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Anantara Desert Islands Resort & Spa
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 29 January 2014

I went to the resort for 3 nights (16-19 Jan) for my wife's birthday. It was a great vacation, one of our best ones if not the 1st place.
It was somehow a long drive from Dubai but it worth it. When we arrived to the Jetty place, their was a warm welcome by the staff and we stayed at the waiting area. The ferry was good.
The hotel is clean, calm, and relaxing. The staff are very helpful, and they are always meetimg you with a smile on thier face.
I stayed in the (1 Bedroom Villa) which really was amazing. It gives you the privacy you need that you can spend the whole day inside. There is a small pool (heated one) which the kids enjoyed very much. The bedroom is large with a big bathroom, a living room, a dinning area, kitchen, and second toilet.
I enjoyed every single second and would recommend it for my friends.
I think if someone has the budget he should be going to the villa as it is completely a different experience than the normal rooms.

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
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1  Thank Abd A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GM-Anantara-SBY, General Manager at Anantara Desert Islands Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 18 October 2014

Dear Abd A,

Thank you for this wonderful review and for sharing your wife's special day with us. It's true that the villas are simply amazing and for their size and appointments we think they offer a incredible value for money when absolute privacy and luxury is needed. Please keep us in mind for your next family vacation and we hope to welcome you back soon.

Best regards

Mark Eletr
Cluster General Manager
Anantara Sir Bani Yas

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Reviewed 24 January 2014

After a long drive from Dubai for a weekend escape from the city, we were very surprised to find Anatara's main resort in Sir Bani Yas island looking tired, weary and in dire need of a good make over. Maybe we've been spoilt with previous trips to Anatara resorts, but have come to expect a very high quality from this luxury hotel chain. The room was musty, walls covered in marks, balcony splattered in a serious amount of bird excrement (apparently bird breeding season! But could still be cleaned up) and beach area far from paradise with a huge artificial wave break and decking areas needing much more than a lick of paint. For the rate we had paid, we'd rather have our money back and face the long drive back to Dubai and a nice dinner somewhere and our own bedroom.

All was redeemed after a discussion with the manager, who really did listen to our concerns and comments and offered to move us to the recently completed Al Sahel villas in the Middle of the island nature reserve.

When we arrived via one of the resorts land cruisers it was like landing in a different world. Chilled, high quality decor, beautiful setting with gazelles nibbling grass on the front lawns, staff amazing and villas beautiful. Disaster averted my wife and I settled in a wonderful few days. Food great, breakfast looking over the Africa themed savannah outside with peacocks and franklin (grouse like birds) rooting about for their morning snack was awesome. Highly recommend the a dinner round the African stile fire pit and trips into the reserve. Highlight for us was the long mountain biking trip to work off all the calories we'd packed in for dinner the night before right into the reserve..wildlife everywhere and some great company with the other guests and guide.

Conclusion...stay in the villa or Sahel resort if you go to the island. At least until the main resort has been given that face lift.

Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
Thank Grant N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 January 2014 via mobile

My husband gifted us a stay at this amazing resort to celebrate my birthday. He chose the family island getaway package which includes 3 buffet meals, a wildlife safari and 20% spa discount. We chose to drive from Dubai (near ibn battuta mall) to the jetty. It was a long 3 to 3.5 hour drive. There are ferries every 2 hours from the jetty, but since we miscalculated our arrival time we had to wait for an hour when we reached there. But the time flew by so fast thanks to the friendliness and hospitality of the staff who was present in the departure office/welcome area. We also used the time to click some photographs.

The ferry took approximately 20 mins to reach the island and from there probably 15 mins to the resort by bus.. we sighted few gazelles and peacocks during our drive. By the time we reached the hotel it was 5 pm and since it was a weekday the kind staff gave us an upgrade from garden view to premium sea view. We were hugely grateful for that, plus they also gave us the option of checking out late the next day. One of the staff gave us a tour of the resort and also informed of another anantara property on the island we could visit free of charge (the car would also be arranged by them free of cost, but they need 30 min notice).

The room was amazing and so was the view. My husband had asked for a birthday cake and it was already in the room when we checked in. That night we had dinner at samak. The food was very good and we did not have to wait much, very friendly staff.

