilee membership, isn't it?) and brought them to Sim Sim.
They loved walking around the whole restaurant and seeing the variety of food available, not to forget getting an ice cream cone - which is always the highlight for them at any restaurant. There was also a little toddler area set up and a large lawn area for them to run around.
Top tip: Privilee members do not get a discount on the Market Brunch, however Members get 20% off the total bill when dining a la carte at Sim Sim. This discount applies to the Member and up to three guests.
Another alternative for lunchtime dining with kids is Nasma Beachfront Bar, which is located close by to the pool and beach. There is also Turtle Bay Bar & Grill, which is lovely, although I would recommend this spot to adults as the other two restaurants are more family-friendly. Privilee members get 20% off the total bill in all these outlets.
Pool time, and movies
After filling our tummies, we decided it was time to move around a bit and hopefully burn some calories. My two and four year old wanted to use the pool so I took them around to choose one to play in. There is an area with a slide, a lazy river and also the main pool (spoilt for choice, right?). They decided that they wanted to try out the slide so we spent an hour or so there, my four year old could have spent days there going up and down! Meanwhile, my youngest splashed about in the shallow area and played with the water sprinkler features.
After the sun went down, we went back into the Kids' Club where daddy and our eldest (six year old) were watching a movie in the movie room. They were showing Smurfs', one of our kids' favourites and it was so lovely to end the day there with a bit of downtime, before driving back to Dubai.
Top tip: The kids' pool by Aladdin's Cave opens at 10am, and closes at sunset, however their slide and lazy river area shut for an hour each day when the attendant goes on a lunch break. Don’t worry though! The main pool area is open all day long so you can go there if the other ones are shut!
Beach, next time!
As always, we didn't get to cover every single bit of the resort in one day. That's always what happens with Privilee days when there are so many options on where to go, and what to do, plus following the lead of three different kids.
The beach along Saadiyat Island is just magnificent so we definitely have to return and do a proper beach day next time - which will be very soon, for sure!