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5 National Day Escapes to Book Now Ahead of the Long Weekend

Courtesy of Six Senses Zighy Bay.

UAE residents, rejoice. There’s set to be another extended weekend for public and private sector workers before the year is out, with December 2 and 3 marked as public holidays for the occasion of National Day. Since the holiday falls on Sunday and Monday, we can expect a four-day long weekend, making it the ultimate time for a much-needed escape. From Oman to Bali, we round up the best getaways to book for the upcoming holiday below.

Six Senses Zighy Bay, Oman 
Those seeking ultimate peace and serenity will find recluse in Oman’s idyllic Six Senses Zighy Bay. Set on the shores of the Musandam Peninsula, and nestled between the rugged Hajar Mountains and a mile-long stretch of beach dotted with pomegranate and fig trees, the secluded wellness retreat provides jaw-dropping views worthy of a postcard. Each of the 82 stone-clad villas feature a private plunge pool, outdoor majlis and shower, and a private, around-the-clock butler. Each guest gets their own bicycle for making their way around the sanctuary, including to its award-winning spa (you definitely need to try one of the signature massages). If you’re looking to get your adrenaline pumping, you can take part in the range of activities on offer, including snorkeling, diving, archery, parasailing, and mountain biking. To make the most of your stay, we suggest splitting your time between traversing and floating in the idyllic waters.

Intercontinental Mzaar Mountain Resort and Spa, Lebanon

Courtesy of Intercontinental Mzaar Mountain Resort and Spa.

Originally built in 1999, this beautiful ski resort located an hour away from Beirut was completely renovated in 2018. Nestled amid the peak of Mount Lebanon, the Intercontinental Mzaar Mountain Resort and Spa is made up of 140 luxurious rooms and suites offering spectacular views of the snowy surroundings. The numerous slopes invite skiers from all over the Middle East to take a slide down Lebanon’s piste — guests can literally ski right into the building. After a long day in the cold, you can warm up by taking a dip in the heated indoor pool or enjoying a therapeutic treatment at one of Lebanon’s leading spas. If skiing isn’t really your thing, you can partake in other activities on offer such as climbing, hiking, biking, and rafting.

Le Meridien Al Aqah, Fujairah

Courtesy of Le Meridien Al Aqah.

This all-inclusive beach resort literally has it all. Situated 4 miles from Fujairah’s abandoned Wadi Stone Village, Le Meridien Al Aqah is perfect for those planning a vacation with the whole family, a romantic retreat, or a solo adventure. Set in front of the Indian Ocean, this beachfront property features over 200 rooms, all with a private terrace. Travelers will find everything from a salon, where guests can get their hair braided or nails manicured, to child-care services, where your little ones will be in good hands while you enjoy a spa treatment. Separate kids and teen clubs offer plenty of activities, from pizza-making competitions, face-painting, and gaming to an on-site arcade. Meanwhile, adventure-seekers looking to get their adrenaline pumping will relish in the array of water sport activities the resort has to offer, including scuba diving and fly fishing at the ubiquitous Snoopy Island, which is a five-minute drive from the property.

Sandat, Bali

Courtesy of Sandat.

While the decor may be deliberately rustic, Sandat has the elegance and efficiency of a hotel rather than a campsite. Conveniently located close enough to Ubud, Bali’s cultural heart, the site, wrapped in a jungle-style garden, also feels remote enough to be a hidden paradise. Even though there is an emphasis on being environmentally sensitive, the deluxe side of camping is also a priority, with each tent having its own plunge pool, iPod docking stations, large, comfortable beds, a range of locally made toiletries, and coffee-making facilities. Those wanting to explore further afield can jump on the free shuttle bus to Ubud. While there is no on-site masseuse, it can be arranged for you – it is glamping, after all.

Zaya Nurai Island, Abu Dhabi

Courtesy of Zaya Nurai Island.

Located just 12 minutes off the coast of Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island, Nurai Island rivals any tropical getaway. Dubbed the “Maldives of Abu Dhabi,” the idyllic sanctuary boasts 32 beach villas (all equipped with private infinity pools) an around-the-clock butler, and four high-end restaurants to choose from, proving to be an ideal hideaway for city-dwellers seeking relaxation near home. Rooms feature a king-sized bed, walk-in shower, a lounge area, and chic decor that includes wood floors and gorgeous white draping. The amenities and services are spot on, without being overbearing. You could easily spend a whole day lounging on the island’s pristine white sand beaches, or partaking in the various water activities, including snorkeling, kayaking, paddle boarding, and scuba diving.

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