Abu Dhabi's hideaway retreat reopens for winter offering camping, kayaking, horse riding

Just 15-minutes from the city, the facility by two Emirati brothers aims to bring people closer to nature

Photos by Neeraj
Photos by Neeraj

Ismail Sebugwaawo

Published: Wed 12 Oct 2022, 3:18 PM

Last updated: Thu 13 Oct 2022, 10:53 AM

Two Emirati brothers, inspired by their adventure trip to the beautiful and eco-friendly Montenegro, opened up the first eco-friendly retreat in Abu Dhabi for people who fancy hideaway relaxation. Pura Eco Retreat Jubail Island welcomed guests in October 2021 and is located in a protected area near Jubail Mangrove Park.

Just 15-minutes from Abu Dhabi city, the retreat aims to bring the people of the emirate and its community closer to nature. The facility is reserved purely for adults looking for a serene getaway environment to relax and rejuvenate.

Pura means “pure life” in Costa Rican, and this is exactly what the owners of this private retreat, Emirati brothers Abdalla Almannaee and Ibrahim Almannaee, and their cousin, Bashar Hamed, wanted to bring to Abu Dhabi.

“We were inspired by the beautiful and eco-friendly [nature of Montenegro] during our [adventure] visit, and we decided to bring it home,” Abdalla told Khaleej Times.

“We decided to bring this first eco-retreat to Abu Dhabi. We wanted to bring that eco-element from nature and its surroundings [to the] people [of] Abu Dhabi and make use of the emirate’s amazing environment.”

The retreat, which operates from September to June, also hosts events such as weddings and parties of up to 150 people. Stay prices range from Dh500 to Dh2,000 depending on the season.

The retreat’s reception is housed in a shining white villa with a bright turquoise roof. Guests can take their pick from chic eco-domes or native tents, all with on-demand room service.

The luxe domes adorned with exceptional sourced pieces and locally crafted artwork come complete with king-size beds, first-class hand-picked amenities, private bathrooms, outdoor cabanas, fire pits and more.

The tents also offer a more authentic experience for camping with king-size beds, public bathrooms, outdoor seating and fire pits. They are ideal for nature and adventure seekers looking for a little extra something not far from the city.

The retreat also has a recreation room in one wing of the villa, and offers visitors a space to read books, play games and unwind.

What the retreat offers

“There is quite a lot to experience here. Fresh air, sand, fire, sports, music and nature – everything is available here in abundance to awaken the senses of our guests and leave them refreshed,” said Abdalla Almannaee.

The retreat’s guests can also enjoy occasional sightings of elegant gazelles wandering close by, and the island’s position along an important migratory route means exotic and beautiful bird sightings are common.

Pura Eco Retreat also offers its visitors the opportunity to explore by kayaking through mangroves, fat-biking along the beach and horse riding. The pristine pool deck offers expansive mangrove views, yoga sessions and the opportunity to simply switch off. Several other activities including sound healing, cycling, private BBQs, mangrove planting and art (poetry and painting) are also available for guests.

The retreat also offers private dining, with a variety of tasty meals, including local cuisine, is served in the eco-friendly environment.

Pura Eco Retreat Jubail Island, which operates from September to June, is also managing the Jebel Hafit Desert Park owned by the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi. The facility is located on the foothills of Jebel Hafeet Mountains in Al Ain.

The park sits close to the Jebel Hafeet Tombs – one of the several Unesco Heritage sites in the UAE, and offers a wonderful combination of culture, history and adventure to visitors fancying camping in addition to activities such as hiking, guided buggy tours, camel riding, horse riding, and electric skateboarding.


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