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“A fairly unique and very enjoyable experience.” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Anantara Desert Islands Resort & Spa

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Anantara Desert Islands Resort & Spa
5.0 of 5 Resort   |   P.O. Box 12452, Al Ruwais, Sir Bani Yas Island 00945, United Arab Emirates   |  
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York, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“A fairly unique and very enjoyable experience.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 12, 2013

We stayed for three nights and thoroughly enjoyed our stay. The hotel staff were all extremely friendly and helpful, and the guides were very enthusiastic and did their utmost to ensure the guests got the maximum out of the various activities. Kate was particularly helpful and nothing was too much trouble. The food was good, especially the breakfast, which catered for all tastes. We were a party of four adults and two children (age range from 2 to 65!) and there was something for everyone.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Steven P, General Manager at Anantara Desert Islands Resort & Spa, responded to this review, February 3, 2013
May I thank you for taking the time to complete your Trip Advisor review subsequent to your visit with us. It is through receiving these comments, both of a positive and negative nature that we can praise, where praise is due and also identify and act on any shortcomings where appropriate to do so.
Our hotel staff, almost without exception, receives great praise from our guests and we are very proud of them and their achievements. On an occasion where we may not live up to a guests expectations in a certain area, our team will always strive to rectify the situation and their great attitude always helps.
Kate has asked me to pass on her thanks for singling her out as an exceptional performer, and being one of the few fellow Brits on the Island, it is always great to see 
Many thanks once again for helping us to understand our level of quality provided at the resort and we very much hope look forward to welcoming you back to Desert Island Resort and Spa by Anantara
Yours sincerely
Steven
Steven Phillips
General Manager
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (72)
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Coral Gables, Florida
Top Contributor
54 reviews 54 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 5, 2013

Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara isn't luxurious and there isn't much to do. When a friend and I went on Christmas Day to stay four nights, we discovered a package tour atmosphere and a situation where everything available to guests required a 15-20 minute ride on a boring asphalt road. Nowhere to walk around the resort and the safari tour of the nature reserve is too short and limited. Amazingly for an island, there is no decent beach - rocky sand, barrels as breakwaters just beyond the shore, and strong currents. The pool isn't for laps; it's for kiddies mainly; the sitting areas around the pool are small; don't include tables for eating. Luckily, we were able to change our booking to three nights because staying one more day wasn't an enticing prospect.

Room Tip: Sea views only on 3rd and 4th floors; palms block views of pool and sea lower down.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Steven P, General Manager at Anantara Desert Islands Resort & Spa, responded to this review, February 3, 2013
Dear madam
Firstly may I apologise for taking such a long time to respond to your reveiw and I blame no one but myself for this omission of my responsbilities.

I was obviously upset to read that you and your friend did not enjoy your stay with us and that you felt that the atmosphere here over the Christmas period was not condusibve to the luxury experience that you had both hoped for. Obviously Christmas is more of a time for families and frivolities, but that should not have taken away from the fact that there are a great variety of persons who come to visit us and many have different expectations.

I was also sorry to read that you felt that there was too much travel around the island when joining our activities. The reason for this is that we would like guests to enjoy activities in areas of the island which are best suited. I will however look into adding more activities slightly closer to home. Obviously all our Wild life drives are on the authentic tracks and only involve tarmac on the roads toward the park entrances.

In terms of our beaches, you may be pleased to hear that our ne Anantara Al Yamm Villas opens in March and the 3 Km of uniterrupted beaches there will be an excellent addition to the Island

Thank you once again for letting me know your thoughts as it really does help me to make changes where appropriate to do so.

I do hope that in the future you will feel confident enough to visit us again, but in the meantime assure you of my very best of intentions at all time.

Sincerely yours

Steven
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Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 28, 2012

Even though the hotel as such isn't as nice as its sister hotel Qasr Al Sarab, you have a lot more to do here... there are plenty of activities to choose from and an alright pool to relax if you're not the adventurous type.
We had a very fun-filled weekend here and will definitely return again.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Steven P, General Manager at Anantara Desert Islands Resort & Spa, responded to this review, January 1, 2013
Dear Valued Guest

May I thank you for taking the time to complete your Trip Advisor review subsequent to your visit with us. It is through receiving these comments, both of a positive and negative nature that we can praise, where praise is due and also identify and act on any shortcomings where appropriate to do so.

