Staycay goals: The best hotels in the UAE with private pools
Perfect for a luxe escape…
Planning an escape across the emirates but looking for somewhere a little special? The array of luxury resorts across the UAE leave us spoiled for choice. But for when you simply want to drop-and-flop in your private digs, a hotel with private pool suites and villas is a top option.
Here are the best hotels in the UAE with private pools.
Al Wathba, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa
Unrolling against the backdrop of the rolling Al Wathba desert dunes is this dreamy desert resort. Adding a dash of luxury to a resort that’s been designed to look like a timeless Bedouin village, Al Wathba, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa is the kind of spot to retreat to when you need to switch off and bliss out. Among the 99 guest rooms and suites, the resort features a collection of one- and two-bedroom suites and villas that all feature their own temperature controlled pool, where guests can take a dip against the backdrop of the stretching desert sands. Elsewhere, the resort is home to five restaurants and myriad desert activities, like camel treks, horse riding and dirt biking.
Al Wathba, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, Al Wathba South, pool suites from Dhs3,705. Tel: (0)2 204 4444, marriott.com
Anantara Al Yamm Resort
Sir Bani Yas Island makes for the sort of staycations that dreams are made of. It shares the same golden sands and cornflower blue coastlines as many other UAE desert islands, but also has some very special guest inhabitants. The Sir Bani Yas Royal Nature Reserve is a mesmeric menagerie of more than 14,000 Jurassic Park-tier exotic animals, including 30 different endangered species such as blackbuck antelope and Arabian oryx as well as giraffe, ostrich and cheetah. Guests can navigate the island’s wilds with safari experiences, nature walks, horse riding adventures and bike trails. There’s three Anantara resorts to choose from on the island, but for a luxurious beach escape, you’ll want to book the Anantara Al Yamm resort. This 30-key, all-villa sanctuary is designed to look like an Emirati fishing village, and invites guests to enjoy the likes of beach horse riding and snorkeling, as well as all other animal-tastic activities.
Anantara Al Yamm Resort, Sir Bani Yas, Abu Dhabi, rates from Dhs1,998. Tel: (0)2 801 4200, anantara.com
Anantara Al Sahel Resort
As close to an African safari as you’ll get in the UAE, Anantara Al Sahel Resort has 30 safari-style villas dotted among the plains of Sir Bani Yas Island. One of three Anantara resorts on this Abu Dhabi island, taking a dip in the plunge pool on your private deck at Anantara Al Sahel often means greeting neighbours such as peacocks, Arabian oryx or even a gazelle. Like at Anantara Al Yamm resort, guests checking-in to one of these private pool villas benefit from unrestricted access to the mesmerising Sir Bani Yas Royal Nature Reserve, home to 14,000 Jurassic Park-tier exotic animals. Guests can navigate the island’s wilds with safari experiences, nature walks, horse riding adventures and bike trails. There’s also the option to further upgrade your experience with myriad dining and leisure experiences to make the most of the incredible setting.
Anantara Al Sahel Resort, Sir Bani Yas, Abu Dhabi, rates from Dhs1,530. Tel: (0)2 801 4300, anantara.com
Anantara Qasr Al Sarab
Hidden among the sea of rolling, flame-orange dunes of the Empty Quarter, Anantara Qasr Al Sarab is one of the UAE’s best-loved Arabian escapes. A secluded desert oasis, there are 140 rooms, 14 suites and 52 pool villas on offer, all decorated with traditional arabesque touches with endless vistas out across the dunes. Separated from the main resort, the rooms are described as ‘secluded desert sanctuaries’, each with private pool, perfect for blissing out in a secluded sanctuary. While you’re here, embrace desert dwelling with an array of activities that include desert drives, camel trekking, horse riding and more.
