Review: Zaya Nurai Island | 2nd Anniversary Staycation & Wedding Tour

Zaya Nurai Island | Anniversary Staycation & Wedding Tour

In November last year, I had the privilege of escaping to one of the prettiest islands I have visited yet: Zaya Nurai, recently voted most incredible private island by Condenast Traveller UK. The occasion? Celebrating my second ‘wedding blessing’ anniversary with the hubby, and combining that with some much needed ‘us’ time after a traumatic previous month (click here).

I’d heard about Zaya Nurai in passing and on social media, and was instantly drawn to the numerous images depicting perfect azure blue sea and modern villa interiors. I was also super curious to hear all about the resort’s wedding offerings, and so we wasted no time in heading over to the island for a night and day of pure, unadulterated bliss.


Photographer Maria Sundin, who lives in Abu Dhabi, joined us for a few hours to snap some pics of the hubby and I (I know, lucky us) at the resort. I am sure you will all agree that the photos are just beautiful!

Below, I review our experience for all of you loved up couples who fancy a romantic getaway, and for brides-to-be, who may be considering the resort for a unique wedding venue option. Enjoy! Note: All images are by Maria Sundin Photography, unless stated otherwise.

The location

Nurai Island is located approximately 10 minutes from Downtown Abu Dhabi and about 90 minutes by car from Dubai International Airport. Previously a small, uninhabited natural island close to Saadiyat Island off the coast of Abu Dhabi, Nurai has since been enlarged but still retains a natural aesthetic. Upon reaching the island’s port, you will enter a small, stylish welcome cabin before hopping onto a speed boat for a scenic ride to the island, which takes about ten minutes.

Departures are every hour on the half hour. Guests who prefer a VIP entrance, can make arrangements to arrive by private boat if they wish, and there’s also a helipad. TIP: For the prettiest views, make sure you sit on the right side of the boat.

View More:

View More:

View More:

Full Online Gallery - WEB RES-0006

View More:

Check in, Our Personal Butler & The Villa

We were greeted at the resort with cold towels and a refreshing drink, which was a welcome touch. Our lovely butler Ram, who was from the Maldives, welcomed us to the resort’s main reception and ensured that we were all checked in safe and sound.

View More:

After a quick cappuccino at the Nurai Terrace, we took a short ride on a buggy and arrived at our villa, personally escorted by Ram. Upon entering our one-night haven, we were welcomed with a stunning view of our own private pool, which had a calming and scenic vista looking out directly to the ocean, beach and surrounding villas. We also had a large patio area to enjoy, with a mahooosive garden bed to lounge on.
The villa’s interiors were minimalist and clean, with a modern touch. 

Full Online Gallery - WEB RES-0010

View More:


View More:

Our luxurious and ultra-comfy bed was adorned with pretty petals and balloons to wish us a happy anniversary, which was such a sweet touch. In total, Zaya Nurai has 32 one-bedroom villas.

View More:

Being a bit of an interior décor nerd myself, I fell in love with the villas geometric style lamps and lanterns. Our villa had its own lounge area with a state of the art TV, sofa and coffee table. One thing I appreciate when I travel away is large sink-in bathtubs and Zaya Nurai did not disappoint. For you shower lovers, our villa had a spacious and airy walk-in rainfall shower. Beautiful floor to ceiling white drapes separated different spaces in our villa and the amenities included plenty of organic teas, as well as coffee and a well-stocked mini bar.

View More:

View More:


View More:

View More:

Pool & Beach Time

Nurai Island has a heavenly, spacious pool which looks out onto a white sandy beach and turquoise blue waters. The pool comes equipped with the most adorable giant inflatable swans, and we had a lot of fun trying to balance on them while taking photos (as you can see from the images below). The pool’s lifeguards are super friendly, and we never saw them without a smile.


View More:

View More:

The resort’s beach is just divine; you really do feel as though you have been transported to somewhere like the Seychelles or the Maldives, even down to the crystal clear water! For the more adventurous amongst you, there are also plenty of water sports to try. Adam and I both had a go at paddle boarding…suffice to say, the hubby was a natural, whereas I looked like a baby elephant trying to balance on a pole! Ha-ha. Note: Below paddle board images were taken on my Samsung camera.



Anniversary Dinner On the Beach

After our enjoyable time by the beach and pool, we headed back to our villa to freshen up. Soon after, our butler Ram arranged for a buggy to pick us up and take us to dinner on the beach. Awaiting us was the prettiest tipi-style cabana, illuminated with outdoor fire candles. It really took my breath away, and looked super romantic.

We could not help but feel totally spoilt as we sat under the night sky, feasting on succulent, perfectly cooked shrimp as the calm ocean lapped the shore in front of us. The hubby vouches for the island’s steak option and, for you shisha lovers, there is a gorgeous and very trendy bar that can be visited after dinner for a pricey, but rather good, shisha or two.

The resort’s F&B Director Gonzalo Bueno, from Mexico, popped by to say hello and welcome us as we dined, which was a really personal touch.

Couples ‘In-Villa’ Massage

The following morning, after choosing to enjoy our delicious breakfast in the comfort of our bed, and after a lazy few hours by the pool, we were treated to a private ‘in-villa’ couples massage. Our therapists set-up the massage beds directly facing out onto the pool, not that we kept our eyes open for long. Ten minutes into the massage, my hubby started happily snoring away, which is always a good sign. Our therapists got to work massaging our stiff and tense muscles, and it was wonderful. Soon after they left, we fell into a deep sleep on our day bed under the cool shade, and made the most of the last few hours before heading out for a tour of the island’s wedding facilities. Note: Massage bed image, taken by me on my Samsung phone camera.


Wedding venue tour and facilities

On the final day of our stay, we were taken on a guided tour of the island’s wedding venue locations by Ram.
If you are having a small, intimate wedding, you can of course utilise one of the 32 villas available for hire, in addition to a nice beach space adjacent to the villa. However, the villa that knocked us off our feet and made us go “WOW” was located at the end of the island with its own private beach. The villa is called ‘The Estate Villa’ and is HUGE, accommodating up to 100 persons for a seated dinner and 250 persons if you are having a cocktail party.


Alternatively, if it’s complete privacy and luxury that you are after, and if you have the budget to match, you can hire the whole island exclusively for three days for 1.5million AED. Watch out later his month, for our post, feating a real wedding on Nurai Island!

View More:

In short:

Zaya Nurai Island is an idyllic local getaway for those celebrating a special occasion. Whilst it is indeed local, you really do feel as though you have been transported to some far away exotic island. It is pricey, but well worth the experience. Whilst there was still maintenance work happening when we were there, we soon forgot about it in the comfort of our private villa. The staff cannot do enough for you and the romantic beach dinner set-up really is a highlight for those considering it.

Special thank you to Elodie Patel at Nurai Island for accommodating our stay.

{Bonus Anniversary Pictures by Maria Sundin}


View More:

View More:

View More:

View More:


View More:

Full Online Gallery - WEB RES-0030

View More:

View More:

View More:

*Zaya Nurai sponsored our nights stay on the island. All opinions are the author’s own and are not endorsed by Zaya Nurai.


To enquire about booking your wedding at Zaya Nurai Island, visit the resort’s weddings & events page herefor more information. Interested in celebrating your anniversary or honeymoon at the resort? Click here to reserve a booking.

Review: Zaya Nurai Island | 2nd Anniversary Staycation & Wedding Tour, 5.0 out of 5 based on 1 rating


  1. Wow! What a beautiful place and LOVE your dress XxX

  2. Totally gorgeous! I have a friend currently residing in Doha who will love this place. Will recommend to her – it’s so utterly gorgeous!

  3. henry says:


  4. Lea Benjamin says:

    What a stunning venue, it would be amazing to arrive on a boat what a nice touch.

GD Star Rating

What do you think? Add your Review


Switch to mobile version