Pura the first eco resort in Abu Dhabi is now open.

Head on over to Jubail Island to immerse yourself in nature and be pampered in style.

Abu Dhabi does it again, the Capitals first eco retreat, Pura is now open on Jubail Island. This adults-only hideaway offers a laid-back escape where the focus of each stay is its nature-filled surrounds.

The retreat takes its name from the popular Costa Rican phrase “Pura Vida” – which translates from Spanish to “pure life”. The eco-focused hideaway also follows the Costa Rican lifestyle, which is all about slowing down and enjoying life’s little pleasures. It’s exactly this essence that Emirati owner Ibrahim Al Mannaee is trying to capture at Pura.

Reachable via a sandy, single-track road that winds for around three kilometers through Jubail Island’s mangroves, Pura Eco Retreat is housed in a gleaming white villa with a bright turquoise roof. As you are shuttled along the road towards the retreat, it’s impossible not to notice the distinct change in the air.

Each of the exterior walls of Pura’s main building has a huge purple wildlife mural, painted by artist Fatima Al Hammadi. Inside the glass entranceway is a sleek minimalist lobby where guests check-in. For Al Mannaee, the retreat is a place to highlight Abu Dhabi’s natural archipelago landscape. “Abu Dhabi is made up of over 200 islands, but how many of us have actually experienced those private islands,” he says.

While island-living is very much the highlight here, guests at Pura are not expected to fend for themselves in a nature-filled wilderness. Instead, butlers are on hand to show people to their rooms.

Golf-buggies transport visitors to their dome-shaped suites where a well-stocked welcome pack awaits. A king-size bed offers scenic views of the surrounding mangroves and all rooms come with coffee-making facilities.

In keeping with the Pura Vida lifestyle, guests are encouraged to digitally detox, which is why there’s no Wi-Fi in the domes. Instead, there are lots of complimentary activities to keep guests entertained.

Activities include fat biking, kayaking, yoga, stargazing, birdwatching and more. Further along the shoreline, there’s a private beach and access to the water – exclusively for those staying overnight.

Al Mannaee is hopeful that this close connection with nature, coupled with the home comforts that travelers want during a staycation, will entice people to visit. “We would like people to experience a different side to Abu Dhabi, Pura offers the chance to experience a rustic camping style experience, but in full comfort and close to the city”, Al Mannaee said.

Breakfast is taken on the terrace behind the main villa. A private oval-shaped pool backed by the mangroves sits beside a terrace where food is served under billowy white shades.

On the platform behind this spot, beanbags and easy chairs have been set up to encourage people to sit, pause and drink in the view. This is also where yoga classes take place, giving guests the chance to practice their asana right on the mangroves’ edge.

Beyond this terrace is the main dining area. Dinner bookings are also available for the general public, but reservations are essential. The seating areas and tables have been crafted from wooden pallets with brightly colored, locally made table runners and cushions covers.

Overhead, lampshades created out of fishing baskets reminiscent of those used by local fishermen swing in the breeze and there are a few open tepee-style tables set out on the sand.

The team plans to collaborate closely with the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi to ensure activities fit with the natural environment. They have also been involved in planting more mangrove trees in the surrounding waters.

Within touching distance of Jubail Island’s mangrove forests, Pura gives visitors a front-row seat to nature’s beauty. Staff can provide binoculars for wildlife spotting, and there’s certainly no shortage of opportunities.

More than 90 different types of birds frequent the forest including flamingo, herons, dunlin and whimbrel. The threatened greater spotted eagle is also a regular visitor to the shoreline. And the birds are not the only creatures that call this place home. Inside the mangrove canopy are frogs, seagrass, spiders and countless species of fish.

With exceptional dining, rustic style living available just a short drive from the city, what are you waiting for. Leave the kids and the laptops at home and come unwind with nature.

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