I was very pleased to read that you enjoyed your time with us and look forward to seeing you again. The next time you are here, we will have also added a new Water Sports Centre (Due to open end of January this year).

Many thank you once again for helping us to understand our level of quality provided at the resort and we very much look forward to see you on your next visit to Desert Island Resort and Spa by Anantara.

May I also wish you and all Trip Advisor Reviewers a fantastic; Healthy and Peaceful 2013 from all at Desert island Resort & Spa By Anantara.

Yours sincerely

Steven

Steven Phillips

General Manager
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Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
1 review
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 27, 2012

After viewing the brochure and online details about the resort, we couldn't wait. The journey over and arrival were both great. It wasn't until we got to our room which has just been cleaned etc that we had no mini bar items or drinking facilities. The pods for our coffee machine had not been replaced. After a phone call, reception apologised and sent somebody up to our room who handed over 2 pods. Dinner that night was cold as the hobs had all been turned off. The selection on offer after less than an hour was poor. Breakfast was the same in the morning, cold food so we opted for eggs. Lunch by the pool took over and hour and was cold. Upon returning to our room once again the coffee pods were not replaced, meaning another phone call. 3 had to be made and I had to ask the cleaning staff at my door. The final day lunch was an hour and cold upon arrival. Others who had ordered after us, got their food before us. The pool was in need of repair as I managed to collect a handful of tiles. Overall it was over priced at over 2,000AED for 3 evening meals and a couple of pool meals. The only positive was the kayacking and 18km cycle ride. I will not be returning.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Steven P, General Manager at Anantara Desert Islands Resort & Spa, responded to this review, January 1, 2013
Dear valued guest
May I thank you for taking the time to complete your Trip Advisor review subsequent to your visit with us. It is through receiving these comments, both of a positive and negative nature that we can praise, where praise is due and also identify and act on any shortcomings where appropriate to do so.
I recently wrote to you to apologise for the issues that you encountered within our Restaurants and Ken and Martin have both reacted to the situation with a positive outcome.
Many thank you once again for helping us to understand our level of quality provided at the resort and we very much look forward to see you on your next visit to Desert Island Resort and Spa by Anantara.
May I also wish you and all Trip Advisor Reviewers a fantastic; Healthy and Peaceful 2013 from all at Desert island Resort & Spa By Anantara.
Yours sincerely
Steven
Steven Phillips
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Abu Dhabi
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 25, 2012

As soon as you're on the ferry you enter a different world. Fantastic service from people who really seem to care about their guests having a good experience. The food is excellent, the Spa wonderful, the decor thoughtful and extremely comfortable, the nature walk and 4WD safari tour that we took were fantastic and our guides knowledgable and enthusiastic. The only thing that stops it from being excellent is not the terrible drive from Abu Dhabi that's necessary for those of us unable to afford the sea-plane - we were nearly driven off the road by a lights-flashing, horn-sounding idiot who thought we should pull over into a solid line of trucks so he could pass! - but the lack of an attractive beach. That's all. It is expensive, but for a special occasion, or as a place to take visitors it is well worth it.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Steven P, General Manager at Anantara Desert Islands Resort & Spa, responded to this review, January 3, 2013
Dear Chris

Firstly may I thank you for completing your Trip Advisor review. As I have said previously, it is imperative that guests who have stayed with us, give us there honest opinions of our performance because with out these it would be more difficult for us to improve and also praise.

It was great to read that you and your family thoroughly enjoyed your time with us and Ken our Chef and Kataleeya our Spa Manager have both asked me to pass on the thanks for the great comments made about our Food quality and Spa. I was also pleased to read that you all enjoyed our activities; an area which we are very proud of and will develop further this year, with Water Sports, Scuba Diving, fishing, and other culturally local activities.

I agree that our beach is by no means the best and we are working hard to ensure changes are made. We are also adding a new Villa concept a little down the coast and when Anantara Al Yamms opens at the end of the first quarter, the beach there will be particularly magnificent.

We look forward to welcoming you back on future occasions and perhaps now that we have the Rotana Jet flight to the Island 3 days a week, your journey time will be cut in half, allowing more time for rest, relaxation and great food.