Anantara Qasr Al Sarab, Liwa Desert, Abu Dhabi, pool villas from Dhs4,675. Tel: (02) 886 2088. anantara.com
Bab Al Nojoum, Bateen Liwa Resort
The newest addition to the hotel with private pool scene in Abu Dhabi is Bateen Liwa Resort, a new project from those grand dames of glamping, Bab Al Nojoum. Though the brand’s previous resorts have been built around tent, chalet and AirStream accommodation — this new development is comprised entirely of villas, with one, two and three bedroom options available, as well as the rather regal looking Royal Villas. Guests can expect the secluded luxury of private plunge pools right outside their villas, barbecues (and the option of chefs to come in and cook for you), an alfresco deck with comfortable lounge furniture, and fire pits for cosy evenings. In addition to the private villa plunge pools, you’re invited to relax in the central infinity pool with dreamy desert views; there’s fully functioning modern spa with a range of exotic treatments; a farm; date plantation; and there are facilities for community bonfires and stargazing.
Bab Al Nojoum Bateen Liwa Resort, Tal Mur’ib Road, Mzeer’ah, villas from Dhs689. Tel: (0)2 894 8888, babalnojoum.com
To reach the out-of-this-world Nurai Island, you’ll need to take a boat from the welcome centre on Saadiyat, and 20 minutes later you’ll land on this Maldives-inspired slice of paradise. Every single one of the guest rooms is a villa, and all come in breezy, contemporary shades, direct beach access, and a private swimming pool. They range in size from the romantic one bedroom beach villas, right up to the sprawling estates with space to sleep up to 15. You’ve got everything you could possibly want on-site: a pampering spa, collection of five fine and casual restaurants and bars, plus a breezy beach club perfect for soaking up the Abu Dhabi sun.
Nurai Island, Abu Dhabi, pool villas from Dhs2,700. Tel: (0)2 617 2222, nuraiisland.com
Club Prive by Rixos Saadiyat Island
A collection of premium deluxe rooms come with direct pool access at Rixos Premium Saadiyat Island, although this is only semi-private and shared with your neighbours. But if it’s your own private digs with a pool all to yourself, you’ll want to book one of the three- or four-bedroom villas at Club Prive by Rixos Saadiyat island, sitting pretty on the beachfront.
Club Prive by Rixos Saadiyat Island, Rixos Premium Saadiyat Island, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi, villas from 21,500. Tel: (02) 492 2222, rixos.com
Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi
Along the sun-drenched shores of Saadiyat Island, Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi sits on its own private stretch of sand, inviting guests to enjoy blissful relaxation on one of the world’s best beaches. There’s an untamed allure to this resort, which gives the feeling of remoteness despite its proximity to a string of restaurants and cultural attractions both on Saadiyat, and in the surrounding city. Within the extensive collection of 306 luxurious rooms and suites, there’s a collection of one-, two- and a three-bedroom royal villa, where next-level comforts include a large terrace fitted with a private plunge pool.
Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi, pool villas from Dhs4,230. Tel: (0)2 407 1234, hyatt.com
Saadiyat Rotana Resort & Villas
Few beaches in Abu Dhabi offer the impossibly sugary sands and crystalline waters of Saadiyat Island. The one- and two-bedroom beach villas comes with a sea-facing plunge pool, contemporary furnishings and an array of modern amenities that make each abode feel like a chic beach house. If you can tear yourself away from your private digs, be sure to explore the resort’s culinary array, which includes a choice of seven restaurants and bars including Italian restaurant, Si; the upscale grill and rooftop bar, Turtle Bay; and lively sports bar, Hamilton’s Gastropub. The leisure facilities are outstanding too: work up a sweat in Bodylines Fitness Club, find solace at Zen the spa at Rotana offering Turkish and Moroccan Hammam and 10 treatment rooms, or make the most of the outdoor pool, tennis court, padel courts, football pitch and mini golf.
Saadiyat Rotana Resort & Villas, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi, pool villas from Dhs4,650. Tel: (0)2 697 0000. rotana.com/saadiyatrotanaresortandvillas
Al Habtoor Polo Resort
For big group getaways, the grounds of the Al Habtoor Polo Resort feature 25 luxurious four bedroom Royal Villas, finished with Egyptian cotton sheets, freshly plumped pillows, rain showers and their own private pool, many of which overlook the manicured polo lawns. All four bedrooms come with private en-suites, and communal spaces include a living area, dining deck and built-in BBQ pit. Should you wish to tear yourself away from the comforts of your private digs, there’s dining to enjoy at The Grill Pit, an Argentinian-inspired grill; casual pub Horse & Hound; plus Mediterranean fare at Andalusia.
