1st the good(and the very good) :
The whole journey there is a nice experience by itself . We were greeted on mainland where we checked-in and left our luggage . The reception is very pleasant (albeit quite small) with refreshments etc.There's a shaded parking to leave the car in case you drive there .
We boarded the boat which took about 15 mins to the island then onto a bus which took another 15 mins or so to the resort . We were swiftly taken care of and shown to our rooms . Everything is very well organized but transit time can be quite long at peak times .
From previous posts we knew we should immediately head to the activities center in order to find some availability . It was full house during our stay .
The activity center staff were very courteous and accommodating and very well trained to deal with the massive influx of people .
Anything to do with activities is truly 5* . The guides are very knowledgeable and do take extra care in showing you the best time .
We had rented a one 1 bedroom villa with plunge pool(adjacent to the hotel building) and a deluxe room(in the building) . The villas are really amazing , so spacious and well appointed with a big kitchen etc. The villa patio is fantastic , i spent the 1st evening there away from the crowd at the hotel . A little back door connects you to the pool and restaurants area which was very convenient .
The bad :
Step out from your room to use the hotel facilities (to be fair i didn't see the spa ) is like going from 5* to 3* . The pool is frankly quite gross , dirty , unkempt with tiles falling off etc. My son was cut pretty severely in the pool , the lifeguard just threw us some first aid kit and turned around like nothing happened . He didn't even bother investigating how this happened .
They have a very interesting wave breaker on one side of the beach which allows a tidal pool to fill up . Unfortunately when we saw it the water had seeped out and frankly it didn't look very interesting to step into . The problem is the island is on the shipping line of the biggest industrial ports of the UAE so a lot of trash gets thrown off the oil tankers and ends up on the shore of this gem of an island . The other beach , the open ocean , is a short walking distance . I can't say it's amazing (but again we are spoiled with Abu Dhabi's Sadiyat beach) It isn't bad either .
Another downs side is the food quality . The best we tried was barely average so one night we decided to head over to the Italian at the adult only resort about 10 mins drive (Al Yamm resort) which was better .Transport is arranged by the reception . Considering that you are literally in the closest place to the middle of nowhere i would have imagined they would have a top notch chef . They already went the distance to employ activities guides from around the world , i couldn't figure out why they would stop at that .
To conclude , the experience was great . We initially thought 2 nights there are too much ended up being just right . The kids didn't want to leave and that doesn't happen very often with us . A word of caution , this isn't a resort to sit around and pamper yourself . You go there with activities in mind .
As far as activities are concerned we tried archery , horse back riding (the stables and the manager are really amazing ) , kayaking and safari .
A short word about bookings , they are extremely inflexible when it comes to room occupancy . The villa for example can easily accommodate a family of 4 but there was no way we could convince them to allow more than 3 people which is kind of silly because after all this is a family oriented resort and they only have 8 connecting rooms out of 64 total rooms .For us it would have been an issue because we have 3 children and they're too young to stay in a room alone .
That said we will return for sure .
- 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
- Reservation Options:
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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