Kilometers of powder-fine white sand, turquoise seas, palm trees, and fresh breeze… This can only be the Mediterranean, right? Or perhaps you’re lucky enough to be enjoying sunset over the Arabian Gulf at the new Shala Beach Lounge on the shores of Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi.
The newly revamped Shala has an intimate bohemian chic vibe – think Zanzibar or the laid-back side of Ibiza – with the design seamlessly blending into the surrounds, including plays on the four elements of nature. Forget crowded, clustered high rises and hotels sardined together; sitting roof-level at Shala feels as if you are the only person for miles around.
Shala – which is derived from the Sanskrit word for “home” – takes a holistic approach to lifestyle and comfort, both in its nature-inspired philosophy and the delicious food it serves. Elements from Middle Eastern culture are delicately woven into the menu, which has sustainability at its core. And while you might come for the smooth sundowners, smoother beats, and the unbeatable views, you stay for the staff. The Shala family is what makes this beach lounge truly exceptional. You are welcomed like a friend and can trust barman Valentino to mix you up exactly what you want, without you even knowing it, while Mbali and the rest of the staff entice your senses with organic and innovative snacks like banana chips and guacamole presented to look like fire, beetroot balls that will surely change your life, hickory-smoked burrata – served in a wooden box and opened dramatically in front of you – and beautifully balanced and proportioned steak tartare. The thoughtfully curated seasonal menu also includes a showstopper of a dessert: an entire giant pineapple, one half filled with light-as-air sorbet, the other with smooth crème brûlée. All the ingredients are made or sourced right there with a “farm-to-table approach,” with the food and drinks menus complementing each other.
The laid-back lounge will also be offering wellness retreats as part of its unique atmosphere: think sound rituals, movement, and breathwork, candlelit yin yoga sessions and guided meditations. Simply lounge back, enjoy a sage-burning aura cleansing ritual, and allow this barefoot haven to sweep you along.
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