Eid Mubarak all! In celebration of Eid el Fitr this week, I’ll be giving you trip ideas in order to help you plan your Middle East travels / Eid holiday. Posts will (mostly) be about the top beach resorts and desert lodges throughout the region.
Today, we kick off this mini series with the top UAE beach resorts and desert lodges. For your convenience, I have organized this post and selected UAE beach resorts and lodges in each of the 7 emirates. Enjoy! =)
The capital of the UAE, Abu Dhabi is an up-and-coming destination in the Middle East, rivaling its infamous neighbor Dubai nowadays. Below, my hand-picked top UAE beach resorts and desert lodges in Abu Dhabi:
Fairmont Bab Al Bahr – Between The Bridges, Abu Dhabi
Rated # 1 on Tripadvisor, this hotel oozes opulence–but without a high price tag. Its high points come mostly from its staff and facilities, also making it a perfect hotel for business travelers. According to travelers, the “Gold floor” is noteworthy and the private beach is calm (views to the Sheik Zayed mosque a plus)
Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort – 1 Qasr Al Sarab Road, Liwa District, Abu Dhabi
Never been to the desert? Then the luxurious Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort will be the perfect crash course. Facing the beautiful sand dunes of the Emirati desert, its remote location does not compromise facilities. Travelers rave about the relaxation, great rooms and (obviously) stunning vistas.
One of the most popular Middle East travel destinations, Dubai is usually the first (and only) stop in many tourists’ Middle East itineraries. Its quick boom and construction, albeit attracted much attention, is slowly declining due to many construction projects being abandoned as travelers didn’t flock in the numbers anticipated. Still, an impressive and lovely beach destination in the UAE. Below, my hand-picked top UAE beach resorts and desert lodges in Dubai:
This hotel could easily have “The Venice of the Middle East” as nick name. A system of canals and Oriental water taxis and boats connects different buildings of the hotel complex, which gives this beautiful property a unique charm. Add to that the Middle Eastern architecture/decor, proximity to Dubai’s most famous beach, and (listen up non-Muslims) a 2-hour ‘free drinks’ session every night and it is easy to understand why this is a top UAE beach resort indeed
Al Maha Desert Resort - Dubai Al Ain Road, Dubai
Talk about luxury in the desert. This resort resembles the opulent African safari lodges in decor, amenities, and even offers (desert) wildlife tours as well. Rooms get high marks for their space, appointments and even private pools in the suites (which overlook the sand dunes). Other features include private guided tours, camel rides, and the best room in the house: The Bedouin suite. In short, the relaxing desert gateway you are dreaming of.
One, if not the, cheapest destination in the UAE. Still underdeveloped, but holds it own, unique charm. Excellent choice for travelers on a budget that wish to see Emirati culture without the opulence that characterizes other UAE destinations such as Dubai. Below, my hand-picked top UAE beach resorts and desert lodges in Sharjah:
Centro Sharjah - adjacent to Sharjah International Airport, Sharjah
This recently-opened hotel is, very likely, one of the most luxurious in Sharjah. Adjacent to the Sharjah International Airport, it is the answer to businessmen and/or travelers seeking to take advantage of the lower prices and attractions of Sharjah, while still enjoying proximity to Dubai’s playground. It is located 9 miles away from the beach, but the hotel offers free private on-site parking and a shuttle bus service to the major shopping centers (and beaches) in Dubai. Other hotel features include floor-to-ceiling windows, swimming pool, and the 24-hour C. Deli (offering a variety of take-away items).
Coral Beach Resort - PO Box 5524, Sharjah
While the selection of good beach resorts in Sharjah is somewhat limited, the Coral Beach Resort delivers. While in the bargain, 3-star range, the hotel boasts a nice pool right by the beach, beautiful gardens and good location in Sharjah. All in all, a good place to relax during Eid without breaking the bank.
Rarely on the tourists’ radar, Al Ain is actually located within Abu Dhabi emirate, but still different to Dubai and the capital. In terms of attractions, whoever, is still compares to the aforementioned cities (even if to a lesser degree). Thus, if you are seeking the development and facilities found in Abu Dhabi city and Dubai, Al Ain is able to deliver (minus the crowds!). While it is an actual oasis town located inland, it basically merges with the Omani of Buraimi, giving you the opportunity to easily visit two countries in one trip. Please note, however, that I do not recommended Al Ain to those seeking a spectacular beach destination. Still, I added it to this post so you get to know a little bit more about the lesser-known UAE cities and give you even more options as you build your Middle East travel itineraries. Below, my hand-picked top UAE resort in Al Ain:
Mercure Grand Jebel Hafeet Al Ain – Jebel Hafeet, PO Box 24476, Al Ain
This beautiful hotel, located on top of a mountain, has nice views, a great pool and an even better location. Reviews are mixed, but locals usually head to this resort when they need a break from the city. Tourists that chose this hotel and complained very likely would have been better off staying in the center of Abu Dhabi city or Dubai. As previously stated, if an off-the-beaten path destination and relaxing oasis is what you seek, then Mercure Grand Jebel Hafeet Al Ain will serve its purpose.
And that shall be all for today’s UAE beach resorts and desert lodges! Tomorrow will be part 2 of this post, featuring the lesser-known emirates Ajman, Umm al Quwain, Ra’s al Khaymah, and Fujairah. Once again, Eid Mubarak and have a terrific week! =)
Have you visited any UAE beach resorts and desert lodges? Comment below!