What if we told you that you can escape the daily grind, right here in Abu Dhabi and feel as though you’re on a mini vacation at the same time. With the newly remodelled Yas Beach Club, a sense of relaxation and luxury is possible right here on our doorstep.
We initially visited Yas Beach after arriving in Abu Dhabi three years ago and unfortunately the experience was a little disappointing. For the relatively high entrance fee, all you got in 2o13 was a small strip of scrubby beach and a couple of sun loungers! What a difference three years makes, as the newly opened Yas Beach Club has lots to boast about.
Open from 10am every day, the beach club comprises a number of restaurants, a large infinity pool and a sweeping stretch of sandy beach that gives way to shallow and welcoming waters. Off the coast are a cluster of sandy islands and natural mangrove forests which makes for a very picturesque location.
Yas Beach Club has a very laid back and relaxing ambiance, as Balearic beats pump from the speakers. We were astounded at such a remarkable transformation from our previous visit, from the dining quarter to the boutique shops and the beach itself, which has tripled in size since our last visit. The blue and white colour scheme of towels, sun beds and staff uniforms immediately conjured up images of Santorini and European island life – a place for good times and fun in the sun.
Entrance to Yas Beach costs a very reasonable 50 AED (weekdays) and 100 AED on weekends and is inclusive of rowels, sun loungers and umbrellas. For those looking for the ultimate in beachfront luxury, private chalets, cabanas and daybeds are available at an additional charge.
Despite its man made nature, the beach is impressive and guests certainly get that immediate ‘wow factor’ upon arrival. The area feels somewhat exclusive (despite free access being provided to all Yas Hotel guests), a hidden cove with islands scattered off shore, meaning that the shallow water is protected from waves and is just perfect for young children (those under the age of eight enter for free).
Yas Beach has introduced a new concept to go with it’s new look. The LivDay / LivNight takes a precedence on daytime relaxation, chilling by the pool with a cocktail or spread out on a curtained cabana. Once the sun sets though, the music is turned up and LivNight takes over. The poolside becomes a dance floor with a lineup of international DJs providing the tunes, a hedonistic party atmosphere takes over until the early hours, in what is sure to become one of Abu Dhabi’s hottest new nightspots. I mean who doesn’t like partying outside on the beach under the light of the moon, for that ultimate sense of freedom?
During our daytime visit, we couldn’t help but be blinded by the bright whites and attention to detail on display. From the gold mosaic trim on the swimming pool steps, to the pink flamingoes that dot the pathways along the beachfront. Our favourite decorative touches were the reclaimed seashore debris that has ben turned into shell lamps and sign boards, with creative words of wisdom such as: “Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, breathe the wild air” – a motto that Yas Beach goers live by.
The very nature of beach club evokes an impression of exclusivity, but Yas Beach is not a pretentious place. It’s all about good vibes, friendly relaxation and making you feel welcome. Families are encouraged and children can join in the fun with their own shaded splash pool, fed by a rocky waterfall. Unfortunately the large infinity pool is out of bounds to under 21s on the weekends.
Lying on the white sands and working on the tan is the perfect way to spend the day and at Yas Beach guests are made to feel extremely pampered. Waiters are on hand to move sun loungers and umbrellas and take food and beverage orders, from a selection that includes the freshest juices and alcoholic tipples. During our time at the beach we found the service to be very good with our waiter being exceptionally friendly and constantly refilling our ice bucket to ensure that beverages remained chilled at all times. A small shisha shack provides your favourite flavours of hubby bubbly with the fruity aromas filling the air and adding to the laid back ambiance.
For seclusion, venture away from the pool and down towards the water sports and volleyball court, were you are more than likely to have the beach all to yourself! This is also the area for the more active beachgoers with water-sports and fun activities at the forefront. If beach volleyball is not your game (the national championships are held here bi-annually), then why not participate in water-sports (at an additional cost) thanks to the team at Noukhada. Top aquatic activities include sailing, kayaking, wind surfing, paddle boarding, with trained instructors on hand to help. There is also an outdoor gym featuring ropes and punching bags.
The chill out vibes and tranquility are somewhat interrupted every few minutes by aeroplanes from the nearby Abu Dhabi airport – a fact that cannot be helped by the beaches location under the flightpath. This won’t ruin your visit though, as the inviting waters are on hand to sooth your worries. Stand still enough and you will see small fish swimming past and gazing out to the horizon, you will notice the tourist playgrounds of Ferrari World, Yas Waterworld, Yas Marina Circuit and the forthcoming Warner Brothers Theme Park. It is remarkable to think of what Yas Island has become in such a short space of time, it really is the ultimate destination for fun in the sun.
For those wanting to enjoy some culinary delights during their time at the beach, a new food quarter offers a wide selection of Neapolitan pizzas, grills and Italian gelato. Now this wouldn’t be an Out & About UAE review without discussing the food options. First things first, no outside food or drinks are allowed into the beach club and bags are throughly checked (so don’t even try and sneak anything in). Yes the prices are elevated due to the location and the fact that you have no alternative, but the food is not extortionate, portions are large and the quality is good.
The options include the outside kiosks which sell a variety of pizzas and Arabic snacks such as Falafel, these items can also be ordered to your sun lounger. With it being the heat of the day (44 degrees and counting) we ventured into the air-conditioned comfort of the tiki lounge for our lunch. The space is nice with Hawaiian themed murals covering the walls, a large aloha greets guests from behind the bar and there is even the option to sit on sofas mounted upon wooden long boats.
The bamboo tiki bar brings the tropics to Abu Dhabi and is sponsored by rum brand Bacardi. Cocktails are the main component of the menu (we just love a mojito) while the food options are exactly as you would expect, light bites for the beach consisting of sandwiches, salads and pasta dishes, all accompanied by a complimentary bread basket. The one thing we were not prepared for was the portion size! Opting for ciabattas of the steak and grilled vegetable variety, both arrived stuffed with ingredients and with a mountain of fries. One to share would’ve been more than enough!
All in all we are still astounded by the overhaul of Yas Beach and can see it becoming a regular fixture in our calendar. The feeling of being so far away from it all, despite still being within the city limits, means that we can have a mini vacation at the drop of a hat.Yas Beach Club is a great place for socialising with friends, getting out on the water and topping up that tan before it gets unbearably hot.
With affordable prices (we’re looking at you Saadiyat Beach Club) this is the ‘must visit’ beach club in the capital. We don’t want to use the word paradise, but Yas Beach certainly seems close.
Annual memberships are available starting at 4000 AED (single) 6000 AED (couples) and 7000 AED (families) for the year.
Location: Yas Leisure Drive, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi
Hours: 10:00am – 1:00am
Phone: 056 242 0435 / firstname.lastname@example.org
All views within this blog are our own and all photographs are © Out & About UAE, unless otherwise stated.