Al Habtoor Polo Resort, Wadi Al Safa 5, Emirates Road 611, pool villas from Dhs4,050. Tel: (0)4 435 4444, habtoorpoloresort.com
Al Maha, A Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa
One of the most luxurious staycations in the UAE, Al Maha is the resort to book for a special occasion. Roughly a 45-minute drive out of Dubai, Al Maha’s 42 Bedouin-inspired villas are dotted throughout the dunes, each offering an aesthetic inspired by its surroundings, as well as a secluded outdoor deck, where you’ll find a temperature-controlled pool. Regular Bedouin suites come with one bedroom, while the Royal and Emirates suites have two, and the Presidential suite houses three grand bedrooms. At Al Maha, you’ll also find a rooftop bar perfect for stargazing, an a la carte restaurant and an instantly-relaxing spa. Activities on offer include archery, desert drives and nature walks.
Al Maha, Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, from Dhs3,660. Tel: (04) 832 9900, marriott.com
Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort
Anantara The Palm is one of Dubai’s most beloved staycation spots, thanks to its huge, lagoon-sized swimming pool, impressive collection of restaurants and serene Anantara Spa. But if you’re looking for a little more privacy than what comes with the regular collection of guest rooms and lagoon-facing suites, you’ll want to book one of their one- or two-bedroom villas, that each come with a private pool. The team are on-hand to make your experience even more memorable by organising a floating in-villa breakfast, or Anantara’s signature Dining by Design, where you’ll enjoy a private dinner on the golden beachfront.
Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort, East Crescent, Palm Jumeirah, pool villas from Dhs5,460. Tel: (0)4 567 8888, anantara.com
Anantara World Islands Dubai Resort
Thai-born luxury hotel brand Anantara has opened a private island resort on the most southernly of the World Islands. The first hotel to open within the incredible archipelago, it features a collection of 70 one-, two- and four-bedroom villas, many of which come with private pools. On the city-facing side are one-bedroom garden pool villas, on the opposite side of the island, you’ll find one- and two-bedroom villas with direct beach access, facing the rest of the World Islands. There’s also a collection of rooms and suites that come with small pools out on the terrace or garden. There’s a rustic, barefoot luxury feel about all of the central areas: palm trees surround the swimming pool, a growing garden spills down to the beach, there’s even a wooden swing in the water on either side of the island.
Anantara World Islands Dubai Resort, South America, World Islands, pool rooms from Dhs2,478. Tel: (0)4 567 8777, anantara.com
Atlantis The Royal
When the 43-storey Atlantis The Royal resort opened earlier this year, it brought with it an array of luxurious hotel rooms with private pools. Among the jaw-dropping array of next-level pads, guests at this ultra-luxury address can check-in to a Sky Pool Villa, which comes with glass-walled infinity pool, a dining table to seat six, and a butler on hand to cater to your every need. Looking to live the ultimate Atlantis The Royal experience? Then you’ll want to check-in to one of the bespoke penthouses, ranging from the humble two-floor skyscape penthouse, to the regal four-bedroom royal penthouse – a two-floor, four-bedroom stay of splendour with spellbinding city vistas.
Atlantis The Royal, Palm Jumeirah, Sky pool villas from Dhs11,515. Tel: (0)4 426 0000, atlantis.com
Bvlgari Resort Dubai
The ultra-luxury Bulgari fashion house continued the expansion of its hospitality empire with the arrival of Bvlgari Resort Dubai in 2017. Alongside a collection of rooms and suites finished with stylish Bvlgari touches, the resort boasts a collection of one-, two-, and three-bedroom villas, all of which come with private pools. Villas face either the beach or city skyline, and for group getaways they have the option to be grouped together to form a bigger, super-chic pad. While staying at the resort, don’t miss the opportunity to daycation at the nautically inspired Bvlgari Yacht Club, or enjoy a dazzling dining experience at nine-seater Japanese restaurant, Hōseki.
