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Eid Al Fitr could possibly start on July 28, opening the doors to a potential five-day break for UAE residents, starting on Friday, July 25. If that is the case, all the more reason to make the most of it and either jet off to the likes of Jordan, Oman, Seychelles or Singapore, or perhaps just revel in the wonders of the UAE. We’ve collated some of the hot spots worth checking out on your extended break.


Looming tall over Business Bay, the five-star JW Marriott Marquis is one of the most distinctive landmarks on Dubai’s skyline. Home to an opulent spa, sparkling swimming pools, and no less than 14 bars, restaurants and lounges, the hotel is a contemporary haven in the heart of the city. And it is offering three nights for the price of two until September 6, 2014, as well as 33 per cent off some food and beverage experiences and relaxing spa treatments.

JW Marriott Marquis, Business Bay, Dubai. Tel: (04) 414 0000. marriott.com

JW Marriott Marquis, Business Bay

Dubai’s first art inspired hotel apartments are in Al Barsha, a mere stones throw away from the Mall of the Emirates. Art lovers will appreciate the theme of the hotel, which has been inspired by the work of acclaimed Arabic artists, Dr Najat Makki, Ali Hassan and Khaled Ben Slimane. Each room in the 45 serviced apartments has had a unique design added to it to showcase the style of one of the artists. A one bedroom apartment for Eid will set you back Dhs850 a night.

Al Barsha 1, Dubai. Tel: (04) 3477676. noonhotel.com

Noon Boutique Art, Al Barsha

This regal hotel is the newest addition to The Palm Jumeirah and boasts some serious views of the Arabian Gulf. Located on Crescent East of The Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, this is a great spot to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. If a private beach and wealth of recreational activities doesn’t pique your interest perhaps the two temperature-controlled pools and choice of six restaurants will. The lush garden area is also pretty impressive. A one night stay in the deluxe skyline room is Dhs2,050 plus 20 percent municipality tax.

The Palm Jumeirah, Dubai. Tel: (04) 8182222. waldorfastoria3.com

Waldorf The Palm

Both The Palm and Sheikh Zayed Road hotels are offering enticing packages for guests, with the former (as well as Abu Dhabi’s Bab Al Bahr resort) giving a third night free, and the latter opting 20 per cent off. All families staying at any of the three can book one room and receive half price on a second. All offers run until the end of September.

Fairmont The Palm, Dubai. Tel: (04) 457 3388 ; Fairmont Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road, Tel: (04) 332 5555. fairmont.com

Fairmont The Palm


Have you ever wanted to wake up to an African dawn? Have you dreamt of seeing gazelle nibbling the grass metres from where you sit with your morning cuppa, or watching a giraffe lazily munching the top of a tree just a few metres further away? Well, now you can do all that at a place that’s only a 35-minute flight from Dubai. The dream of Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan that began in the 1970s has been magically realised on the volcanic Sir Bani Yas Island near Al Ruwais, where an abundance of African wildlife is flourishing. Sheikh Zayed planted 2.5 million trees on the island, irrigated the land and brought in wildlife from Africa and elsewhere to make an animal park. Years later, permission was granted for three resorts to be built on the island. One of them, the Anantara Sir Bani Yas Island Al Sahel Villa Resort is behind fences within the wildlife park and offers visitors an incredible peek of life in Africa. More than 12,000 animals share the 87sqkm island, thought to be between five and ten million years old.

Fly from Dubai International Airport to Sir Bani Yas Island on Rotana Jet. Flight time: 35 minutes. Prices start at Dhs200 one way. Tel: (02) 4443366. From Abu Dhabi, take the E11 to Tarif and Mirfa. Take Exit 113 and follow signs to Jabel Dhanna, and then Sir Bani Yas Island. A 20-minute boat ride takes you to the resort. 

The Anantara Sir Bani Yas Island Al Sahel Villa Resort, Al Ruwais, Abu Dhabi (pictured). Dhs650 per night for five nights. Tel: (02) 8015400. anantara.com

Sir Bani Yas

Set in the wilderness of Arabian Desert, enjoy a moment of peaceful reflection in the privacy of your personal pool villa at Banyan Tree Al Wadi. The luxury resort, located in 500 hectares of nature reserve in Ras Al Khaimah, features the one of a kind Rainforest room. For an afternoon of wellness and therapy, this is the perfect spot to spend a couple of days unwinding. Dine overlooking the romantic, orange dunes by candlelight, or in the hotel’s outlets, Saffran and Al Waha. For those who are looking to get involved in nature, there are desert treks and falconry courses during the day and plenty of wildlife to see around the resort.

