What a turn up for the books! Every year we look forward to some time off at the end of Ramadan, but this year it appears we’re in for a bumper load. With most of us facing the majority of, if not the full, working week with nothing but twiddling our thumbs for entertainment, we thought we’d get our thinking caps on and bring you some of the finest staycation and holiday deals around. David Light talks you through the selection.
1) Leave your wallet at home
We had no idea what to expect from an all-inclusive resort, but we weren’t expecting such a high standard of service as we received at the Rixos Bab Al Bahr in Ras al Khaimah. Checking in on perhaps one of the busiest weekends of the year (similarities between then and this Eid break will abound), we were swiftly taken care of, shown to our room and by the pool before we knew it. And the best aspect of this resort? Arguably people will say it’s the first-class entertainment for both kids and adults, the beach, or the activities like the family-friendly foam parties on offer, but we think it is once you have booked online, and paid up, everything is taken care of. Wander into any of the restaurants including a Turkish fine-dining eatery, Italian pizzeria, high-end pan-Asian joint or hipster burger palace and you can fill your boots – drinks and all. For foodies like us, it was a stay to remember. The sprawling Rixos Bab Al Bahr is akin to a self-sufficient community and we loved being a resident for the weekend. You will too. Book your stay between June 4-10 on babalbahr.rixos.com and enjoy an extra 15 per cent off the all-inclusive rates.
2) The Caribbean on your doorstep
We’d been to Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi, but never really explored the beach. We don’t know why. It was perhaps a result of only ever stopping for a single night and wanting to make the most of the hotel. During a recent trip, however, we ventured out and what a surprise it was. Turquoise clear waters and the whitest sand; this was scenery we had not witnessed outside the pristine shores of the Caribbean islands or the more untouched areas of the Philippines. Truly staggering. Our visit coincided with a stay at the Saadiyat Rotana, which, as well as possessing its own stretch of shoreline, boasts some of the best rooms in which we’ve found ourselves for a while. Five stars all round and that’s before we mention the onsite Italian restaurant, Si and Sim Sim whose stellar market brunch will be up and running again over Eid. Book a minimum of two nights before May 31 and receive a room upgrade to the next category and resort credit from Dhs800-1000. How can you resist?
3) In the wild
With so much to do, Sir Bani Yas Island in Abu Dhabi is the home of wild family adventures. So this Eid, the added bonus that children stay and eat for free at Anantara Desert Islands Hotel Resort & Spa is great news. Carve memories together at the resort with a choice of activities such as the ancient sport of archery. Discover nature on a walk through stunning landscapes. Follow free-roaming wildlife on a 4×4 journey…it’s all there! Rates start from Dhs1260.
4) Eid onboard
We love this historic ship and, specially for Eid, The Queen Elizabeth 2 is putting up a selection of onboard deals to take full advantage of the iconic ocean liner permanently docked in Dubai. Enjoy a two-night stay in a Standard Room either side of a QE2 Brunch experience and relax in the QE2 Spa with 40 per cent off all treatments, request a late check-out and join a complimentary QE2 Heritage Tour all from Dhs790.
5) Historical district
If you’re interested in perhaps the lesser-known side of town, the Hyatt Place Dubai/Wasl District aims to introduce you to the culture of its surroundings through various artistic touch-points within the hotel. Adjacent to a souk, it provides very-good antique sourcing opportunities. This Eid, pay for two nights and get one on the house.
6) On the estate
Plan an escape in a private retreat at Melia Desert Palm in Dubai and savour the 160-acre polo estate. Home to private pool villas, each one-bedroom hideaway house boasts its own distinctive design, or you could choose from intimate room set-ups including the Palm Deluxe Room, Palm Suite or Polo Suite. Room rates start at Dhs700 per night.
7) Dubai’s newest entry
The recently opened Mandarin Oriental Jumeirah, Dubai is just the ticket. Not only does the property have some of the biggest rooms in the city, your little monsters can enjoy a dedicated kids’ pool, complimentary dining up to the age of four, in-room movies on demand, toys and age-appropriate toiletries, and the Little Nomads’ Club.
8) Premium perks
It’s slap bang in the middle of JBR, hosts some of the most lively restaurants/ clubs in Dubai – Luigia and Lock, Stock & Barrel – and has a deal for you. Book a stay at the Rixos Premium between June 4 – 8 and receive a complimentary upgrade to half board, tickets to La Perle Show for two adults and complimentary shuttle transfers to Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates.
9) What a vista
The stunning St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort’s Staycation Package guarantees a 20 per cent discount on the best available rates and complimentary breakfast for two adults and up to two kids. You can also enjoy a 60-minute complimentary massage per room at the resort’s Iridium Spa, while the kids are given free access to their own Sandcastle Kids Club throughout the stay. You’ll also receive a full hour of complimentary water sports equipment rental and access to a selection of group classes at The St. Regis Athletic Club.
10) Marina deals
Located in one of Dubai’s most contemporary areas, a room at the Wyndham Dubai Marina is yours from just Dhs329 per night. As well as beautiful views of the sea and Marina, the hotel is also close to several of the city’s attractions including The Beach at JBR, The Walk at JBR, Marina Mall and the newly-opened Bluewaters Island.