Living on an island like Abu Dhabi we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to beaches, swimming pools and all things water, especially when considering our desert location. Team Out and About are firm believers that there is nothing quite like spending the weekend poolside to allow all the stresses from the working week to drift away on the breeze.
With an abundance of hotels and beach clubs, it’s become a bit of a gauntlet as to which one will cater to your desired requirements and we honestly think that Hiltonia has you covered. Forming an integral part of the Hilton Abu Dhabi, Hiltonia is separated from the main hotel building via the busy corniche road and provides patrons with a feeling of exclusivity. Surprisingly it’s very family friendly, featuring three temperature controlled swimming pools, a pristine beach front, spa, fitness centre and a number of food and beverage outlets. All condensed into one safe and manageable environment feeling like a mini-escape from city life.
We were invited to use the fasclities at Hiltonia last weekend and were thoroughly impressed by the experience. The pristine swathe of golden sand gives way to azure waters that are both shallow and calm, providing an almost lagoon-like environment just perfect for young kiddies learning to swim or as place to play and have a splash about. The waters are calm and noticeably warm due to the fact that they are protected by Lulu island and the peninsula that houses Marina Mall, Marina Eye, the heritage village and national theatre. Famous Abu Dhabi landmarks that punctuate the horizon offshore, giving you a small sightseeing tour without having to leave the comfort of your sun lounger.
Friday’s at Hltonia are exceptionally busy with a mixture of families, hotel guests and the post-brunch crowd all looking to make the most of their weekend downtime, by bronzing their bodies and taking a dip in the pool. Arriving mid-afternoon there was no possibility of finding a sun lounger anywhere near the trio of swimming pools but thankfully there were plenty on offer down on the sand (just a short walk away). The private beach is far more picturesque having been awarded blue flag status for its clean waters and 11,000 square meters of premium sand.
The entrance fee includes use of all the facilities, towels and sun loungers and is seemingly a very popular spot to spend a weekend. Feeling more ike a Caribbean island there is plenty of lush greenery, narrow waterways (fed by the excess water from the infinity pools) and small bridges to divide up the space and allow guests to find their own piece of seclusion. We recommend following one of the many tributaries to the peacock garden or duck pond, especially for those who aren’t a fan of the sand. Only the faint hum of jet ski’s buzzing along the shoreline is likely to upset the harmonious peace and tranquility.
It’s not often that we get to decompress and relish in our surroundings during day-t0-day life and the team at Hiltonia understand this fully. Providing a seamless experience of unobtrusive service and enough fun and entertainment to keep the kids occupied. This is what makes the Hiltonia such a resounding success, an ability to balance the luxury for which the Hilton brand is associated, with a distinctly family friendly environment. Our littles one didn’t take much persuading when it came to the kids pool, the rainbow coloured shaded playground or the duo of waterslides – one straight and narrow for beginners and one higher and more curvaceous for the more adventurous.
Elsewhere the larger pools cater to a slightly different crowd. The deeper of the two reaches 2m and has a number of tiered splash pools connected via cascading waterfalls. This pool is not heated and was refreshingly cool when we visited. On the other side of the grounds lies another pool, home to Escape, a thatched swim up bar that has a great daily happy hour from 5pm – 8pm, offering selected beverages (hops, grapes, house spirits and cocktails for just 20 AED a piece). Staying poolside, giant chess or beach volleyball are also available for willing participants.
Escape seems to be where the majority of guests can be found and with shisha also available. The sweet smell of tobacco wafting through the air adds an element of exoticness to proceedings, all under the shadow of Nation Towers and the quintuple shards of Etihad Towers.
Additionally there is the spa with complimentary access to the sauna and steam rooms, separate for men and women, though the jacuzzi is mixed. With treatments such facials, body wraps, and massages available at an additional fee, this is likely where you’ll find us on future visits (minus the kids).
For the health obsessed the fitness centre offers aerobics, Zumba and spinning classes and a state of the art gymnasium with cardio and strength training equipment. For the more dedicated, there is the option to hire one of Hiltonia’s personal fitness trainers.
Thrill-seekers should head down to ‘Water-cooled’ for windsurfing, standup paddle boarding, sailing and water skiing. It’s a great excuse to get out to sea and view Abu Dhabi’s iconic skyline from a different perspective.
It’s so easy to spend the day here, or perhaps the entire weekend.
Hiltonia is a great place to be and the perfect place to unwind, our only criticism was the staff offered little to no help when it came to locating sun loungers and assisting with umbrellas, essentially elements in this current heat. Despite this, we appreciated the relaxing vibes and if the food and beverage options aren’t to your liking, we strongly suggest you hop outside to Vasco’s. Who offers international cuisine in an air-conditioned environment overlooking the beach.
Prices for Hiltonia are as follows (correct as of October 2016):
Location: Hilton Hotel, Al Khubeirah, Abu Dhabi
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Hours: 8am – 10pm
Phone: 02 681 1900
We were invited to Hiltonia. All views are our own and all photographs are © Out & About UAE