Be it a secluded beach break a short flight away or a luxury staycation just down the road, make the most of the down-time Eid has to offer with these cherry-picked hotels perfectly positioned to offer UAE travellers an unforgettable escape
JA Enchanted Island Resort, Seychelles
Those with a love for lush tropical landscapes, crystalline blue water and the occasional tropical rainfall will undoubtedly find their sanctuary in the Seychelles this Eid. It’s an obvious destination for honeymooners – the majority of its five-star resorts tick all the appropriate boxes, including private villas, plunge pools and candlelit dinners – but there’s more than meets the eye in some spots, where privacy and relaxation straddle a dose of exploration and adventure, and the JA Enchanted Island Resort is one such place. Enchanted Island sits in the midst of azure seas and is nestled within the Sainte Anne National Marine Park. Entirely private and only accessible via a 15-minute speedboat journey from the Seychelles’ main island, Mahé, it’s a tranquil and almost entirely hidden retreat (you’ll be hard pressed to see the resort’s architecture through its paradisiacal flora until just metres away), that comprises of just 10 villas – each with a private plunge pool and extensive sea views. A narrow path meanders up from the jetty and is framed by a medley of lush green vegetation and fragrant flowers – whether you find yourself in a villa that’s closest or farthest from the jetty, it’s no more than a 10-minute walk around the charming island.
Villas are based on traditional chalet-style Creole architecture and are all generously sized, replete with both a living and bedroom area. The dark tropical wood makes them feel warm and homely – they’re especially cosy when the heavens open and the only choice is to hunker down on the marshmallow-soft king-size with a good book (rain showers are an intermittent occurrence across all the islands in the Seychelles). High notes include the alfresco shower and lavish bathtub, both overlooking the ocean, and the private infinity pool, which is perfectly poised above lush greenery. Immersing yourself in its cool waters and listening to the sounds of the sea and the island’s wildlife is meditative, to say the least.
When the desire to explore kicks in, grab one of Enchanted’s kayaks or snorkels and adventure across to neighbouring Moyenne Island, a natural sanctuary for giant tortoises. Similarly, at low tide you can walk across a sandbar to the beaches on nearby Long Island, where you’ll most likely be the only dwellers for the afternoon. Catamaran cruises can be arranged, as can private day trips to the demure islands of Praslin and La Digue. In lazier moments, the resort’s spa is on speed dial and offers an array of massages and treatments in three sea-view pavilions. For breakfast, lunch and dinner, either dine on your private terrace or meander down to the resort’s open-air Bounty restaurant. Fresh fruit and array of eggs can be followed by fluffy homemade pancakes for breakfast; come lunchtime opt for the freshly caught fish; while dinner is best left for the Creole-style dishes and perfectly spiced island curries. It’s hard to imagine quite how magical life upon Enchanted Island can be, but spend just one night underneath its midnight sky littered with infinite stars and you’ll never want your Eid break to end. Book your Eid escape here.
The Residence, Zanzibar
Nestled deep in the heart of what was once just bush and mangroves, The Residence Zanzibar is a tropical haven of palatial villas and lavish dining that makes for the dream Eid escape. April and May mark one of the best times to visit too, boasting a sunny, dry climate and temperatures averaging around 29C – perfect for making the most of the island’s white sandy beaches and clear azure waters. The Residence is a place where the stunning infinity pool pours directly into the Indian Ocean, where luxury ocean view villas house private pools and where monkeys play in the palm trees that line the water below. Each villa comes complete with its own personal bicycle – perfect for riding down to the jetty to watch the sun set over the sparkling sea. Elsewhere, its Ila Spa has six pavilions nestled among two hectares of beautiful gardens, with each room leading directly onto a private garden with outdoor shower, bath tub and relaxation area. When it comes to cuisine, expect a combination of Indian, Arabic and Mediterranean dishes in picture-perfect settings. Exclusive to GCC travellers, its three-night package inclusive of half-board meals, rental of snorkelling gear and complimentary return airport transfer is the icing on the cake. Book your Eid escape here.
