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“Disappointing start but great finish” 3 of 5 bubbles
Review of Anantara Desert Islands Resort & Spa

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Anantara Desert Islands Resort & Spa
Certificate of Excellence
Canada
Level Contributor
43 reviews
38 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“Disappointing start but great finish”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 August 2013 via mobile

First time here with my sis family, my family, and my father and mother. We had major issues with the quality of food the first day, prompting my sister to speak to the manager ( she is not a picky eater). The kids did enjoy the pool, and it was a kid friendly hotel. The weather outside was too hot, so we weren't encouraged to do the outdoor activities. However, the staff here is to be commended, they responded immediately regarding the quality of the food where we noticed a distinct uplift of quality the 2nd day of our visit.

Pros

Service
Family friendly

Cons

Too hot in summer can't do anything outside
Food quality issues

Stayed August 2013, travelled with family
Helpful?
Thank Kinoby
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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716 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (155)
Date | Rating
  • Arabic first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
34 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 August 2013

The location is on a secluded island. Wildlife is free to roam the grounds. We spent 4 nights at this resort as a break from the desert life of Abu Dhabi. We would highly recommend the Wildlife Safari and best time would be late afternoon or very early morning. We were very lucky to see the majority of the animals in the conservation.

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Jellybaby88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Essen, Germany
Level Contributor
12 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 31 July 2013

Is a great hotel, fanatastic, even the way there, when you will picked up at the harbour with a boat, the rooms are amazing. the beachfront is great, the service is fantastic. The sea is amazing, the beach also, as there is no hotels close to the anantara , great!

  • Stayed September 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank rkoca
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
UK
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 July 2013

This is the only resort on an island which is about 2 hours drive from Abu Dhabi - an island which used to be the private retreat of the founder of the UAE and one which still houses his private collection of animals. The latter has been expanded and various breeding programs developed, both for the indigenious species and for those which are introducted species (like giraffes!). So - if you like the idea of a laid back, private resort on a desert island where you can see the stars at night, with first class hotel facilities and a wide range of activities (should you be able to lever yourself from the couch) both aquatic and non-aquatic like horse riding, and a major dose of wildlife watching - and if you won't miss the absence of shopping or night life - this is one for you.
Getting to the resort: reaching the jetty from which the resort boats depart is about 2 hours 15 min drive from the centre of Abu Dhabi. The simplest option is to order a limo through the resort. The boat trip itself is about 20 minutes, and then its a 10-15 min gentle drive by landrover on paved roads across the island and past the large fenced off areas containing various species roaming more or less free to the area where the resort itself is. All very civilised and efficient as far as transfer journeys go - expect cooling drinks, hand towels and offers of coffee throughout the journey.
The resort itself is similar to the Anantara Qasr al Sarab (see my separate review of that), except its by the water side - a lagoon on one side, the open sea channel on the other. The main building is about three stories high, stone, adobe, earth tones and wood plus antiques used throughout to give a sense of authentic location. As far as I could see, every room had a private balcony, with shade being provided by traditional wooden lattice work shutters. If you want to see the sunset from your room, ask for a room either on the third floor (numbers 309-317) or the second floor (209-217), since rooms in the other wing won't face westwards sufficiently to see the sun set. The public rooms are large and airy - there's a lovely library area on the second floor which leads out onto a wide balcony from which you get fabulous views (even more fabulous if you're sipping a cocktail at the same time!). The floor below is where breakfast is served - you can eat inside the room or take your food out to the tables in the garden area itself. Whereever you are, service was efficient and friendly. There are two small shops and one excursions bureau in the main building - but with a limited selection of goods (and pretty expensive). So don't visit if shopping is important for you!
Meals: there are a number of options in respect of where in the resort to eat (there are no options outside the resort itself - this is a desert island, after all), depending on how "fine" the dining is that you prefer. Me, I want as laid back and unstructured as possible, consistent with good food. So I tended to gravitate to the lagoon-side bistro which is about 10 minutes walk from the centre of the resort. Called "Al Warj", it's beyond the conference centre (unused duing my stay). It's not at all well signposted, so just ask the helpful staff for directions. Nice "lounge" feel to the bistro - you can sit outside on the decking, looking at the stars (no light pollution) and snacking on sushi.
Excursions: there's a wide range - and I regret that I didn't take up the horse riding option (run by a young English woman - very knowledgeable and clearly ready to suit the more experienced rider to a suitable horse). Instead I went on two wildlife drives (about four of us in each car), spending about 2 hours slowly going through the various fenced off areas. The highlight - well, there were so many. Coming across two cheetahs lazily flicking their tails as they sheltered from the morning sun in the shade of a tree was amazing... but then so was seeing a herd of giraffe slowly amble into view... or being told by the guides about the various species of oryx (and indeed lots of other deer) in the park. This is nature watching for the lazy - and I loved it. Very knowledgeable guides, too - knew their stuff and clearly enjoyed sharing their knowledge. A well equipped gym is in one of the outhouses.
Staff in the resort were very helpful and welcoming - this is clearly a real Anantara specialilty since it reminded me of Qasr al Sarab. It made for a very relaxing, no hassle type of resort. There were some families with children, and as far as I could see that worked well both for parents and children. They tended to congregate around the pool area, undestandably. But the resort is easily big enough and spread out enough to avoid any sense of crowding. So if other people's children aren't your thing, no problem.
Could it be better? Well, one or two of the buildings needed to be repainted. No doubt upkeep is a particular challenge on an island where everything but everything needs to be imported for the resort. But in general it was all pretty good (if not quite reaching the perfectionist high standards of say Al Maha resort near Dubai). The DVD library turned out to be very small and a strange collection, so bring your own. You might also want to supplement the slightly meagre supplies of shampoo, conditioner and toothpaste that are provided in the rooms - you can buy emergency supplies in the resort shop, but expect to pay handsomely for the privilege to do so. Signposting around the resort is all a bit freestyle - so if in doubt, just ask. That's about it - everything else struck me as somewhere between very good and excellent.

