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Set on the island haven of Sir Bani Yas, just off the coast of Abu Dhabi lies an enchanting property – Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara. We truly experienced an unforgettable exotic island getaway and explored majestic hilltops created between five and ten million years ago and discovered diverse wildlife inhabiting this unique offshore island retreat which is now accessible by scheduled a regional jet service from Abu Dhabi's Al Bateen Executive Airport or by driving yourself.
THE CULINARY EXPERIENCE
Experience cuisine from all parts of the world when you break your fast at any of the many eateries at Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara. Our favourite dining spot was Amwaj which offers a delicious tapas style menu. The best time to visit this rustic eatery is at sun set when the gorgeous sea views should not to be missed. We sat back in cosy over-sized chairs indoors and listened to chilled-out lounge beats as we browsed through the extensive tapas-style menu. The baked creamy goat's cheese and tart fig bruschetta topped with caramelised onions is a great appetiser and will just melt in your mouth while the warm seared scallops tossed in a tangy black bean sauce are the perfect choice, if it's seafood you crave for your suhoor ot iftar. For a sugar rush after a full day of fasting, we reccommend the warm fondant and the homemade ice-creams and sorbets. Be sure to visit Samak, The Palm and Al Shams during your stay too. Enjoy a tapas style menu for your iftar in a contemporary rustic setting beachside at the Watersports Centre. Cosy, oversized chairs and sofas on the terrace create a relaxed living room feel, enhanced by lounge music. The cuisine celebrates vibrant world flavours and tempting land and sea ingredients. Savour daily specials, Arabic tasters and Asian plates, followed by signature homemade ice cream creations, with a breathtaking sea view.
We stayed in a Deluxe Garden Room which boasted of terracotta flooring, marble bath fixtures, hardwood furnishings and a contemporary Arabic design. While the rooms may not be as modern as you would find in a city hotel, our room came with a flat-screen TV, access to a DVD library, a rain shower and amazing Anantara bathroom amenities. We especially loved the fact that we had our own private terrace which was just steps away from the infinity-edge swimming pool's lush tropical island gardens.
While we were very tempted to try several of the tailor-made excursions and activities at this property, we only had time for one and decided to go on an hour long nature and wildlife drive where we saw near-extinct Arabian oryxes, wild gazelles, giraffes, cheetah and beautiful peacocks and ostriches – a unique experience indeed. Other activities that come highly recommended are the guided game walks, snorkelling, archery, horseback riding, mountain biking and even an archaeological site tour.
THE POOL & SPA
An immediate sense of calm came over us as we swam in the Desert Islands Resort & Spa's beautiful infinity pool overlooking the ocean. We even took a nap as we lay on a sun bed listening to the crashing of the waves and birds chirping. However, this was just a prelude to the real relaxation we were seeking at the luxurious Anantara Spa. My friend and I tried the 90-minute Signature Massage which began with a floral foot ritual followed by a stimulating massage which improved our blood circulation and restored the flow of energy. It was the perfect way to end our day!
Deluxe Sea View rooms start from Dhs1,088, Deluxe Garden View rooms start from Dhs1,288, Premier Sea View rooms start from Dhs1,588 and a One Bedroom Anantara Pool Villa starts from Dhs3,588. All rates are excluding taxes.
United Arab Emirates
Tel: +971 2 801 5400