UAE residents, rejoice. There’s set to be another extended weekend for public sector workers next Thursday for the occasion of Islamic New Year, also known as Hijri New Year. (Dates for the private sector are yet to be announced, but we have our fingers crossed for a long weekend).
Since the holiday falls on a Thursday, we can only expect an additional day out of the office. However, this doesn’t mean that you’re destined to stay in the city. Whether you’re seeking sand, sun, or turf, our region has it all so you needn’t jet off to a far-flung destination for a much-needed escape. Read on for six last minute getaways to book for the upcoming long weekend.
Kingfisher Lodge, Sharjah
Eco-tourism meets Arabian hospitality at Kingfisher Lodge. Located in Kalba, an exclave of Sharjah, the hotel sits on the coast near the Omani border. Made up of 20 luxury tents, each room overlooks its own private pool to the Indian Ocean. When you’re not lounging about, take a guided tour through the neighboring mangroves which play host to rare species of birds, and a turtle breeding area. Take things up a notch with other activities in the surrounding area, such as kayaking, paddle boarding, trekking, and fat bike riding along the beach. Arrive back to the lodge where roaring fire pits and a sumptuous meal awaits.
Six Senses Zighy Bay, Musandam
Those finding themselves suffering from post-summer-holiday blues will find recluse in Oman’s idyllic Six Senses Zighy Bay. Situated 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 stone villa comprises a private pool, outdoor shower, and a private, around-the-clock butler. 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.
Anantara Desert Islands Resort & Spa, Abu Dhabi
Sir Bani Yas Island is a former nature reserve established in 1977 by the late HH Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan for conservation purposes. The island has since been converted into a wildlife park where different animal species such as gazelles, giraffes, and even cheetahs, roam. Also situated in the 87-square-kilometer space, you’ll find the Anantara Desert Island Resort & Spa, a refurbished former palace on Abu Dhabi’s largest island. The luxurious desert sanctuary boasts 64 rooms and suites, plus villas with their own private pools. Those who wish to get up close and personal with ostriches, hyenas, and oryxes without booking a long-haul flight to Africa will revel in a guided tour of the island. Just make sure you get a good night’s rest— the tours begin in the early hours.
Evason Ma’in Hot Springs Resort & Spa, Amman
Nestled in a canyon not far from the Dead Sea, this luxurious resort boasts 97 rooms and suites, including one elegant honeymoon suite at the topmost floor overlooking the steaming, turquoise waterfall. For a more social experience, visit the Hammamat Ma’in—breathtaking hot springs located below sea level. Here, a series of waterfalls pour down an undulating hillside and collect into a number of piping hot thermal pools, meant for communal bathing. The hot springs feature designated areas for women, men, families ,and mixed groups, all overlooking the Dead Sea Valley.
La Sultana, Marrakech
Hidden within the bustling old city of Marrakech, La Sultana offers a secret paradise like no other. Passageways lead to courtyards filled with fruit-laden trees, bougainvillea, and trickling fountains. Each room features a unique interior that draws upon the heritage of the city. The swimming pool, spa, and library all offer refuge for weary travelers with the restaurant serving up seasonal delicacies. Indulge in royal hammam followed by an argan oil massage for the ultimate experience.
The Oberoi, Ajman
Nature is the focus of the Oberoi Beach Resort located at Al Zorah in Ajman. Whether you opt for a private pool villa or one of its stunning suites, the hotel is the epitome of understated luxury. Designed by Italian architect Piero Lissoni, the interiors are ultra-chic, with floor-to-ceiling windows offering indoor-outdoor living. Landscaped gardens are bountiful with foliage and make way for an impressive 85-meter-long swimming pool. Post-swim, the ever attentive staff deliver chilled towels, water, and facial mist. Two restaurants are at hand to satisfy any cravings with world cuisine at Vinesse and seafood at Aquario. For the cooler months, al fresco dining is a must with views out across the Arabian Gulf.