It’s summer, schools are shut down and kids are getting restless. No summer travel plans this year so thought, why not just do something locally within the UAE.
After reviewing a couple of options we decided on a weekend stay in one of the country’s largest wildlife parks – Sir Baniyas Island. Among the 3 properties on the island we opted for the Desert Islands Reports & Spa by Anantara. This property had a Summer Campaign – stay 1 night and get the 2nd night free so this worked perfectly for us!
Sir Baniyas Island: Since the death of Sheikh Zayed in 2004, Sir Bani Yas has been transformed into a wildlife park where daily safaris are offered. Sir Bani Yas is home to more than 10,000 free-roaming animals, including gazelles, cheetahs (contained in sprawling, expansive pens) and hyenas, which are all part of the destination’s enduring charm. We were fortunate to spot a cheetah during our desert safari.
There are 3 properties on this island as seen on the map below.
- Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara
- Anantara Al Yamm Villa Resort
- Anantara Al Sahel Villa Resort
Pre-cap: hope you enjoy this 1.25 minute video prepared by my 12 year old 🙂
We left Dubai early am since it takes approx 4 hrs from Al Mankhool, Dubai to Jebel Dhana jetty. The hotel provides a daily timetable for the water taxi as the schedule is subject to weather conditions and coastguard approval. This has to be pre-booked 24 hrs in advance through the hotels so ensure you plan your arrival at the jetty accordingly.
Post a quick check in formality (ensure you carry a relevant identity document) and some refreshments at Jebel Dhana jetty reception we were ready to take the boat for our onward journey.
We were warmly greeted by the staff with cold towels and a refreshing welcome drink as the porter retrieved our luggage.
This is a beautiful property with artifacts abound. Every corner of the property is tastefully decorated and the service is simply outstanding!
The rooms are spacious, decorated in local fabrics and feature authentic pieces of Middle Eastern art, along with a large balcony or terrace. There is a fully-equipped gym and an infinity pool with panoramic views of the Arabian Gulf.
Our summer campaign offer included daily buffet breakfast at The Palm restaurant. Lunch was at the Amwaj (seafood) restaurant located near the water sports centre and dinner at Olio (Italian restaurant) – quite pricey which is typical of a fine dining restaurant. Olio is located in the other property – Al Yamm Villa Resort so you need to book a buggy to/fro the hotel/restaurant.
The island, being a nature and wildlife reserve, offers visitors a number of leisure activities such as guided nature walks and bird watching, horse riding or kayaking, archery, land sailing (subject to weather conditions). One of the popular activities on the island is the Nature & Wildlife Drive through the Arabian Wildlife Park where guests can spot gazelles, oryx, antelopes, cheetahs, hyenas, ostriches and giraffes. For the more adventurous ones, there’s plenty of water sports on offer including scuba diving, deep sea fishing, sailing and snorkeling. The hotel has a well equipped recreation centre.
The spa has a range of heavenly massages that provides relief for sore muscles and deep relaxation. You will encounter a truly authentic thai experience that will take you on a journey of extreme well being.
This was an ultimate weekend experience for us, getting closer to nature, peace and solitude in comfort and style!