Qasr Al Sarab, Abu Dhabi
Perhaps the most renowned desert escape in the emirates – and for good reason – Qasr al Sarab’s Bedouin-inspired haven is set among spellbinding rolling dunes that promise views of incredible sunsets from every angle. From its palm-lined, oasis-style swimming pool to its Anantara spa, no detail is overlooked when it comes to the ultimate in luxury lounging. Feeling indulgent? Book into a private villa complete with its own plunge pool overlooking the sands and enjoy the mystic desert charm of Abu Dhabi’s Empty Quarter in complete tranquillity. The hotel’s best flexible rates are available over the Eid break, making this luxury escape perfect for those not wanting to get on a flight right now. Book your Eid escape here.
Amanwella, Sri Lanka
While travel in Sri Lanka may look slightly different to before, the country’s concept of bio bubbles lets visitors enjoy the myriad experiences the country has to offer, albeit without mixing with the local population, all while enjoying its level-one-approved hotels – our favourite being the beautiful boutique beauty, Amanwella. Set beside an 800m sweep of silky sand, this luxury bolthole near the seaside town of Tangalle has everything you need for a relaxing yet immersive break. The scene is set by the palms that tower over the iconic 150-foot swimming pool and the stillness of the sun-warmed sea, the rainbow reefs, and the hillside spa suite that is the goto place for an afternoon of indulgence. There are also two nearby national parks offering the opportunity to submerge yourself in nature and discover the country’s extraordinary wildlife, from the wild elephants of Udawalawe to the leopards of Yala, home to the world’s largest concentration of the elusive big cat. And that’s all just a four-hour flight from Dubai. Book your Eid escape here.
Soneva Fushi, Maldives
A popular destination for UAE dwellers looking for pure white sands, crystal waters and luxury resorts offering privacy in spades, it doesn’t get much better than the Maldives. Soneva Fushi, the private island getaway on unspoilt Kunfunadhoo, is offering 20 per cent discount on the room rate and US$250 resort credit for guests travelling over Eid, which can be used on everything from snorkelling and diving, to the outdoor Cinema Paradiso, dolphin cruises and the resort’s tranquil Six Senses spa, which offers some of the most heavenly massages on the archipelago. With 63 eco-chic beachfront villas and eight water retreats ranging in size from one to nine bedrooms, this is one for all the family to enjoy. Note that there’s no communal pool on the island, so make sure you splash out on a villa with a private seawater pool. The discount is available from 10 May – 17 December 2021. Book your Eid escape here.
Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi
The arrival at Emirates Palace is like no other hotel. At a kilometre long and featuring the biggest dome-shaped roof in the world, its grandeur and scale famously surpasses that of England’s Buckingham Palace. Coupled with its location – adjacent to the majestic Qasr al Watan Palace – it’s at once impressive but surprisingly homely. Guests are met by the palace’s unassuming and discreet staff, who escort you to your suite. The route you take, whether situated in the east or west wing – passing under the fabled dome and enveloped by 6,000 square metres of 22-carat gold leaf decorating the walls and ceiling – is a real joy. Check-in to a Khaleej suite, where you’ll awake to views of the Arabian Gulf and the palace’s marina.
The space sprawls across a living room and a bedroom replete with a walk-in closet and a bathroom as lavish as you’d expect (think floor-to-ceiling marble, Jacuzzi, his-and-hers basins and an oversized shower). Slide out of your deliciously soft king-size and step onto your balcony, hot espresso in hand, before embarking on a journey back through the gilded hallways to breakfast. The selection includes anything from fresh berries and smoothies for the health-conscious, to generous portions of eggs and pastries for those willing to indulge (we recommend the latter).
The day is then spent in either a private cabana overlooking the ocean, or poolside, where cool water, lush green grass and a children’s adventure pool are perfect for whiling away the hours. Alternatively, for next-level-luxury book into the spa, where mosaic-style interiors and lush relaxation areas transport you to Morocco’s haute-bohemian heyday. Signature treatments include a 150-minute hammam and a whopping five-and-a-half hour Day Of Gold. For something slightly more modest, opt for the signature massages and facials – still entirely lavish and a real treat for the senses.
Come nightfall, BBQ Al Qasr is a fine-dining experience set beneath the stars with a menu featuring beautifully barbecued meat and seafood dishes. Go for the grilled lobster, short ribs or Chilean sea bass and end with the soft and creamy blueberry cheesecake replete with coconut and charcoal ice-cream. Alternatively, try Martabaan, where the set menu will whisk you away on an exotic culinary journey through India. During Ramadan, guests can enjoy an overnight stay, iftar experience for two, private suhoor and a late checkout, starting from AED1,580. Book your escape here.
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