Room Tip: To see the sunset, ask for a room either 309-317 or 209-217
See more room tips
  • Stayed February 2013, travelled solo
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Carolyn2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
117 reviews
37 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 101 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 July 2013

We recently ate at the samak restaurant within this hotel and we were quite impressed.

Our server Moath helped us select from a very nice variety of seafood. He helped customize each flavor to our liking and took the time and effort to find out what we want. We go to a lot of restaurants in Abu Dhabi and Dubai and rarely get this kind of experience.

He also helped us select and use salts for our fish. The Peruvian and Hawaiian salts were great.

The seafood sharing for 2 gave us a ton of variety, and everything tasted good. I recommend getting this over picking individual items.

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Wrstling1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dubai, UAE
Level Contributor
131 reviews
40 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 July 2013

What an amazing wedding anniversary we had...!!! The perfect setting, great staff, exceptional service and amazing meals. I'm the biggest food and adventure critic around and the only negative comment I would make was for the hotel to provide new rescue floating device by the pool and lifeguard station.

Youssef at the Amwaj restaurant went above and beyond to make our anniversary dinner special under the stars on the rooftop. Very romantic setting and a delicious meal. Delilah and Amms in the main dining area remembered that I only have hot water and lemon slice before eating breakfast and she served it without me asking. That's 5-star personalize service.

Mustafa, our safari driver and tour guide was friendly and informative. We were lucky to see the cheetah and giraffes.

Room was spacious, pillows are plunge-like and perfect for me. More lighting in the room would be great.

All in all, I recommend this resort. Thumbs up to management for training the staff well.

This resort is all about love. Mike and Moya.

  • Stayed May 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank MoyaDubai
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
107 reviews
60 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 70 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 July 2013

I went to this property twice, once by Rotana flight from Abu Dhabi airport and the next time I drove. Honestly I enjoyed the 500 kilometers drive from Dubai even though you don't see much on the way except palm trees and radars! The boat ride from Sir Banyas jetty to the resort is fantastic, you will pass by a few windmills and then the drive to the resort, the spectacular view of Arabian oryx gazing all over the island, if you are lucky you might even spot a cheetah! The rooms are huge and spacious, big balconies and a vast swimming pool. They have great staff, very friendly and courteous. Food is excellent! It's highly recommended for all those who are looking for a week-end getaway!

  • Stayed August 2012, travelled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Inasu C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Steven P, General Manager at Anantara Desert Islands Resort & Spa, responded to this review, 12 July 2013
Dear Inasu

May I thank you for taking the time to complete your Trip Advisor review subsequent to your visit with us. It is through receiving these comments, both of a positive and negative nature that we can praise, where praise is due and also identify and act on any shortcomings where appropriate to do so.
I was very happy to read that you had thoroughly enjoyed your stay with us and in particular the wild life, our bedrooms and our food quality. In particular my team were pleased to read that you felt that they were friendly and helpful.
You may be pleased to hear although you have experienced both the drive and Rotana jet arrival experiences, we are increasing the amount of Jets coming to the island from 3 days to 5 days per week from August and this will further enhance the arrival experience.
Many thanks once again for helping us to understand our level of quality provided at the resort and we very much hope look forward to welcoming you back to Desert Island Resort and Spa by Anantara.
Yours sincerely

Steven

Steven Phillips

General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Anantara Desert Islands Resort & Spa

Property: Anantara Desert Islands Resort & Spa
Address: P.O. Box 12452, Sir Bani Yas Island 00945, United Arab Emirates
Region: United Arab Emirates > Emirate of Abu Dhabi > Sir Bani Yas Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 3 Hotels in Sir Bani Yas Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:5 star — Anantara Desert Islands Resort & Spa 5*
Number of rooms: 64
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
With 64 luxuriously appointed rooms, suites, spacious one-bedroom villas and truly luxurious two-bedroom Royal Villas, Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara invites you to live out your own Arabian nights in a destination that is anything but ordinary. 240km from Abu Dhabi City and just eight kilometers off the Abu Dhabi emirate’s western coastline, the island beckons with a mystique that is worlds away from the hustle and bustle of modern urban life. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Desert Islands Resort And Spa By Anantara
Desert Islands Resort & Spa By Anantara Hotel Sir Bani Yas Island
Desert Islands Hotel
Anantara Desert Islands Resort & Spa Emirate Of Abu Dhabi/Sir Bani Yas Island

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