Cocooning a lush waterfront oasis just a short distance from the thrum of Abu Dhabi’s concrete jungle, the Anantara Eastern Mangroves and Spa is a tantalising escape from the hustle and bustle of the city with a stunning panoramic view of the protected mangroves hidden from view.
The tranquil mangrove vista is presented as a heavenly gift to guests arriving through an arched entrance scented with burning bakhour, where a vaulted atrium lobby welcomes you into the scenic heart of the resort; here, a three-storey glass wall pulls you towards the unrivalled view outside, where a luxuriousinfinity pool disappears into the cobalt blue of the sea that hugs the leafy mangroves beyond.
Originally completed in 2012, the resort has become a favourite spot for wellness, water activities and dining, whether you’re travelling from afar or live nearby. Not only does the hotel offer sublime spa services, but the surrounding nature, the integrated marina with access to a 1.2 kilometre stretch of mangrove reserve, views of an iconic city skyline, plus a pomegranate red sunset will invigorate even the most jaded of expats.
North Point Architects from South Africa is behind the stunning palatial architecture of the sprawling five-storey, 222-room resort, mixing contemporary lines with Middle Eastern influences, creating a sanctuary that blends natural seclusion with modern urban luxury.
Meanwhile, AK Design managed the interior design, celebrating the natural surrounds, Arabic heritage and Anantara’s renowned Asian hospitality. Islamic dome-shaped archways, mashrabiyas, mosaics, wooden timber work and golden accents draw upon the elegance of Arabic architecture and design. In the lobby, the huge glass wall is delicately etched with a traditional repeat pattern of overlapping Islamic circles, a design that’s mirrored on the lobby floor and on the wooden trellis-style screen that runs the length of the third-floor mezzanine landing, which overlooks the lobby from a striking height.
Peer through to glimpse the grandeur of the bespoke chandelier which cascades from the triple-height ceiling like a giant gold necklace embellished with illuminated jewels, down over the lobby’s central feature of sand-toned velvet chairs and Arabesque lanterns.
On either side of this, triple-storey mashrabiya-laced archways draw the eye up, towards trellised balconies on the second floor, where the Mangroves Lounge offers a comfortable spot for coffee, meetings and relaxing while overlooking the goings-on below in reception, adding a quiet buzz of activity in the background.
After checking in, friendly staff – from European expats to local Emiratis – will guide you to one of the comfortable rooms or suites. Of the 222 rooms there are six suites, including the Anantara Mangroves Pool Suites and the Royal Mangroves Suite, a duplex penthouse with up to ten king-size rooms. In both suites, you can enjoy a dip in your very own private plunge pool on a spacious outdoor terrace with enviableviews of the mangroves, which hug 150 square kilometres of the UAE's coastline; look beyond to the striking Gate Towers and surrounding skyscrapers, presenting an enviable view of the capital’s fairly new yet no less iconic skyline. The royal suite also features an infinity pool, a ten-metre pool with a swim-upbar, plus a rooftop garden and terrace for star gazing, for the utmost in elevated hospitality. Inside, the decadent furnishings are inspired by the lush landscape outside, aiding a sense of natural serenity and calm – exactly what every guest desires while on vacation.
For business travellers or vacationing couples, the KasaraMangroves Balcony room offers an inviting space in warm earthy shades, upholstered chocolate-brown wall panels and pops of teal inspired by the balcony view of the mangroves. From here you can watch gig boat teams rise early to row before the heat of the day hits, families heading out to fish or to go crabbing with the kids, and paddle board enthusiasts serenely glide around the mangroves – some with their dogs balancing on the board too!
If sea activities aren’t your thing, head to the spa which the hotel is renowned for. Immerse yourself in the utmost luxury, where Asian and Arabesque influences blend harmoniously. The spa offers 15 treatment rooms and three couple’s suites, the largest of which has the benefit of a sliding screen in between the massage beds should you want a degree of privacy. A notable feature in the double and single treatment rooms is the iridescent mosaic bathwith a chainmail curtain adding a contemporary touch. Nevertheless, the real show stopper is the Turkish hammam, a jaw-dropping palatial space for eight people, wherepolished bronzed walls are inset with mosaics encircling a huge Carrera marble centerpiece.
For more active guests, head to the gym which is fully equipped with weight training and cardio machines. Ladies can enjoy or more private setting with a female-only gym offering all the equipment you need for a revitalizing workout or soothing stretches.
For both guests and residents, the hotel’s Friday brunch at the hotel’s scenic Ingredients restaurant is a wonderful way to soak up the vistas and enjoy and array of delicious dishes. Live cooking stations serve up fresh seafood, Asian street food favourites with a refined twist, regional flavours and an amazing array of freshly made desserts including a nougat station with many wonderful flavours. Kids will love the popcorn and candy stations, and entertainment of face painting, balloon twisting andlive singing,throughout the afternoon. The terrace offers al fresco brunching with mangrove views, while indoors triple-height windows bring the outdoors in.
In the evening, look no further than across the hall and enjoy a Thai feast at Pachaylen. The Thai chefs at this acclaimed restaurant serves up the best dishes from The Land of Smiles with a five-star elevation. Patterned screens create cosy nooks, while red-tasselled Thai lanterns create an ambient mood, and a traditional kim player sets the tone. Start with a complimentary offering of miang kham, which literally means a bite of food wrapped in a leaf, and is exactly that. Pile chopped shallots, coconut shavings, roasted peanuts, tangy lime, ginger and chilli into a betel leaf and start your culinary journey with this tangy and delicious traditional savoury snack.
For most in the nation’s capital, the Anantara Eastern Mangroves is more than a hotel; it offers family-friendly days out lounging by a stunning infinity pool or an afternoon enjoying a delicious brunch with the kids; meanwhile, pampering spa treatments surrounded by luxurious comfort, and a female-only gym offer health and fitness tailored to your needs and privacy. What’s more, the resort is designed to harness the natural beauty of the mangroves, offering unrivalled views that wash over guests and day visitors alike with a sublime tropical-holiday ambience.
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