Inside Abu Dhabi’s Yas Hotel


A modern island playground off the coast of Abu Dhabi.

There’s nothing quiet about Yas. This 6,000-acre island right off the coast of Abu Dhabi buzzes with a 143-berth marina and yacht club, a 3.4-mile Formula One racetrack, and now the new nine-story, nearly one-million-square-foot Yas Hotel, which opened in November, just in time for the first-annual Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. To keep pace with the island’s vibe, the hotel’s designers positioned its two buildings half on land, half on water, with the racetrack cutting through. Here, a look at the details, inside and out.

Guest Rooms

London design firm Jestico + Whiles mixed mod materials and textures: floor-to-ceiling glass panels throughout, and white quartz and leather-embossed porcelain tiles in the bathrooms.

Bridge Bar

The bi-level bridge connecting the hotel’s two buildings holds Rush, a vast lounge managed by George V, of Buddha Bar fame. Offering prime racetrack views, the bar specializes in creative spins on classic julep cocktails.

Pool and Spa

Heidar Sadeki of Richardson Sadeki architects used marble, walnut wood, and bronze glass to create the two-level, 16,000-square-foot Espa, featuring a traditional hammam and ten treatment rooms. Sadeki also designed the two rooftops, each with an outdoor pool that’s partially shaded by the LED gridshell.

Dining Spots

Among the seven restaurants is Nautilus, where executive chef Daniel Nuss presides over a raw bar and creates dishes like this crispy sea bass with crab cannelloni. Later this year Yas will open Vine, a rooftop terrace restaurant with floor-to-ceiling wine racks and a private tasting room.

LED Gridshell

Hani Rashid and Lise Anne Couture of New York City’s Asymptote Architecture designed the 180,000-square-foot glass-and-steel grid that covers both the hotel’s wings. Dotted with 4,000-plus LED lights, this net-like canopy—which Rashid calls “an interplay of elegance and spectacle”—changes hues and produces a variety of moving color patterns at night. It won’t cause guests to lose sleep, however. Its 5,800 individually shaped glass panels pivot to reflect away from the hotel. From inside the buildings, only 20 percent of the lights are visible.

From $980 for a standard room; 971-2/656-0000;