If you’re not travelling this Eid al-Adha holiday at least staycation somewhere nice. The weather maybe hot, but the spa, food and swimming pools at these luxury resorts will ensure you have a weekend to remember.
JUMEIRAH AT SAADIYAT ISLAND
The white sand beaches and rustic sand dunes of Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi offer residents of the UAE a new perspective on a weekend at the beach. More used to flawless man-made beaches, just the hint of something au naturel can give us the greatest of pleasure, and the shabby-chic feel of Saadiyat Island’s nine kilometre stretch, dotted with real, wild grass will do just that.
Home to a number of luxury hotel brands, the latest to join Saadiyat Island’s line-up is homegrown. Opened in December 2018, the Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort offers bright and airy accommodation in a contemporary build. Think open spaces, high ceilings and marine-inspired design elements. Rooms are finished in fresh white and natural wood, each with substantial outdoor space from which to watch the spectacular sunset. But it isn’t in your room where you’ll spend your time. The resort has three swimming pools, five restaurants and a natural beach lined with sunbeds and cabanas where you can while away your days in complete relaxation, waited on hand-and-foot by the attentive staff.
As ever, the pièce de résistance in any Middle Eastern hotel is the spa, and this resort is home to 2,700sqm of wellness facilities. Saunas, hydrotherapy pools, a Moroccan hammam, steam and salt room will work hard to send you home a newer, better version of yourself. Jumeirah.com/Abu_Dhabi/Saadiyat
ANANTARA THE PALM
There are few cities in the world that offer staycations where you feel a million miles away from home, just mere minutes down the road. In the UAE we are spoilt for choice, but only a small number of resorts offer the same sense of escape as Anantara The Palm. A short drive along the east crescent takes you to this slice of paradise, complete with overwater villas, swim-up rooms and a private beach that will ensure you can truly escape from the fast pace of city life. Whether checking in for a daycation, staycation or spa day, the resort is the closest you can get to a trip to the Maldives without jumping on a plane. Anantara.com
THE RETREAT PALM DUBAI
If you’re looking to balance mind, body and spirit this Eid holiday, head to The Retreat Palm Dubai. The first resort of its kind in the region, the 360-degree holistic wellness concept perches on Palm Jumeirah’s east crescent, and has been designed with a Feng Shui philosophy throughout. Earth-toned décor, organic-based products and natural elements are at the core of the 255-room resort, all carefully selected to enhance serenity and comfort. Rooms are spacious and calming, with panoramic views to immerse guests into their wellness journey.
Home to the world’s first Rayya Wellness Centre, where experts endorsed by the Dubai Health Authority will guide you through every aspect of your wellness journey, this is a staycation with a difference. Here, you can restore mental and physical wellbeing with a range of holistic tailor-made programmes while taking time out.
The luxury spa offers everything from signature rituals and rejuvenating cryotherapy to detoxifying facials and traditional hammams – all personalised. Days begin with yoga and fitness experiences, followed by downtime relaxing by the infinity pool sipping on freshly-squeezed fruit and vegetable juices.
Active types are invited to grab a club and a bucket of biodegradable golf balls to practice their swing, seaside – using golf balls that only leave food for marine life, naturally. The location also features exceptional dining concepts that continue to promote healthy gastronomy, specialising in vegan and paleo dietary dishes. Dine at The Social Kitchen for a healthy selection of Levantine cuisine or at Vibe for a made-to-order meal by culinary experts. Theretreatpalmdubai.com
JUMEIRAH AL QASR, DUBAI
The palatial splendour of Jumeirah Al Qasr has just undergone a contemporary upgrade, offering this summer’s guests an even more luxurious stay in one of Dubai’s most iconic hotels. Combining opulent Arabic design with modern regional flourish, spacious rooms and suites are regal and elegant, boasting impossibly comfortable beds and an array of improved technical services – including a super efficient digital butler for every guest. With the largest acclimatised swimming pool in Dubai, a two-kilometre private beach, vast state-of-the-art gym, award-winning spa and infinite exquisite dining options across the resort, UAE residents also benefit from 20 per cent off best room rates throughout the summer – more than enough reasons to book a longer staycation than planned. Jumeirah.com
SHANGRI-LA QARYAT AL BERI, ABU DHABI
