Travel Feature: Zaya Nurai Island, Abu Dhabi, UAE

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Planning a vacation isn’t easy and planning a staycation in the UAE isn’t all that much easier. Once I’ve settled on a location I usually scour Tablet Hotels or Mr & Mrs. Smith before cruising a plethora of sites for the best deals. The rise of travel search engines however have done us all a favor and saved us all a lot of time. One site to aggregate the dozens of various deals from around the web in one place? Yes please. Enter Hotels Combined. One simple search provided over two dozen results for my staycation destination of choice Zaya Nurai Island, an island far far away also known as a paradise.

One swift credit card transaction, 1 month of anxious anticipation, a 1 hour drive to Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi and 1 fifteen minute boat road across the aqua blue Arabia Gulf emerged a clusters of villas and skinny palm trees. Zaya Nurai Island. An place so enchanting we forgot we were still in the UAE, an energy so tranquil that my lingering migraine dissipated within minutes of arrival, a visual masterpiece. Words don’t do Zaya Nurai Island justice but photos might.

The Villa & Resort:

If Architectural Digest and Mother Nature had a child, Zaya Nurai would be it. The island strikes just the right balance between natural wonder and design chic with a splash of pop art. From the bathtub which opens up to views of your private pool to the donut floaties and the faux life size Ray Bans on the blonde beachfront to the infinite blue abyss, Zaya Nurai is the perfect escape for body and soul. It’s the kind of place where you’ll wanna check the kids at home and swap the resorts Friday night BBQ and water sports for a bottle of wine, dinner poolside and a late night swim.

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The Food:

Although we opted for breakfast, lunch and dinner poolside in our villa – we emerged from our villa only once for a meal and dip in the communal pool – we covered fair ground on the menu. With a couple of outlets on the island, Zaya Nurai’s culinary pride and joy and flagship restaurant is Frangipani, which also caters in-villa dining. While their burger and chicken satay left us underwhelmed, the mushroom soup, garlic prawns, asparagus risotto and Thai green curry left us rather euphoric.

I digress, in all honestly Zaya’s strengths are its unparralled views and ability to transport you from your personal flurry of stress to a foreign land where gazing at the stars in search of the big dipper is your biggest worry. There is comfort in knowing that I don’t need to hop a plane for the Maldives the next time I’m looking to disconnect and unwind, paradise is right around the corner.

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Disclaimer: I was a guest at Zaya Nurai Island as part of a collaboration with Hotels Combined, that said, the words expressed here are an honest reflection of my personal experience and opinion. Visit Hotels Combined to aggregate the best hotel deals and explore your next holiday destination.