Staycation review: Banan Beach is equal parts boho hangout and glamping perks
Plus, pets are very welcome…
If you’re scouting the UAE for a beachy getaway, there’s a decent chance you’re waffling between The Palm (Dubai), Saadiyat Island (Abu Dhabi), or maybe even a drive to Ajman, and if you’re looking for a luxury splash, that’s the right track to be on. But when you’d rather a more boho getaway (with your four-legged pal in tow, perhaps), take a savvy step over to Banan Beach, in Ras Al Khaimah, instead.
The look and feel
Sure, Ras Al Khaimah has those glitzy five-star resorts we all adore, but Banan Beach is a mini-hippy village in itself. Guests ride around – past painted murals and huge 1,000-year-old olive trees – on rickety (yet charming) trikes. Among the blue and white facades, you’ll spot a little supermarket and a butcher’s, then there’s an outdoor bar and restaurant with rotisserie chicken spinning over an open fire.
Facilities and activities
There’s an adult pool, a family pool and fire pits (where guests gather at sunset for ridiculously delicious hot chocolates stuffed with toasted marshmallows). There are hammocks where guests sway to the DJs beach tunes, a line of rustic cabanas looking out to sea, and a cluster of A-frame wooden chalets ranging from two-person ‘small tents’, larger ‘loft tents’ to biggest three-roomed ‘chalets’. For the lower end ‘tents’, you’ll find communal showers in the centre of the campground. There’s also a barbecue area for guests to DIY their own meals. More on that later…
There are three types of accommodation to choose from:
Small Tents – This is the most basic option. There are 50 beach camp ‘tents’ (pet-friendly small tents are also available), with one double sized bed inside each, plus two deck chairs outside. You’ll be using the communal showers and bathrooms.
Loft Tents – This is the mid-range option. There are 12 two-bedroom ‘loft tents’ (pet-friendly lofts are also available), each with two double beds, and one bathroom per loft, plus a seating and barbecue area outside.
Chalets – This is the top-end option. There are 10 three-bedroom chalets (pet-friendly chalets are also available), with three separate en-suite double rooms, plus your own private pool, swing, bar, barbecue area and fridge. [Editor’s note: We stayed here and have already booked a return visit].
The food and drink
When it comes to food, there are two options. Either you order from the alfresco restaurant, which serves up a range of authentic Palestinian cuisine as well as pizzas, salads and amazing burgers with caramelised onions, or you can head to the BBQ area and do it yourself. There’s also a bar by the pool where you can order drinks. We opted for dinner at the restaurant, but made breakfast ourselves with the much-appreciated aid of the Banan Beach culinary crew. Everything is ready for you: pots, pans, fresh veggies, eggs, spices, bagels – even your own grilling station complete with chopping boards and knives, it’s all prepped for you to get stuck in.
The room rates
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Small Tents prices start from Dhs300 for two people; Loft Tents start at Dhs950 for four people; Chalets start at Dhs1,950 for six people. All include DIY breakfast.
Head’s up: Walk-ins are open to everyone on weekdays (Monday-Friday), but on the weekends (Saturday and Sunday), walk-ins must either be Banan Beach members, accompanied by members of Banan Beach, or accompanied by guests sleeping at Banan Beach. There is a Ladies’ Day on Sundays from 1pm to 7pm, where entry costs Dhs50 and Dhs100 for guys (redeemable on food, drink and shisha, plus one free welcome drink).
Banan Beach, Ras Al Khaimah. Tel: (0)7 2353566. bananbeach.com