Sha Emirates: An island community dedicated to wellness
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Sha Emirates by Imkan: Abu Dhabi’s island community dedicated to wellbeing

Sha Emirates by Imkan: Abu Dhabi’s island community dedicated to wellbeing

SHA Emirates will feature an international wellness clinic and residences that reflect a transformative approach to healthy living

Neesha Salian
Sha Emirates Island

Far from the madding crowd, in a private and exclusive enclave nestled between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, lies the picturesque AlJurf Gardens. The meticulously planned development features lush vegetation and a private marina and beach – all of which add to its appeal. The area, which is part of a nature reserve created to protect oryx and gazelles native to the UAE, will soon host the world’s first “wellness” island.

Unveiled in April, Sha Emirates Island, a fully integrated wellness haven, is born out of a partnership between Abu Dhabi-based developer, Imkan Properties and award-winning international wellness brand, Sha Wellness. The destination is envisioned as more than just a luxurious escape, it’s positioned as a residential community designed to nourish the mind, body and soul.

Suwaidan AlDhaheri, CEO of Imkan Properties, says: “The partnership between Imkan and Sha Wellness Clinic has brought Sha Emirates to AlJurf with a shared vision to become a catalyst for health and wellness in the UAE. Sha’s philosophy is that the very best health for mind, body and soul is attained through marrying optimum nutrition and treatments with external elements of luxurious and relaxing surroundings.”

Sha Wellness: Focus on healing

Founded by Alejandro Bataller, an Argentinian-born entrepreneur with Spanish-Italian roots, Sha Wellness through its personalised programmes has helped more than 65,000 people experience a significant transformation in their health and wellbeing. These include a long list of members of royal families, heads of state and other celebrities.

In January, the wellness brand opened its second clinic in Costa Mujeres, Mexico, overlooking the Caribbean Sea. Its third clinic, at Sha Emirates Island, also promises to extend the benefits of the renowned Sha Method – to both residents and visitors. The holistic approach to wellness was developed by a team of world-class experts and perfected over 15 years.

“We are excited to bring the unique ‘Sha Method’ to the Middle East, making it possible for more people to benefit from our philosophy of integrative health and wellbeing. We travelled to dozens of locations in search of the perfect natural environment, warm weather and accessibility to create the world’s first fully integrated wellness island and found everything we could imagine and more at the seaside destination of AlJurf,” says Bataller.

He adds, “We started working together with Imkan in 2018. We decided to increase the size and scope of the project after the Covid-19 pandemic, seeing the growing demand for such an offering. We decided to expand the project and facilities.

“So far, this is the most ambitious project for us. Sha is a difficult brand to replicate. This is not like a luxury hotel chain that you can just open around the world.

“We’ve put our know-how in the development and even the selection of materials to build the development to create a holistic, wellbeing-infused product that people living on the island can have access to.”

The exclusive wellness destination is expected to raise the UAE’s profile as a wellness hub considering AlJurf’s proximity to both Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

AlDhaheri says, “Sha Emirates Island will position AlJurf as the first destination in wellness tourism, mirroring our vision for the development. It’s the ideal setting for our wellness-led project.”

Bataller adds “Internationally, wellness tourism is growing around 16-17 per cent annually. People are more concerned about how to stay healthy.

“The main challenge for a person who has attended a wellness programme is the consistency and discipline required to maintain a healthy lifestyle after they return home.

“This concept will see health and wellness become an ongoing pursuit for all residents and visitors, allowing them to enjoy the lifelong benefits of what we offer at Sha Wellness.”

Sha Emirates: An exclusive residential community developed by Imkan

The island sanctuary will offer residents a selection of beachfront, shoreline and garden villas (a total of 86), each designed to maximise comfort, space and connection to nature.

A selection of one-to four-bedroom apartments, including two penthouses will be available. These will feature the same design elements as the villas. Sustainable practices are woven into the very fabric of the residences, with locally sourced materials, energy-efficient appliances, and solar-powered features, creating a sense of harmony with the environment. A team of international and local architects and designers – SAOTA, HBA, SIEC and OTAK – are working on the project. The destination is being created to achieve the WELL building certification System from Delos, the global authority on green building and practices.

Residents will also have exclusive access to a world of amenities dedicated to fostering a healthy lifestyle. Imagine unwinding at the state-of-the-art Sports Pavilion (one of nine pavilions), indulging in rejuvenating treatments at the on-site Sha spa, or exploring the island’s natural beauty on dedicated bike paths. Families can bond at the Family Pavilion, while the Wellness Kids Club (one of several pavilions) will introduce younger residents to healthy habits in a fun and engaging environment. Residents can also expect to participate in island-wide events, connect with neighbours who share their passion for wellness and forge meaningful connections.

Resident profile

Bataller says, “We don’t want to become just another luxury residential project. We want to make sure that the people who want to live here have a genuine interest in health and wellbeing.

“We’re looking at welcoming an international clientele mainly between 40 to 60 years old, who are looking to make Sha Emirates their first or even second home.”

He adds that people can register their interest in buying a property on Sha Emirates. “We are extending the opportunity first to family and friends and then to our clients and others. There will also be an application process to make sure potential residents are aligned with the principles and the values that are synonymous with Sha.”

The wellness island will also be an ideal setting to conduct scientific research to show how life expectancy, oxidative stress and other related factors can improve when you live in such a conducive environment, says Bataller, who intends to partner with Arab universities to run such studies when the destination opens to residents and visitors in the middle of 2026.

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