All the very best

Steven

Steven Phillips
General Manager
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Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 18, 2012

Upon arrival, we were greeted at the front entrance by the general manager who graciously gave us a tour of the property and facilities. Not only was this a great first impression, we were offered a deliciously unique hibiscus drink along with arabic dates while we were seated at check in. The staff were extremely attentive throughout our entire stay and actually went out of their way to greet us by name at each outlet. The room was absolutely huge and the bed was out of this world! The service at the pool bar restaurant was exquisite, so much so that we ate all of our meals there. A very nice touch to the Al Shams restaurant was the addition of a "salt guru" who guided us through our menu choices and explained which salt would complement each dish. The seafood on the menu was well worth the 2 hour trip from Abu Dhabi and I would highly recommend the salt brick salmon. My wife and I also splurged on a therapy at the spa on site. I tried a 90 minute thai massage and she had a facial and she still raves about Lamyai, her spa therapist. This was the most perfect weekend getaway and we felt like we owned the island! I will be visiting again!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 6, 2012

I was lucky enough to be invited along with my company to see this wonderful hotel, so my impressions are based on not having to pay. However, I would definitely want to bring my family here some day in the future. The decor of the lobby is breathtaking. The crescent moon work of art in the back of the lobby is a great place for photos. The furniture is elegant and comfortable. You could really spend an hour just enjoying the comfort and atmosphere of the lobby.

The room itself was amazing. This is a five star hotel but has a bed and breakfast feel to it. I loved the natural looking ceiling fan and the pieces of traditional art on the shelves and walls. The view is breathtaking, too.

The pool is one of the most unique shapes I've seen in my travels. It is large enough for just playing around, and you can do laps, too. Very clean, nice outdoor showers and the lounge chairs were very comfortable.

You can't visit this place without taking a tour with the hotel Safari guides. This will be a wonderful experience for all ages. Leopards, giraffes, peacocks, gazelles and a whole assortment of animals await you in their natural habitat. The guide we had was awesome. He was knowledgable and very eco-friendly. (a small plastic cup got blown away during our break, and he chased it down in the wind and made sure it got disposed of properly) Very impressive! We could learn a lot from this island's "culture." The shuttle busses we took were electric and everything about the place was geared towards sustainability.

The food is to die for. They have Thai chefs and I have no doubt the massages at the spa were excellent, although we didn't have time as the pool was just too inviting.

I don't know how much I would have paid for a weekend experience like this on my own. I imagine upwards of 300 USD? I left wanting to save up enough to bring my family see it. It was that amazing.

Room Tip: Get an ocean view
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Steven P, General Manager at Anantara Desert Islands Resort & Spa, responded to this review, December 8, 2012
Dear Valued guest

It was with the greatest of pleasure that I read your reviwe this morning. A great start to my day.

Having been in my posotion her for 4 months now, it is fantastic to see that the hard work being put in by the whole team is certainly payning off. We continue to work towards the goal of satisfying all our guests and through the Trip Advisor reviews we gain a very good understanding of our perfrormace.

Chef Ken has asked me to pass on his thanks for your comments on the food we produce and you are correct about Pairoj our Thai Chef. He continues to work very hard to produce the freshest of produce, plated to a high standard. I have to say though that we are very lucky that much of our fruit and vegetables come directly from the Palace on Sir Banyas. This ensures the very freshest of produce.

Many thanks once again for your review and we look forward to seeing you and your family back at Desert Island Resort & Spa by Anantara shortly.

Best of regards

Steven

Steven Phillips
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Anantara Desert Islands Resort & Spa

Address: P.O. Box 12452, Al Ruwais, Sir Bani Yas Island 00945, United Arab Emirates
Location: United Arab Emirates > Emirate of Abu Dhabi > Sir Bani Yas Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 3 hotels in Sir Bani Yas Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:5 star — Anantara Desert Islands Resort & Spa 5*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
With 64 luxuriously appointed rooms, suites, spacious one-bedroom villas and truly luxurious two-bedroom Royal Villas, Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara invites you to live out your own Arabian nights in a destination that is anything but ordinary. 240km from Abu Dhabi City and just eight kilometers off the Abu Dhabi emirate’s western coastline, the island beckons with a mystique that is worlds away from the hustle and bustle of modern urban life. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Desert Islands Resort & Spa By Anantara Hotel Sir Bani Yas Island
Desert Islands Resort And Spa By Anantara
Desert Islands Hotel
Anantara Desert Islands Resort & Spa Emirate Of Abu Dhabi/Sir Bani Yas Island

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