Swimming pools in Abu Dhabi are now able to reopen after several months of closures, with some hotels and clubs opening their pools first thing on Friday morning.
The Club Abu Dhabi reopened its pool on Friday and has sent members an email regarding safety measures, while Jumeirah Saadiyat Island announced that both its adult and family lagoon pools would be operational from 9am.
The pool at Anantara Eastern Mangroves is now also open, from 8am to 7pm. At that hotel, loungers will have signs saying 'ready' or 'not ready', and only those that have been disinfected will be deemed ready.
The hotel is not offering pool day deals yet, but has staycation offers from Dh450 per night and told The National it plans to launch more deals now the pool has reopened.
Aloft Abu Dhabi has also reopened its pools, as has the Ritz Carlton, Grand Canal. The latter celebrated the news with this video:
The National has contacted many hotels and clubs across the capital to find out which other pools will be operational this weekend.
While it's best to check ahead for each hotel's safety precautions, the hotels will be following guidelines set out by The Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi (DCT).
General guidelines include employees being tested for Covid before returning to work and then being tested regularly, guests bringing their own towels, and sun beds and loungers being placed two metres apart.
Hotels in Abu Dhabi are busier than last year
Earlier this week, DCT released statistics that showed hotels in the UAE capital are busier this July than they were in the same month last year, with bookings up 3 per cent year on year.
Cases of the coronavirus have dropped to less than 1 per cent per capita in Abu Dhabi City. DCT says this is because of strict measures and increased testing. This seems to have spurred confidence to book hotel stays, but many Abu Dhabi residents were holding off on booking staycations until pools reopened, so they may see a further bump in bookings now.
More than 80 per cent of hotels in the emirate have enrolled in the Go Safe certification programme. To become certified, hotels must introduce several measures including enhanced disinfection of surfaces, new social distancing policies, temperature scans and compulsory face masks for staff and guests.
W Hotel Abu Dhabi – Yas Island was among the first venues to obtain the certification. The hotel closed in March due to Covid-19 restrictions, but reopened for Yas Island's UFC event (which will have certainly boosted hotel occupancy rates). It will reopen to guests on Thursday, July 30.
Authorities in Abu Dhabi are supporting the tourism industry via a variety of government schemes, including up to 20 per cent rental rebates for restaurants, tourism and entertainment facilities. Tourism and municipality fees have also been scrapped for some outlets.
A selection of Abu Dhabi hotels: