Being a UAE resident comes with it perks — year-long sunshine, access to some of the world’s best beaches, tourist spots and entertainment acts and might we also add, special discounts on holiday packages. The Fairmont Ajman’s UAE and GCC Residents Offer has all the ingredients to a fabulous weekend escape. Foodies will relish waking up to a complimentary breakfast at all-day-dining restaurant, Spectrum, enjoy meals at Spectrum and Gioia with 20 per cent knocked off your total bill. Families travelling with kids appreciate the complimentary access to the resort’s floating waterpark, Aqua Bounce Ajman, as well as free access to the Kids’ Club. And to up the R&R ante, the offer also includes free access to the gym, steam and sauna facilities.
Fairmont King room starts from Dh594 per night; call 06 701 5757 or email email@example.com.
Al Ain Rotana Hotel
The sleepy city of Al Ain has transformed into a treasure trove of exciting activities that adventurers can tap into at all times of the year. From biking up to the cooler altitudes of Jebel Hafeet or surfing at Wadi Adventure to taking a walk on the wild side at Al Ain Zoo, where you can dine with lions, enjoy a safari ride and encounter the BIG 5 here at home in the world’s largest man-made safari, there’s a lot to do. Over the last two decades, Al Ain Rotana hotel has witnessed the tame garden city discover it’s adventurous side and has a thrilling staycation offer that let’s guests discover it too. The ‘Your Leisure Discovery Escape’ package includes breakfast buffet for two adults at Zest restaurant, Al Ain Zoo tickets for two adults, two nights’ accommodation and Wi-Fi access in the hotel. Once you’re back visiting hungry hippos and giraffes, hungry families can dine at any of the hotel's six restaurants, including the lively Polynesian-themed Trader’s Vic and unwind at the Zen spa or with a swim in the pool.
From Dh450 per night; call 03 754 5111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort
Think over-water villas and cerulean waters of the Maldives come to mind. The good news is that you can experience the very same idyllic bolthole of luxury here in Dubai at Anantara The Palm and for around the same fare as a flight to an international island. The stunning Thai-inspired beachside resort that’s designed around three swimming lagoons is home to the UAE’s only over-water villas; you can enjoy a luxurious sojourn in them with the Anantara Villa Special offer. It lets you choose between a One Bedroom Over Water Villa or a One Bedroom Beach Pool Villa, but whether you choose to engage with the thriving aquatic life through a glass-viewing panel or laze around in a private pool, the offer guarantees waking up to sea views every morning, a delicious buffet breakfast for two at Crescendo or Revo Café and 30 per cent savings on accommodation. Put those savings to good use at the resort spa’s Turkish hammam or one of its seven dining outlets that bring the world to your plate — savour traditional Asian cuisine at Mekong, Australian outback barbecue at Bushman’s Restaurant and Bar or plump for Mediterranean dining at The Beach House.
From Dh1,999, only at anantara.com.
DoubleTree by Hilton Resort & Spa Marjan
Al Marjan Island has a celebratory vibe that fits right in with a fun staycation. The man-made island cluster has its own music festival, and celebrations and a string of hotels that give holidaymakers access to the coral-shaped island’s stunning beaches. The DoubleTree by Hilton Resort and Spa is a great place to set up shop in with the family and discover all that the destination has to offer, from desert camping, water sports and sailing to just kicking back and enjoying impeccable service within the resort. It’s beach-front family rooms come with direct beach access and the option of a balcony or a terrace, seven pools and a plethora of in-resort dining outlets. What cinches it a spot on one of the best family hotels out there is the variety of activities it has for kids — they can choose from the watery playground of the Pirate Boat Aqua Zone for kids, stick to the regular but equally creative playground on solid ground or avail of the climbing wall and Arcade Zone at the kids club. Rooms start from Dh375 per night, including breakfast for two adults and two kids.
Call 07 203 0000 or email reservations at email@example.com.
Beauty in Fujairah extends beyond the surface of its arresting mountains and runs deep, into the glorious waters of Dibba that abound in marine life and aquatic scenery that range from shoals of colourful tropical fish, to green turtles and sting rays. Discover your sea legs and the emirate’s underwater world with the Fairmont Fujairah’s Snorkelling Experience package – every water baby’s dream holiday and a great way for first-time snorkellers to test the waters. The offer includes a stay in a room category of your choice and an hour-long guided snorkelling experience that will let you see the stunning coral reefs that carpet the Gulf of Oman. Continuing with its aquatic theme, the staycation package also includes access for two to the resort’s Aqua Bounce floating playground. After you’ve worked up an appetite with the day’s marine escapades, head back to the shore and tuck into a delicious meal at one of the resort’s six restaurants. Fairmont Sea View room start from Dh560 per night including snorkelling experience and access to wet areas of the Willow Stream Spa, pools and fitness centre.
Call 09 204 1111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ajman’s oldest five-star hotel has always held its own when it comes to fresh and fun variations on staycations. Their new Family Summer Break offer packs in everything that a mini weekend getaway with the family requires, right from waking up to soothing views of the ocean, a horde of activities to keep the kids occupied and discounts galore, and accommodates up to four adults and children in two connecting rooms — so both parents and kids don’t cramp each other’s style. Outside of separate rooms, you and your family can enjoy quality time at the private beach and pool, and enjoy breakfast at Café Naseem. The offer also lets you save while you feast, thanks to a 20 per cent discount you can avail of at all of the hotel’s restaurants and bars. What’s a staycation without a pampering spa-treatment to cap off the experience? Which is why trips to the hotel’s Softtouch Spa come with a 25 per cent discount too. And while you’re savouring that much deserved spa break, the kids will be well-taken care of at the kids club, which is also included in the package.
From Dh500; valid for stays from May 21 to August 31. Call 06 714 5555 or email email@example.com.
Find bliss at InterContinental Fujairah Resort (review)
The drive down to the InterContinental Fujairah is a preview for what the first InterContinental Resort in the region has set out to achieve: nestled at the end of a long clutch of beachside resorts, the whitewashed, low-rise Arabic-style structure is worlds apart from its towering glitzy neighbours and is soothing to the eyes.
It’s this sensory respite that the resort endeavours to offer its guests, and over a one-night stay, we discovered it’s something the hotel excels at. For starters, it’s located on a prime cut of Al Aqah Beach’s pristine beachfront, offering it physical seclusion and distance from the hubbub of big-city trappings, and truly making it an escape.
Inside, the elegant neutral colours that the lobby and rooms are done up in convey the same sense of calm. Stepping into the one-bedroom resort suite — my home for the night with a balcony (a standard feature in every room) that opens to relaxing vistas of the sea and the rugged Hajjar mountains — feels like a giant exhale, and the first step to the rest and relaxation I’m about to experience. R&R without cutting corners on luxury and the exclusivity that the Intercontinental brand is known to offer its business travellers is what the Fujairah resort aims to do, while being a welcoming abode for families looking to spend some quality time with each other.
The family-friendly tenor of the resort continues with the Planet Trekker’s Kids Club, a child-friendly infinity pool, and activities and game such as tennis, yoga and more that can be enjoyed on the resort’s lush green lawns. Couples or intrepid solo travellers seeking activities and experiences rooted in the fishing village’s history only need to contact the concierge, who organise everything from fishing expeditions to nearby Mussandam, to picnics in the mountains and scuba diving.
But the crowning glory of the many sensory experiences the resort offers is the O Spa by L’Occitane. Staffed with expert therapists, stocked with the French skincare brand’s natural products, the spa is a must-visit. Give the newly developed 90-minute Sleep & Reset Massage a go — comprising guided breathing techniques and a blend of Swedish and Balinese technique, acupressure, a facial and a head massage, it will leave you feeling rejuvenated and de-stressed.
The massage will also leave you ravenous, as I discovered, but that’s a welcome inconvenience easily solved at one of the resorts many restaurants — Drift, the stylish beachside restaurant and bar serves scrumptious seafood, specialising in Colombian and South American delicacies; Chef Esteban’s signature ceviche is a delight that comes in a sizeable portion, like all the other dishes served across the F&B outlets. It’s part of general manager Vijai Singh and team’s insistence to ensure meals give guests value for money. Large portion sizes and unwavering hospitality also follow me at Nama, the all-day dining restaurant helmed by Chef Indrajith Sampath, specialising in Indian and Arabic dishes.
The next day, I choose to burn off all those calories with a personal yoga session with in-house yogini Farrah, and cap it off with a walk by the beach for good measure. As I navigate my way back through the resort, there’s something in the air that keeps changing and it’s not just the twang of salt from the sea — this I’m told is the resort’s touch of personalisation by infusing different parts of the property with different scents that reflect the energy and vibe of the space. It’s a fragrant and artistic touch that brings my sensory staycation to full circle.
Classic Garden View Rooms from Dh433; call 09 209 9999 or visit ihg.com.