From a staycation in a caravan to a 100 per cent sustainable hotel…
It’s September, which means summer is nearly over, but it also marks the reopening of schools, and for those of you who work – it’s likely to be fullspeed ahead’ at the office. So what you need is a staycation – a perfect opportunity to relax and rewind close to home without breaking the bank.
We’ve rounded up a list of seven hotels you should consider booking that are outside of Abu Dhabi, and offer something a little bit different.
1. Barracuda Beach Resort at Umm Al Quwain
Good for big groups, or families with pets
Though you might have stayed at this popular resort in Umm Al Quwain before, it’s recently undergone some refurbishments. The resort now has an infinity pool and a swim-up bar, and the accommodation has undergone some contemporary upgrades. Opt for one of the guest rooms if you’re looking for a weekend away with the family, but if your party is large, the villas are a perfect choice and come with a spacious balcony, and private lawn and you can even bring your pet along with you. Head to Thunder Road if you’re craving Italian or juicy steaks and giant burgers, or Aquarius, the all-day dining restaurant that offers Mediterranean, Asian and Arabic dishes. If you want a few thrills, be sure to head next door to Dreamland Aqua Park.
Barracuda Beach Resort, Khor Al Baida, Umm Al Quwain, prices start from Dhs387 per night, Tel: (06) 768 1555, barracuda.ae
2. Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2) in Dubai
Good for a slice of history, side of culture and sprinkle of traditional charm
There’s no shortage of hotels in Dubai, and deciding on one is tasking. Even if unique is what you’re looking for, there’s still plenty to choose from. However, the Queen Elizabeth 2 is the only floating hotel in Dubai, which sets it aside from the rest. Docked permanently at Dubai’s Mina Rashid, the QE2 rooms come with porthole windows for guests to peer out onto the Arabian Gulf or Downtown skyline, and some even come with balconies. There are nine dining options on board to refuel, and you can burn off the calories at the original indoor pool or at the gym which features a selection of cardio equipment by TechnoGym as well as free weights, mats and others. Want a dose of entertainment? Attend a show at the Theatre by QE2, or if it’s culture you’re after – there’s a QE2 museum on board with books from the original ships library and artefacts. Culture vultures are encouraged to book a heritage tour with Peter, and be guided around the ship as you enjoy tales of its glory days.
QE2 Dubai, Mina Rashid, Dubai, prices start from Dhs320 per night, Tel: (04) 526 8888, qe2.com
3. Caravana Alzorah in Ajman
Good if you’re looking for something unusual
We all love a good staycation, but if you’re on the lookout for something different and unique, check out Caravana Alzorah where you and your mates will get to spend the night in a fully-equipped caravan right on the beach. Located in Ajman, the caravans are fitted with air conditioning, bathrooms, and depending on your booking, come with bunk beds, sofa beds, or double beds. The best bit? Each caravan comes with it’s own private beach area, your very own front yard and a barbecue area. There’s also fishing and cycling available within close proximity to the camping site.
Caravana Alzorah, Ajman, prices start from Dhs1,125 per night, Tel: (06) 749 0441, instagram.com/caravana.ae
4. Telal Resort in Al Ain
Good if you love nature
Telal Resort Al Ain is a traditional bedouin-style, 5-star holistic desert resort. The resort is nestled in the heart of a natural oasis on the outskirts of Al Ain and it overlooks a natural conservation of rare plants with desert gazelles and other wildlife. The villas here are designed like tents and boast breathtaking views of the desert while the rooms feature modern architecture and Arabesque décor. Continue the Arabian experience by tucking into gourmet international cuisine with a dash of local and Middle Eastern flair at the all-day dining restaurant, Desert Gate or savour traditional Emirati dishes at Khattar Café and Restaurant. There’s a wide range of entertainment activities available such as desert safari, archery, sand boarding, camel and horse riding and more to keep you entertained.
Telal Resort, Remah, Al Ain, prices start from Dhs363 per night, Tel: (03) 702 0000, telalresort.ae
5. Al Bait Sharjah
Good if you support sustainability
The glorious Al Bait is situated within the region’s largest historical preservation and restoration project, and reflects decades of Emirati heritage. Aside from being of the most unassuming luxury hotels in the country, it’s also one of the most environmentally conscious. You won’t find any plastic at this hotel as it is 100 per cent plastic free. It uses sustainable alternatives like steel, glass straws and water bottles and biodegradable garbage bags. The water here, be it sparkling and still, is also produced by the property and is infused with nourishing minerals. Carbon footprint is also reduced by the hotel as it works on motion sensors which helps save energy. The hotel also works on a zero waste policy, so the organic and non-organic food is transformed to compost which maintains the property’s landscaping. Any plastic or cardboard left behind by guests are also recycled by the hotel. Great work Al Bait, we hope other hotels will soon follow suit.
Al Bait, Al Mareija, Sharjah, prices start from Dhs889 per night, Tel: (06) 502 5555 ghmhotels.com/en/al-bait-sharjah
6. Fairmont Fujairah Beach Resort
Good for couples and if you love art
The Fairmont Fujairah Beach Resort is nestled among the hidden valleys of the majestic Al Hajar Mountains along the coastal region of Dibba. This luxury resort is lauded for its natural beauty, but it doesn’t stop at just its location. The hotel is also a showcase of art pieces from around the globe and the interiors – a juxtaposition of modern bohemian meets art-deco infused with arabesque touches. Enjoy the romantic panoramic views of the Gulf of Oman and mountainous landscape with your loved one and if you’re in need a touch of excitement, the hotel offers hiking, water sports, aquatic adventures. Want to relax? Hang out by the pool or indulge in a couples treatment at the spa.
Fairmont Fujairah Beach Resort, Mina Al Fajer, Dibba, Fujairah, prices start from Dhs587 per night, Tel: (09) 204 1111, fairmont.com/fujairah
7. The Ritz-Carlton Al Wadi Desert Ras Al Khaimah
Good if you want seclusion and love nature and culture
The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert is a beauty of nature and culture amid the beauty of a 1,235-acre protected preserve. Experience tranquility, picturesque scenery and rich culture in the bedouin-styled villas which come with private pools and decks, lounge areas, luxurious bathrooms with floor-to-ceiling windows and desert views. You can even learn to desert trek on a camel or horseback, or get a privacy archery lesson, go for bird watching, take a nature walk and much more. During the evening, you can take in the stunning desert views while stargazing. There are four dining venues including the farm-to-table Farmhouse, all-day dining at Kaheela, the open-sky Moon Bar and the relaxed Moorish lounge.
The Ritz-Carlton Al Wadi Desert, Wadi Khadija, Ras Al Khaimah, prices start from Dhs2883 per night, Tel: (07) 206 7777, ritzcarlton.com