If your travel plans for 2021 have yet to take flight, turn your focus to these stunning retreats for a memorable staycation in the UAE. Our top five resorts for spring are close to home yet have all the makings of a secluded escape
Wake up to the sight of gazelles and view the once-endangered Arabian oryx up close with a stay at one of the three gorgeous Anantara properties on Abu Dhabi’s Sir Bani Yas Island. Nestled in the heart of the Arabian Wildlife Park, this trio of resorts is one of the Thai hospitality group’s most enthralling properties. Nature walks and safari drives are the highlights of every trip to the island but the resort’s rustic-meets-luxurious setting demands that you split your time equally between the outdoors and indoors.
Visitors looking to get rooted in the natural world will find Anantara Al Sahel Villa Resort the ideal base. The property boasts African-lodge-style villas, surrounded by a lush landscape of desert grasslands. On the island’s eastern shore, Anantara Al Yamm Villa Resort offers palatial beachfront villas in the heart of an ancient pearl fishing village. Finally, Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara offers the best of both worlds with modern amenities sure to delight even the most discerning traveller and gorgeous natural views in the backdrop.
As you drive past Ajman’s lush mangroves towards The Oberoi Beach Resort, Al Zorah, you’re immediately filled with a sense of escape. Yet, this stunning resort is just 45 minutes away from Dubai. Designed to give every guest a sense of secluded luxury, the property is flanked by the clear waters of the Arabian Gulf on one side and one million square metres of mangroves on the other. What sets this retreat apart from others of its ilk is that it boasts only 89 rooms, all in an attempt to make visitors feel like they have this picturesque resort all to themselves. A true boon for stays in these times of social distancing.
For those looking to make the most of their stay, book the deluxe suite with a private terrace for an experience unlike any other. Spanning 109 square metres, this magnificent oasis offers both Arabian Gulf and mangrove views, which means guests can catch both the sunrise and sunset from the comfort of this not-so-humble abode.
A dining destination in its own right, the Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach lends its idyllic surrounds to some of the city’s most loved restaurants. The likes of Coya, Nusret, Shai Salon and Sea Fu have been drawing the city’s gourmands to this sprawling resort since its opening. But the property is so much more than a culinary haven.
For a serene urban escape, the Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach seems miles away from the city. Set on a sandy stretch along Jumeirah Beach Road, this palm-fringed resort offers unparalleled luxury with warm hospitality. The regal façade gives the resort an Arabian palace-like feel, complete with latticework, wind towers and traditional lamps. Its charming surrounds are complemented by a range of experiences – think luxurious spa treatments and beachfront leisure – which allows guests to make the most of their downtime. Spend the afternoon relaxing in a private poolside cabana, pamper yourself with a bespoke spa treatment and settle for dinner and drinks by the seaside, ticking all the boxes for the perfect escape.
Imagine blue waters so clear, you see fish swimming alongside while taking a leisurely dip along the shores of Zaya Nurai Island. Designed to offer a true sense of escape, a visit to the UAE capital’s favourite private island resort begins with a speedboat ride from Saadiyat Island.
Upon arrival, the landscape instantly transforms – think aquamarine waters, giant hammocks and swings in the middle of the sea, lush palm trees and gleaming white sands. Retreat to a villa on the shore, with the ocean for your backyard and soak up the sun on the private sundeck, complete with your very own pool.
At this desert-inspired retreat, begin your day enjoying a sumptuous private breakfast on the pool deck of your tented villa with the soundtrack of birdsong. As you dine, the little feathered singers will even help themselves to a quick drink of water from your private pool to cool off as the sun begins to rise in the desert sky. That’s the essence of every stay at The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert – becoming one with nature.
The hotel is situated within the Al Wadi Nature Reserve, so don’t be surprised even if an Arabian oryx or a lithe gazelle stops by your villa just to say hello. Here, it’s all about celebrating and experiencing the natural environment in the desert, while ensconced in true luxury. This is definitely desert glamping at its finest.
Bonus: New in town
Umm Al Quwain recently welcomed a brand-new addition to its hospitality scene with the opening of Vida Beach Resort Umm Al Quwain last month. Nestled on the sleepy emirate’s golden shores, this idyllic beachfront resort is designed to encourage guests to disconnect from city life and rediscover luxury living by the beach.
Visitors can check into one of 135 rooms and suites offering sea or city-facing views. For a unique staycation experience, a collection of beach chalets dot the shore, each promising uninterrupted Arabian Gulf panoramas and breathtaking sunsets.