Bvlgari Resort Dubai, Jumeira Bay Island, Jumeira 2, villa prices on request. Tel: (0)4 777 5555, bulgarihotels.com
FIVE Jumeirah Village
With its collection of more than 250 swimming pools, FIVE Jumeirah Village is an architectural icon in Dubai’s hotel scene. All of the two- and four-bedroom hotel apartments come with a private swimming pool, while one-bedroom options have either their own jacuzzi or private swimming pool. This is the hotel to book for splitting your time between partying and soaking up the views from your private pool: a regular roster of events happen at the main social pool, as well as popular restaurants Soul Street and Trattoria by Cinque.
FIVE Jumeirah Village, Jumeirah Village Circle, private pool villas from Dhs1,620. Tel: (0)4 248 9999, jumeirahvillage.fivehotelsandresorts.com
FIVE Palm Jumeirah
This luxe party pad may be globally renowned for its beach raves and swanky rooftop soirees, but did you know it’s also home to a collection of suites and villas all with private pools? Checking-in to one of FIVE Palm Jumeirah’s two-bedroom suites means skyline views and your own swimming pool, while the four-bedroom duplex suite is an expansive spot for a large group getaway backdropped by the beach. For the ultimate FIVE Palm Jumeirah experience, you’ll want to book one of the four-bedroom villas that line either side of the hotel, offering almost direct beach access, plenty of space for you and your mates, and your own private swimming pool perfect for making a splash at.
FIVE Palm Jumeirah, Palm West Beach, pool suites from 5,220. Tel: (0)4 455 9999, palmjumeirah.fivehotelsandresorts.com
JA Lake View
The UAE’s largest experience resort, JA The Resort, got even better last year with the unveiling of chic and contemporary suite enhancements at JA Lake View Hotel. Perfect for an elevated stay, JA Lake View Hotel’s collection of one-bedroom suites now come with private pools and two-bedroom abodes have been fitted with a bubbling Jacuzzi out on the terrace. In the one-bedroom suites, guests can enjoy a floating breakfast in the private pool, or an afternoon of tan-topping on the deck that overlooks the 9-hole championship golf course. In a two-bedroom suite, gather friends or loved ones for a sunset dip in the jacuzzi, then enjoy dinner served on your terrace while you gaze out over the greenery.
JA The Resort, Jebel Ali, Dubai, pool suites from Dhs2,475. Tel: (0)4 814 5500, jaresortshotels.com
Jumeirah Dar Al Masyaf
The newly upgraded Malakiya Villas at Jumeirah Dar Al Masyaf are now arguably some of Dubai’s grandest and most sumptuous addresses for a luxury stay. During a year-long remodelling, the interiors have been given a contemporary refresh, while still retaining the striking Arabesque design. The spacious interiors are bathed in natural light, enhanced with neutral furnishings, and offer picturesque views of the serene waterways and surrounding gardens. Reached via a traditional wooden abra, the two- and three-bedroom Malakiya Villas all come with a plunge pool, expansive private terrace, kitchen and access to Madinat Jumeirah’s 2km private beach and array of pools. Guests checking-in here also benefit from a dedicated team of private butlers, on hand to fulfill guests’ every whim.
Malakiya Villas, Jumeirah Dar Al Masyaf, Madinat Jumeirah, villas from Dhs40,000. Tel: (800) 3232, jumeirah.com
Melia Desert Palm
Set a 20-minute drive out of the city, Melia Desert Palm is set overlooking a 160-acre polo estate, and feels worlds away from the skyscraping skylines of Dubai Marina or Downtown Dubai. A contemporary, family-friendly resort, there’s both one- and two-bedroom villas with private pools, and some even directly overlook the polo fields. All of the villas offer expansive outdoor space, with sun loungers at the poolside and shaded cabanas or swinging seats, each beautifully landscaped in lush gardens.