For more information call 07 206 7777 or email reservations-alwadi@banyantree.com 

Banyan Tree, Al Wadi

Located on the beaches of man-made Al Marjan Island, Rixos Bab Al Bahr is a pleasant 45-minute drive from Dubai. The resort is all-inclusive, meaning you can simply check in and enjoy limitless food and drinks from a whopping 14 dining options. There’s also an in-house gaming zone, water sports and lots of live entertainment, meaning boredom is well and truly banished. It’s incredibly family friendly, with a dedicated kids club to keep the little ones entertained while mum and dad enjoy a break. Teens can also make the most of their own activity zone, aptly named Teen’s Republic.

Al Marjan Island, Ras Al Khaimah. Tel: (07) 2020000. rixos.com

Rixos Bab Al Bahr

While the Ramada Beach Hotel sways more towards Fawlty Towers than luxury hotel, its penthouse is truly one of kind. Open the double doors to an outrageous top-floor penthouse with marble floors and sweeping staircases, a massive kitchen, balcony with barbecue facilities and five bedrooms. Is it pretty? If you like bright colours, gold-plated furniture and faux-starry night ceilings, yes, it’s gorgeous. Grab all your mates and party this Eid in Ajman. It’ll be a holiday you won’t forget.

Ramada Beach Hotel Ajman, Ajman. Dhs.5,000 per night. The penthouse sleeps 10. Tel: (06) 7429999. ramadabeachajman.com/guest-rooms/penthouse

Ramada Beach Hotel Penthouse



Watersports fans are spoilt for choice in the UAE, but scuba diving is one pursuit you should cross the border for. The Musandam Peninsula in northern Oman is a two-hour drive from Dubai and offers some of the best diving in the Middle East. Nomad Ocean Adventures is the most accessible dive centre for an East coast trip, located just across the border in the small port town of Dibba. A family-run PADI Resort Dive Centre and TDI (Technical Diving International) Dive Centre, Nomad caters for beginners right up to veteran divers with logbooks thicker than a dictionary.

Nomad Ocean Adventures, Dibba, Oman, PADI Open Water Course Dhs1,500; two nights/four dives for Dhs1,100. Tel: (968) 26836069. discovernomad.com

Scubadiving in Oman

If you’ve explored the sites of Petra and seen all there is to see in Amman, head to Feynan, one the greatest copper mines of the Roman Empire. Hike around the Byzantine churches, reservoirs and furnaces before relaxing in the beautiful Feynan Eco-Lodge. Famed for its excellent food and lit up at night only by candlelight, this is the perfect place to stargaze and relax in nature. You can also tack on a visit to Wadi Mujib for an adventurous canyoning trip to a waterfall and a stop off at the Dead Sea. This package, which includes transportation in Jordan, meals, accommodation and activities, costs Dhs.2,460 for two people sharing.


Feynan, Jordan Feynan2

Discover a wonderful concoction of Chinese, Malay, Indian and Western cultures in a pollution-free, tranquil country that is Singapore. Savour Singaporean flavours at the hawker stalls, or spend dollars along the infamous Orchard Road before putting your feet up inside the Grand Hyatt Singapore. Emirates Holidays has a deal for a three night stay plus flights from Dhs5,836 per person.



Not all Eid escapes have to involve aeroplanes. Some adventures just need a good 4×4 and a luxury hotel up in the mountains, just like the newly opened Alila Jabal Akhdar. Nestled in the heart of Oman’s beautiful Al Hajar mountains, lies this rustic resort with luxurious rooms overlooking the mountains. If it’s adventure, nature and isolation that you’re after, this is the retreat for you. With a special two-night mountain escapade rate until the end of September, a mountain view room with breakfast, dinner and a spa treatment costs approximately Dhs2,230 per night.


Alila Jabal Akhdar

For a romantic break to remember, jet off to the Kempinski Seychelles Resort with dnata travel. Undeniably, it’s the white sand beaches lapped by topaz water that are the biggest attraction but the Seychelles isn’t just about topping up the tan; it’s earned a reputation as the heartland of ecotourism where visitors can watch birds and giant tortoises in their natural habitat. Travel to Mahe, one of the Seychelles’ bigger islands and stay at the Kempinski where you’ll get a hill view room, bed and breakfast for three nights and flights all included for Dhs7,451 per person.


Kempinski Seychelles Resort