A Staycation in Abu Dhabi with Yas Island Rotana

When you know that you’re leaving the sandy shores of Dubai you start to make a bucket list, a list of everything that you’ve been meaning to do since you landed down (three years ago yesterday!) but yet life and children just got in the way.  On our list was a trip up to the capital for a weekend of relaxation, a stay in Abu Dhabi to get away from it all, rest and relaxation after shipping all our furniture back to the UK, a Staycation if you please, on Yas Island in the Yas Island Rotana.

With us being the right side of Dubai, a drive up to Yas Island which houses the famous Ferrari World and Yas Waterworld, would take us around an hour.  So it got to the Baby’s nap time, we packed up, popped the boys in their car seats and off we went, ready for the weekend ahead and excited about meeting up with friends who had flown in for the weekend to celebrate their 30th birthday.

Arriving at the hotel at 11:30am, much, much earlier than the designated check-in time of 2pm as we were planning on attending brunch, we spoke to the wonderful check-in staff who assured us that it wouldn’t be too much of a problem for us to be able to slip up to our room earlier and in the meantime we could leave our bag with reception while we enjoyed a quick coffee in the lobby, with a spectacular mini hot chocolate for the Big One and a mini croissant each to tide them over until it was lunchtime.

Yas Island Rotana
Latte and Croissant to start the day

After being conned by the Big One into getting him a chocolate chip cookie, which he then proceeded to smear down himself, we were able to head to our room for a last minute change for the boys before our brunch reservation at 12:30.

Having to now travel with two small boys means that more often than not we struggle with hotels and space, stepping into our classic suite we were delighted to find that there was more than enough room for all four of us.  A king sized bed could be found in the room off to the right, with plenty of space for the Baby cot to be added.

Yas Island Rotana
The Bed and the Photobombing Baby

While the living space housed a sofa, which the Big One promptly jumped on to pull off all the cushions, a coffee table, which the Baby tried to climb.  It also became the Big One’s bedroom with the child’s bed fitting perfectly by the mirror.  A large bathroom with shower over the bath, bathrobes and the lovely, mini complimentary treats that are one of my favourite things about hotel stays!

yas island rotana
The goodies!

Once we were freshened up, the boys all smart in their shirts, we headed down to brunch at Choices restaurant*, meeting our friends before settling at the table to catch up on the gossip before starting to sample the delicious food on offer.  The Baby set up in his highchair, the Big One lording it at the top of the table playing with his new present of a car USB kindly gifted by the hotel, and Mummy waiting patiently for her first glass of bubbles of the day (but it wasn’t to be the last).

A fantastic buffet awaited us, a wide range of international cuisine from Butter Chicken to Cheese Rolls, Dim Sum to Bread and Cheese, Roast Dinners to Pizza, Sushi to Salad then there were the desserts jewelled dried fruits in chests complimented by nuts overflowing next to them, a sumptuous chocolate fountain, Oreo cupcakes and beautifully coloured macaroons.

choices brunch yas island rotana

Then there were the pancakes that proved a hit with our biggest one.

choices brunch has island rotana

While the drink flowed (and flowed but that’s a different story) we chatted, we brought out the toy bag for the little ones then the lovely head waiter showed us the children’s area, downside that it was across the reception in the meeting rooms, upside it was supervised with lovely staff who brought our tearaway back to our table when he did his runner act. A child friendly menu of nuggets, chips, popcorn and ice cream.  An array of toys, including a sword the Big One took a liking too.  He spent the rest of the meal bouncing between (what he termed) “playgroup” and the table.  He sat as good as gold as the pancakes arrived….

We even managed to get the Baby to nap, just the few laps of the pool in the pram (at least there were bubbles) and he slept for the last hour of brunch where we stocked up on sweet treats and cheese.  By the time he woke up the scorch of the sun had passed and we headed outside for sunset, letting the Boys roam around the playground to burn off some of the sugar high the Big One was now on.  Climbing, running, jumping.  Watching them explore with sounds of laughter floating in the air.

kids play area yas island rotana

With excess energy burnt off our Babysitter arrived to take the boys off our hands so we could have a little adult conversation.  Tucking the pair of them in bed to sleep we headed for a few more drinks before hitting the hay ourselves ready for a day of swimming fun the next day.

Waking with the boys and heading down to breakfast for an array of pastries, juices, cereals and pancakes.  Filling up ready for a day of splashing around before driving back to Dubai later on.

Breakfast at Yas Island Rotana

Sun creamed up and dressed in our snazzy swimmers off we went, heading for the shaded children pool with graduated entry that the Baby used to kamikaze crawl down no matter how many times we stopped him!  But really, the photos here speak for themselves.

kids swimming pool yas island rotana kids swimming pool yas island rotana kids swimming pool yas island rotana kids swimming pool yas island rotana kids swimming pool yas island rotana

One delicious steak sandwich at the pool bar and two very tired boys later we packed up the boys, bid farewell to our friends, jumped in the car and drove back to Dubai.  As I turned around to check on the boys as we pulled out of the hotel both were already fast asleep….the sign of a great weekend.



We were guests of the Yas Island Rotana hotel, all thoughts and opinions are my own.


*Brunch at Choices starts from 180AED pp, 260AED pp inclusive of house beverages



  1. April 17, 2016 / 11:56 am

    Oh this looks fabulous! What a great way to make the most of your last bit of time in Dubai.

  2. April 17, 2016 / 1:25 pm

    We’ve stayed here before and loved it too! Sadly, it was Ramadan time so the other restaurants were closed and the main pool was under maintenance.

  3. April 17, 2016 / 3:36 pm

    Looks FAB!!!! I love the picture of Mr W enjoying his chocolate (chocolate??) a little bit too much 🙂 🙂 x

  4. April 17, 2016 / 8:53 pm

    That looks like a great staycation! Sometimes, just being away from home for a day can make you feel so much better.

  5. April 17, 2016 / 10:55 pm

    wow looks like you had a fantastic time, have to admit im very jealous.. the pictures make it look like a stunning place to visit. xx

  6. April 18, 2016 / 12:30 am

    You guys are so lucky to have been guests of abu dhabi because it is gorgeous! So glad that you had a good time.

  7. April 19, 2016 / 10:03 pm

    Heard a lot about this place. Eager to visit it now. Thanks for a great review.

  8. April 20, 2016 / 1:42 pm

    Looks like the boys had so much fun splashing around! Ferari World is definitely on our hit list, but I am wondering if its perhaps better waiting for Baby Z to grow a little older to he “gets it”?

  9. April 21, 2016 / 11:18 pm

    Looks great..good to spend time together as a family and making the most of the last few months in UAE

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