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“For a seaside resort, there is no beach nor water sports”

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Anantara Desert Islands Resort & Spa
Certificate of Excellence
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“For a seaside resort, there is no beach nor water sports”
Reviewed September 2, 2012

Have lived in AD for 8 years and visited many local resorts. By far this was the most we have felt misled in our entire time here.
The hotel is still being built (water sports facility and conference center)
There are errosion bladders on the beach to keep the sand from washing out
Although water sports are adveritised (sailing, boat snorkelling, kayaking) none are available AND the staff are unwilling to assist you in contacting local firms that would be able to get you on the water
The wildlife drive was good (particularly if taken at sunset)
If you are going in order to enjoy a beach .....pick another resort

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
3 Thank Andy M
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, October 27, 2012
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 obviously disappointed to read that over all your stay with us did not live up to your expectations and please accept my apologies for that,

For your information you will hopefully be pleased to hear that our new Water Sports Centre will be opening in November this year and will offer the highest of Quality Scuba Diving and will also build up very good variety of non motorized water sports as the business develops.

The Geo Textile bags which protect the Island from erosion are being investigated into at this very moment and we are looking for an effective alternative. In the meantime you may be glad to hear that we are about to open our Anantara Al Yamms All Villa Beach resort a little down the cost. The beach is fantastic and will be a great addition to the Island. The planned opening is February 2013.

The work on our Conference Centre, Water Sports Centre and new Restaurant, Amwaj will be completed within a couple of weeks and although we have had very few comments of a negative nature, we look forward to bringing the landscaping back to its high level, nature allowing.

I was pleased to read that you enjoyed the Wild Life Drive. This is an area of our product that we have a great reputation and one that we are very content to see is proving very popular with all our guests.

Many thanks once again for helping us to understand our level of quality provided at the resort and we very much hope that we have another opportunity to welcome you back to Desert Island Resort and Spa by Anantara

Yours sincerely

Steven

Steven Phillips
General Manager
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English first
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
36 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 85 helpful votes
Reviewed August 24, 2012

I stay between 100-150 nights at 5 star properties around the world on business and pleisure.

I booked Anantara Desert Islands recently for a weekend trip, after I got a good deal on a European travel website. 160 Euros per night incl. BF. usually this hotel would go for 300+ Euros easily.

This review is about the hotel, not about Sir Bani Yas Island as an attraction. The island is a quite unique 'safari park', though with a bit less animal life that expected.

Overall, it's a decent hotel, but absolutely nothing special in the vibrant UAE hotel scene. Especially compared to its sister property, the Qasr Al Sarab, in my view one of the most unique hotels in the world.
Rooms: very underwhelming, decor non existent and overall uninspired. This could be at every Meridien or Hilton...
Food: tried the Buffet restaurant at 280AED incl service/tax, which was way too expensive for the variety of choice and quality of food. Also considered they need to ship everything from the mainland.... Go for the good value room service instead.

Pool: standard infinity pool with little corners and edges, quite nice

Beach: amazing beachfront, though with a lot of stones and not good for swimming

Service: probably the biggest plus of the hotel. Staff is very helpful, friendly and well trained

Activities: a bit of a disappointment... The wildlife drive is great and god value at 180AED p.P., but the other activities are a bit lame...snorkelling only with guide and if you "can swim for an hour straight" and only at predetermined hours, same for all other activities as well, so you do not have a lot of flexibility. Aso, it seems that many activities are getting booked out quickly (no idea how a pony ride of half an hour could be booked out ever...)

All in all, it was worth the weekend trip, though I would not stay longer than 2 nights max and only if you get a rate significantly under about 1200 AED... If you want Arabian Adventure, desert nature and fantastic hotel experience, go to Anantara's Qasr Al Sarab.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
3 Thank MUCTraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed August 20, 2012

I took my grandchildren to Desert Island Resort last weekend, it was a fun filled and a fantastic experience.

The island is wonderful, desert animals roaming free everywhere, it was so nice to be so close to nature. The landscape was beautiful as well.

When we arived at the hotel the duty manager was waiting outside the hotel door to welcome us, this was a very nice touch. He reamined very visible during the stay. The staff were very good, accommodating and polite, without being overpowering. The activity staff were fantastic, especially Jack, Ted and Matt, and the Manager of the horse riding stables (sorry, I forgot your name :-( ). Special thanks go to Jack who went out of his way (out of hours) to make sure the children saw the cheetahs before they went home as they were hiding when we went on the safari.

The hotel were very helpful in respect of booking activities and making sure you had the best experience you could whilst on the island.

The rooms were very good as was the housekeeping staff. The restaurant staff and food was also very good. Room service was a bit of a let down as we waited over an hour on the first night and the food was cold, however, unexpectedly it still tasted delicious.