Melia Desert Palm, Al Awir Road, pool villas from Dhs2,180. Tel: (0)4 323 8888, melia.com
Nikki Beach Resort & Spa
With whitewashed interiors, floor to ceiling windows that lead to a deck filled with alfresco seating, a plush cabana and a private pool, Nikki Beach Resort & Spa’s private villas were designed with play-cations in mind. There’s both one- and two-bedroom options, although there’s plenty of space to invite your crew over for soiree’s on the sand: all the villas open up directly onto the beach. You benefit from full access to the resort’s impressive facilities, including the relaxing spa, infinity pool and signature restaurant, Cafe Nikki. And no trip is complete without a visit to the beach club next door, where celebrating life is the motto for themed events every day of the week.
Nikki Beach Resort & Spa, Pearl Jumeira, pool villas from Dhs6,750. Tel: dubai.nikkibeach.com
Raffles The Palm
This instantly recognisable pretty peach palace on the Palm Jumeirah is home to some of the city’s most spacious – and grandest – rooms in Dubai. But as well as the array of rooms in the main building, the grounds are lined with a collection of private villas, each an eight-bedroom mini-mansion with space to sleep up to 8. The crowning feature of these grand addresses isn’t the full spa with hammam, nor is it the 24-hour butler service, it’s the rooftop swimming pool that offers guests the ultimate spot for tan topping and relaxation with views that stretch across the fronds.
Raffles The Palm, Palm Jumeirah, villas from 29,750. Tel: (0)4 248 8888, raffles.com/thepalm-dubai
Sofitel Dubai The Palm
At this Polynesian-inspired paradise on the Palm Jumeirah, the array of rooms and suites is complimented by a duo of private villas, both of which come with their own swimming pool. Spread across 3,700 square feet, the Beach Villa sleeps up to six adults and one child across three bedrooms, and offers direct beach access, a rooftop terrace with stretching city views, and its own private swimming pool and jacuzzi. Looking to upgrade your stay even further? A Lodge Villa ranges in size between 7,000 and 8,000 square feet, with soaring architecture and French provençal décor fused with Arabian hospitality, these three addresses are a lesson in unparalleled staycationing. The two-floor lodge villas each have three bedrooms and two entertainment rooms, an airy dining room, private pool, Jacuzzi and sundeck, and a rooftop terrace. You’ll never need to leave.
Sofitel Dubai The Palm, East Crescent, Palm Jumeirah, price on request. Tel: (0)4 455 6677, sofitel-dubai-thepalm.com
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Mövenpick Resort Al Marjan Island
Mövenpick’s new Ras Al Khaimah beach resort might be just what you’re looking for if you’re dreaming of a fun-filled family getaway that’s close to home. Featuring no less than three pool and six bars and restaurants, Mövenpick Resort Al Marjan Island is now welcoming guests and is sure to be a hit with staycationers. The 418 guestrooms range from entry level deluxe rooms with sea or beach views to family rooms and suites with terraces. Then there’s a collection of beachfront suites that come with private pools, with one- and two-bedroom options, plus big groups can combine four beachfront suites into one huge Al Marjan Beachfront Chalet, with four double bedrooms and two private pools.
Mövenpick Resort Al Marjan Island, Ras Al Khaimah, pool rooms start from Dhs2,700. Tel: (0)7 246 0000, movenpick.com
The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert
The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert is set among the beauty of a 1,235-acre protected desert reserve. Experience tranquility, picturesque scenery and rich culture in the Bedouin-styled villas, which come with private pools and decks, lounge areas and breathtaking desert views. For the adventurous traveller, book a desert camel trek, a private archery lesson or bird-watching session, or just head out on a nature walk and soak in the surroundings. The desert resort boasts five dining venues including the dreamy desert Sonara Camp, farm-to-table Farmhouse, all-day dining at Kaheela, the open-sky Moon Bar and the relaxed Moorish lounge.