Grand palaces, mosques, and museums might make Abu Dhabi the happening cultural hotspot it is, but its long stretch of shoreline dotted with luxury hotels is an equally viable reason to flock to the UAE’s capital and experience its havens of tranquillity and escape. One such irresistible oasis offering the perfect sunshine getaway is the Shangri- La Qaryat Al Beri. Located on its very own pristine one-kilometre-long private beach, which just so happens to be one of the best places in Abu Dhabi for uninterrupted views of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, it’s all about beachfront luxury at this five-star hotel. From the chaise longue-bedecked beach to the breathtaking infinity pool with its buzzy atmosphere and umbrella’d dining spots, a day spent lazing by either is the ultimate in vacation goals. With 213 rooms and suites, six private villas and 160 serviced apartments all connected by a winding waterway, Abu Dhabi’s Shangri-La is quite the complex. Handily enough, the hotel offers traditional Arabic boats, known as abras, to tour guests around, dropping them off at the souk, where traditional inspired artefacts, paintings, jewellery and clothes can be perused. Shopping completed, happy hour beckons from the terrace of the VIP lounge where, sundowner in hand, guests can take in the hotel’s impressive architecture and fine Arabic décor as they watch the sun set over the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. A spot of dining at one of the seven outlets followed by an after-dinner stroll through the lush landscaped grounds is the perfect way to end a day well spent soaking up the sunshine. Shangri-la.com/abudhabi
JUMEIRAH AL WATHBA, ABU DHABI
Looking to escape the city and get back to nature? The recently opened Jumeirah Al Wathba Resort and Spa in Abu Dhabi has everything you need for some well-deserved time out from hectic city life. Surrounded by nothing but desert as far as the eye can see, the resort is a rabbit warren of traditional Arabian villas in sandy stone that houses 90 guest rooms, 13 villas, six restaurants, a swimming pool and 1,000sqm Talise Spa equipped with Hammam, saunas, jacuzzis and an extensive treatment menu – the perfect equation for complete rejuvenation and some serious downtime. Designed to feel like a small village, complete with alleyways that lead to stairways, that lead to rooftops, all contributing to the feeling of space and privacy.
Marketed as a spa hotel and weekend escape, for active types, an array of traditional Arabian activities are on the itinerary: fat bike riding, archery and a daily falcon show will keep the family entertained when not wallowing out of the heat of the desert sun in the temperature controlled swimming pool.A with most staycation destinations, the pool is where the majority of guests spend their days. Lined with shaded daybeds and loungers, and with uninterrupted views across the sand dunes, it’s also the perfect spot to watch the sunset.
At night, the focus turns to the romantic dining spot of Terra Secca, where you will feast on handmade pasta dishes, fresh burrata cheese and oven-fired pizza in an intimate setting. Turning out to be a popular spot with Abu Dhabi locals, be sure to book in advance to secure a table. Good food, peace and quiet and insanely comfortable beds make a strong case for long weekends spent in the desert. Jumeirah.com
PARK HYATT DUBAI
Escaping the city whilst being smack-bang in the middle of it sounds like an oxymoron, but that’s exactly what you’ll get if you check in to the Park Hyatt Dubai. Consistently named one the region’s best resort hotels, this award-winning, low-rise luxury bolthole boasts the kind of chilled-out, Mediterranean chic most frequently experienced on the Cote d’Azur, or hopping around the Greek islands.
Perched right on the edge of Dubai Creek, with knockout views of the city skyline and a beautiful marina chock-full of mega yachts to daydream over, the latest addition to the 223- room, 34-suite hotel is a glorious private lagoon, with a pristine white sandy beach and Insta-perfect 100-metre infinity pool. Framed with palm trees, trailing bougainvillea and dotted with private cabanas, split your tanning time between here and the hotel’s stunning 25-metre swimming pool that nestles in lush tropical gardens for the ultimate in jet-set lounger-lazing.
If you can drag yourselves away from your poolside paradise, an array of world-class restaurants await, offering a delectable mix of French, Thai and European cuisine. With effortlessly elegant decor – think whitewashed walls, blue and white tiled floors and contemporary cane furniture beneath strings of white fairy lights – New England coastal cool melds with the tranquil allure of Mykonos and just a touch of Arabian exoticism throughout the resort.
Rooms are stylish, spacious and ultra-calming, mixing Moorish and Mediterranean design influences, while the award-winning Amara spa offers luxurious beauty treatments in spectacularly tranquil surrounds, where most guests will happily lose themselves for a day of unadulterated pampering. With impeccable service and top-notch staff, it’s a staycation superstar from start to finish. Hyatt.com