My grandaughter was delighted that she had an opportunity to adopt a turtle and then be able to track the turtles whereabouts via the internet. Great initiative.

The children loved to have the opportunity of going to the Island on a speedboat, it almost took away the memory of the long 4 hour drive from Dubai.

We had a brilliant holiday, thank you to everyone who made this an unforgetable experience.

A word or warning: if you are driving from Dubai please ensure that you fill up with petrol at Tirfa as there are no more petrol stations until you get to the port, and you have to get back again, in total this is approx 260KM retrun trip, I just made the petrol station with less than 20km left in petrol, being out of petrol in the desert (with children) is not an enjoyable experience. It would be helpful if the hotel added a warning on their directions.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank Jane C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
43 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed August 11, 2012

My review is late by a few moths but I finally got down to it. 
 
The service was good until we had a problem.
The hotel was pretty empty so we got a lovely corner room. All was peaceful until they decided to put a big group that booked two rooms with kids right next to us. We complained about the noise and loud music and nothing was done. So we finally asked to be moved. They moved us to a room with absolutely no view and we were told the hotel was full when we knew it wasn't. Then the icing on the cake - someone else earlier mentioned that they had to wait 2hours at the boat due to bad weather - think I was there same time. There was no communication frm the hotel. People didn't know what to do, kids were starving and crying not even water was provided. When I called the manager he just said well u have to wait there there is nothing we can do. And then they send another bus load of people and kids when they know we were waiting for 2 hours already and no place for more guests to sit. There was total chaos when we finally boarded the boat. I was shocked we didn't even get an apology from the hotel for managing the situation so badly. This was an expensive weekend trip and we thought we were in for a great experience but were really disappointed with Anantara staff, manager and guest relations. Never again! Must better hotels and customer service in Dubai local hotels! 

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank The_Foodie_Pilgrim
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
tsvalholm, Manager at Anantara Desert Islands Resort & Spa, responded to this review, August 14, 2012
Dear Valued Guest,

It was a pleasure having you with us on Desert Island Resort and Spa, and I thank you for taking your time to share your thoughts with us since your response will help us to shape the future of our services.

I am truly sorry to hear that your stay with us did not live up to your expectations but please be assured that I have taken good notes of your comments and all possible measures are being taken in order to avoid such occurrences in the future.

I am gratified to know that some aspects of your stay were pleasant and I hope this will not prevent you from choosing Desert Island Resort & Spa for your future stays.

If i at any point can be of any assistance please feel free to contact me separately.

Kind Regards

Thomas Raaber Svalholm

Executive Assistant Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed August 4, 2012

We stayed for 2 nights as we were looking for a mini break, myself husband and 2 children, and we had a good time. Nice to go somewhere different. Was worth the 3 hour drive from Dubai, and then a short 10 minute boat ride, followed by a 10 minute bus ride to the resort.

We enjoyed relaxing around the pool, and went on the Sunrise Safari where we managed to see the Cheetahs after their morning feed, followed by some Archery in the afternoon. Would have like to do some Kayaking in the Mangroves but was too hot during our Summer break.

The resort overall was beautiful, and would definately recommend people stay at this resort. Was a nice relaxing stay.

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Lisa B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
49 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed July 26, 2012

Very nice hotel, slightly different from the similar hotels all over the UAE!
Very organised, very friendly and cooperative staff always there for you, spacious and very nice decorated rooms with a view, cosy atmosphere, small but nice ethnological collection (good attempt!) all over the Resort, excellent seafood nite buffet....overall, excellent place to escape from the City for a mini break!
Only one thing to be mentioned-the activities (e.g. safari) are overpriced.

Room Tip: Always ask for the left wing, better view!
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank sf58
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed July 19, 2012

It is a beautiful hotel, a mixture of Arabic and safari style, cozy and spacious rooms with beautiful ocean views. I recomend it to either families or couples. . Delicious buffet in The Palm restaurant. Attentive staff. The outdoor activities are a very good option; the sailing was very hands-on- and thrilling, the safari tour was really nice but the guide did not provide enough information about animals and the island , the snorkelling guide was really good but don't expect to see colorful corals. But the price of the activities wure quiet high.

Room Tip: Sea View room are very spacious, well decorated with a large balcony.
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Zoraya M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Anantara Desert Islands Resort & Spa

Property: Anantara Desert Islands Resort & Spa
Address: P.O. Box 12452, 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*
Number of rooms: 64
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 And Spa By Anantara
Desert Islands Resort & Spa By Anantara Hotel Sir Bani Yas Island
Desert Islands Hotel
Anantara Desert Islands Resort & Spa Emirate Of Abu Dhabi/Sir Bani Yas Island

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