The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert, Wadi Khadija, Ras Al Khaimah, from Dhs2,133. Tel: (07) 206 7777. ritzcarlton.com
The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Hamra Beach
Few places in the UAE really offer supreme privacy quite like The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Hamra Beach. Made up of 32 exclusive private villas with private pools, the boutique hotel is the kind of spot where you can just hideaway in the comforts of your villa all weekend long. The villas are inspired by bedouin tents – if bedouins had impeccable taste and were partial to chic monochrome furniture. The outdoor space is seriously wow, with a private pool, outdoor shower and bath tub, as well as a long path leading towards the beach, and a sundeck at the end to watch the sunset. There’s just one on-site restaurant, Shore House, a nautical themed all-day diner, but it serves a wealth of tasty international dishes. You can always order room service too, which can arrive on a floating tray to enjoy in the comforts of your pool.
The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah Al Hamra Beach, Vienna Street, Ras Al Khaimah, from Dhs2,133. Tel: (0)7 204 8888. ritzcarlton.com
The Cove Rotana Resort
The most affordable hotel with private pool in Ras Al Khaimah is the Cove Rotana, set within its own peaceful inlet on a hillside that leads down to the white sandy beach. The 349 stylish rooms are all arranged to look like an Arabian village, and among them you’ll find a collection of 43 private villas with one-, two-, or three-bedrooms, ideally for big group getaways. Each comes with all the modern amenities you’d expect, separate living spaces, and some even offer their own private pools. For dining, there’s a choice of seven culinary experiences from the chilled-out pool bar and sunset cafe, to the all-day dining restaurant, Cinnamon; and signature Mediterranean restaurant, Basilico. While you may be content splashing around in your private pool, you’ll also have access to two infinity pools, a private beach and a spa with four treatment rooms.
The Cove Rotana, Al Dhaith South, Ras Al Khaimah, villas from Dhs1,317. Tel: (0)7 206 6000, rotana.com
InterContinental Ras Al Khaimah Resort & Spa
This InterContinental resort is an idyllic island escape perched right on the beachfront of Hayat Island. For the ultimate luxe staycation, you can book one of the private villas spread over 150 square metres of space complete with separate living and dining quarters, and a private pool that opens directly up onto the white sandy beach. Elsewhere, you’ll find a collection of six new restaurants, each drawing inspiration from the surrounding mountains, desert and sea; a five-star spa equipped with a spacious Turkish Hammam; and a duo of kids’ clubs, Planet Trekkers and Teens Club.
InterContinental Ras Al Khaimah Resort & Spa, Hayat Island, Ras Al Khaimah, villas from Dhs2,144. icrasalkhaimah.com
Mysk Kingfisher Retreat
Located on the remote east coast of Sharjah, this eco retreat feels worlds away from the city. You will arrive via a private boat to this luxurious retreat, that’s somewhere between luxurious glamping and a rustic-luxe hotel. Whichever one of the 20 private tents you check-in to will come with its own private pool with amazing views of either the Indian Ocean or the mountains. Be prepared to spot birds, gazelles, turtles, crabs and more during your retreat. Pick from either a one-bedroom tent, two-bedroom tent or five-bedroom tent depending on the size of your crew. The barefoot-luxe resort is also home to a restaurant and a spa.
Mysk Kingfisher Retreat, Khor Kalba, Sharjah, rates from Dhs1,384. Tel: (0)4 437 6460. myskhotels.com
Mysk Al Badayer Retreat
This retreat offers up a choice of rooms and tents to suit all budgets and is a perfect staycation spot if what you’re looking for is adventure, serenity and a dose of Emirati culture. At the top end of the room categories at this eco-minded desert resort, are a collection of 7 one bedroom private tents with a pool and three two bedrooms private tents with a pool. The resort also offers customised desert experiences such as dune bashing, quad biking, horse riding, and desert safaris.
Mysk Al Badayer Retreat, Al Badayer Oasis, Sharjah, private pool tents from Dhs2,020. Tel: (06) 556 0777. myskhotels.com