Spread across deserts, islands, white sand beaches and a thriving capital city, the emirate of Abu Dhabi is the most scenically beautiful and naturally rich destination in the UAE. Create a dream vacation with these fantastic hotels in Abu Dhabi with private pools.
Anantara Qasr Al Sarab
Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara looks more like a mirage than a resort – located in the western reaches of Abu Dhabi, almost touching Saudi Arabia in what is fittingly known as the Empty Quarter. It’s a truly magical setting: a fortified compound that seems to rise in front of the desert sands, complete with faux watchtowers and castle walls. While the rooms and suites in the main building are popular, there’s no better way to enjoy this regal desert oasis than in a private pool villa – of which many are finished with Islamic touches like patterned rugs, wooden chests, lamps and latticed furniture, and have gardens with views over the dunes. One-bedroom villas have leafy gardens, while the Royal Pavilion and family villas are set further away in the orange dunes. While the four-bedroom Sahra Villa has the most rooms, the most opulent – and most luxurious private pool villa in Abu Dhabi – is the Al Sarab villa: 853 sq metres with two bedrooms, living room with Hermes furnishings, grand dining room, staff areas and a ginormous private garden with full-sized pool.
Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi
Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi lies on the beautiful white sand shores of Saadiyat Island – arguably known as the home of the most beautiful beaches in the UAE. The tranquil property is one of the city’s best-known beach escapes, sitting in a cluster alongside other big-name resorts, offering a more toned-down, minimalist vibe. Six private pool villas are on offer, offering garden and beach views. One-bedroom villas have terraces with private plunge pools, two-bedroom villas have some garden space with larger pools and the three-bedroom abodes are spread over 355 sq metres with beautiful views over Saadiyat Beach. All villas are contemporary and done in oceanic hues. Guests can enjoy five dining outlets and access the island’s 18-hole golf course, making it one of the best hotels in Abu Dhabi for leisure travellers.
More tropical island hideaway than Abu Dhabi hotel, Nurai Island has built a name for itself as one of the emirate’s most exclusive hideaways. Surrounded by the turquoise Arabian Gulf, the white-sand island feels worlds away from the city, though it’s just a 15-minute boat journey. As one of the most secretive resorts in the UAE, Nurai Island is home to a handful of beach and water villas, which all come with their own private pool and verdant gardens. Villas are ultra modern with floor-to-ceiling glass windows, doors, and clean-cut white lines, and all have easy access to the island’s private beach. The mammoth estate villa is the jewel in the crown – perfect for a large family getaway or for those needing real space – while two-bedroom houses are great for small families and groups of friends. As of 1 September, the resort will also start offering private butler service in all villas – elevating the island to new luxurious heights.
Al Wathba, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa
A 40-minute drive from the city amid honey-hued sands – just before the desert turns burnt orange – lies Al Wathba Desert Resort, A Luxury Collection. Opened in 2019 as Jumeirah, the property transferred to Marriott in 2020 and has become one of the best desert resorts in the UAE. While the property has smaller rooms in the main building – making it accessible to all budgets – book a night in a private pool villa for an exceptional desert experience. The sumptuous villas have private pools, a terrace overlooking nothing but sand and palm trees, and the occasional camel or gazelle roaming. Guests can have chefs come to the villa and prepare lavish barbecues or enjoy in-villa spa treatments before spending the night in their lovely private living area. The elegant arabesque theme prevails all around, from the decorative rooms, suites and villas to the traditional Saray Spa, and the fragrance of tuberose dances in the air. Five restaurants span Lebanese, traditional Emirati, European, and desert activities, including camel and Arabian horse riding, dune bashing, archery, and riding the hotel’s in-house Waverider.
Anantara Al Sahel Resort
Head towards the coast, and you’ll find the mainland of Abu Dhabi gives way to scatterings of islands: Yas, Saadiyat, Jubail to name a few are now entertainment, leisure, residential and cultural hotspots. Far west of the Empty Quarter lies Sir Bani Yas, a desert island dominated by the Arabian Wildlife Park – home to 17,000 free-roaming animals like Arabian oryx, gazelles, hyenas, giraffes and even cheetahs. Another large chunk of the island is dominated by Anantara, which has three properties here each offering a unique experience. There’s the fortress-style Desert Islands Resort, the rustic lagoon-front Al Yamm resort – 30 villas inspired by a traditional Bedouin village – and the most unique, Anantara Sir Bani Yas Island Al Sahel Villa Resort. Al Sahel brings a touch of the African savannah to Abu Dhabi with 30 luxury thatched safari-style villas filled with dark wood and private pools. An African restaurant serves beachside barbecues, but guests can also make use of the other two hotel’s dining spots and facilities.
Club Privé by Rixos Premium Saadiyat Island
Another luxurious option on Saadiyat Island, and part of the cluster of five-star resorts, is Rixos Premium Saadiyat. The property is best known for its all-inclusive experience, including activities and restaurants far beyond the uninspiring buffet synonymous with package offerings. While the property itself is architecturally beautiful – inspired by the brand’s Turkish roots intertwined with Arabesque details – the most impressive stay on the resort is in one of the Club Privé by Rixos Premium Saadiyat Island private pool villa. An even more luxurious all-inclusive offering, Club Prive offers two types of villa – the three-bedroom, which comes with an exclusive pool shared with other Club Prive villas, and the four-bedroom Villa Privee – with its own exclusive private pool. The latter has 24-hour butler service, a grand separate dining room and plenty of dining areas – making it perfect for group travel and events.
Anantara Al Yamm Resort
Built to resemble a traditional Emirati fishing village, Anantara Al Yamm Resort is one of three beautiful and unique Anantara properties on the wild Sir Bani Yas island. Set on a seemingly untrammelled beach overlooking the ocean and mangroves, the peaceful resort is an ideal hideaway for those looking to switch off, enjoy water activities like snorkelling and kayaking and truly explore Abu Dhabi’s natural and scenic beauty. Rustic and isolated private pool villas dot the shore – a short home to free-roaming animals, including the Arabian Oryx. One- and two-bedroom villas come in many shapes and sizes, so make sure to book into one with a private pool. Guests are also able to enjoy the facilities of the property’s sister resorts, Desert Islands and Al Sahel.