From the port, we had a view of a beige structure topped with a green-colored roof. Probably trying to blend with its surroundings? Could be. The building turned out to be Desert Islands Resort and Spa by Anantara, the only hotel in Sir Bani Yas Island. It caters everything a guest will ever need–from five-star accommodation to a good dining experience, soothing indoor relaxation to fun outdoor activities. Not only does it welcomes hotel guests, but also people like us who are there for a day trip.
I instantly liked the feel of the place, chic and yet keeping in mind its Arabic roots. The hotel compound is framed by plant massing and dotted by a couple of water features. Timber bridges connect the driveway and the road.
I personally liked this row of agaves, it deserves a special mention in this post. Never thought they’d work good as screens!
Before the main entrance to the building is a shaded terrace bordered with greens and filled with sets of chairs/sofas.
The hotel’s lobby is dark; our eyes needed to take some time adjusting from the abrupt transition of light. A collection of traditional lamps that varies in shapes and sizes hangs in the reception area, making the interiors more interesting.
The receptionists are friendly, most of them Filipinos. They handed us some forms we need to fill out for our wildlife safari. For a list of other activities being offered by the resort, check this out.
Like their small receiving area by the ferry terminal, there were plates of dates for everyone. I fell in love with every detail–the ceiling with intricate patterns, pots and urns of different shapes and sizes, sofas with different styles and yet complementing each other, traditional chests and sculptures, among others.
The day we visited the island was a Friday and since we’re abstaining from meat due to the Lenten season, we only have two choices of food–seafood or vegetables. Good thing, there’s a seafood restaurant in the hotel, Samak. If these ornaments in the ceiling don’t speak out of the restaurant’s specialty, then I don’t know what to say.
We had tuna sashimi pizza and fish and chips. I’m gonna be blunt about it, there’s nothing incredible with the food. :(
Fret not as there are more dining options. There’s Al Shams, a snack bar by the pool; The Palm, all-day dining restaurant (but closed during lunch time! like why?) and The Lounge, a bar serving drinks.
The infinity pool made me want to take a dip but the wind was so cold I’m sure I won’t be able to bear it. I somehow felt the pool was small but there’s an open beach anyway.
The hotel can be a nice place to stay at given that it offers a variety of experiences. If you ever fancy checking out Sir Bani Yas Island, head over to this page and book your visit.
Desert Islands Resort and Spa
Sir Bani Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, UAE
+971 2 801 5400