The next morning which was my birthday I was immensely surprised when I went to the balcony and a flock of sparrows flew and perched on our balcony. They just were looking me and I was so happy! Never had I seen so many sparrows within arms distance. I tried feeding them my cake and they gladly ate it off my hands. I then learnt that they are indeed very smart and observative, and gave each other a chance to eat. This was nature's best surprise to me.

Breakfast was a luxurious buffet at 'palm' after we which we went for the wildlife safari (approximately 1.5 hr). We were lucky to see a cheatah, ostrich, giraffes, mountain goats, gazelles and various birds. Upon returning to the hotel we had lunch at Amwaj (app 5 min walk from the hotel) and this location is where the swimmable beach is. The ambience at amwaj is wonderful with an old middle eastern look. The food was served very fast and again very delicious.

Next we went for a spa session at anantara spa. We chose the desert couple romance package which included a milky bath in a jacuzzi, foot ritual and a 90 minute relaxing massage. The experience was so good that I was emotional when it ended.

We had time to go back to our room and rest for few minutes and finally checked out at 6 pm. The bus was at 6 thirty and we reached to the arrival jetty around 7 thirty. We reached back to Dubai at 11 pm after stopping on the way for a quick dinner.

Overall it was an amazing experience, thank you so much Anantara!

P.S. I couldn't sleep well on the night we checked in because the pillows were too soft and flat to my liking. Only the next day when were checking the room before we checked out, we noticed a pillow choice list in the drawer of one of the side table. I suggest this be kept on the bed instead so that the guests are aware.

Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
1  Thank Maysaz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 January 2014

The hotel is fantastic, very good beach, food and service. We strongly recommend. Very fair cost vs benefit ratio.

Take care with Rotando Airline.. I bought a TKT from Dubai airport and I was not able to find the flight. When we returned from the island no problem with the airplane.

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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1  Thank Meduarda23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
rgerna, Manager at Anantara Desert Islands Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 14 January 2014

Dear Ms. Meduarda,

It was a pleasure having you stayed in our hotel, and we thank you for taking time to share your comments on Tripadvisor. It was most kind of you to share your thoughts with us since your responses will help us to shape the future of our services, your help in this regard is most appreciated.

I was very happy to read that you and your partner enjoyed your short but memorable vacation with us. I have also extended your appreciation to all our staff and they also thank you for giving us the opportunity to serve you and it's our pleasure to serve you again.

However, was sorry to read that you had a little bit of issue with the flight booking, rest assured that we will relay this to the concerned airline to avoid recurrence.

Ms. Meduarda, our hotel is most grateful to you for your time and effort in providing feedback to us. We rely on such inputs from our guests since we are continually striving to provide our guests with the best in service and accommodations.

Thank you and we are looking forward to welcome you back soon.


Karin Jongman
Executive Assistant Manager

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Reviewed 27 December 2013

It was with a bit of trepidation that we embarked on this trip. We had heard so many positive things and a few negative things about this resort. However I can only add high praise to the list of reviews. This hotel is comfortable and aesthetic, lots of great little places to sit quietly and indulge in some R and R inside and out. The Library area was our saving grace as we couldn't get a late check out to coincide with our plane departure. Nevertheless we sat up in the library area and watched a few movies off our lap top.

The hotel staff go out of their way to assist. And because it was Christmas many of them doubled up as choristers and Santa even came for a visit! Kids were treated with a Christmas stocking and presents on Christmas morning - just such a nice touch.

We enjoyed all the food at all the restaurants and with the addition of the Al Sahel(?) resort, guests can travel between the the main hotel, Al Yamm and the new African themed huts to enjoy all the restaurants.

Sir Bani Yas island is very special historically and geographically, the staff that took us out on the activities helped to make us appreciate how truly unique this island is!

It really was very relaxing and staff couldn't have done more. The only criticism I would have is that there was a lot of advertising on the Hotel website about Christmas activities and food options that didn't materialise - the staff were able to explain why some options weren't available and others weren't aware of the website details. I believe the hotel more than compensated for some of the issues, but the website could have been updated immediately.

Room Tip: Pick a room on the 3rd or 4th floor for best views of ocean. 2nd floor views are blocked by palm tre...
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  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
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1  Thank Helen-AD1234
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 December 2013

A luxury week in the sun on Sir Bani Yas Island in December. The Desert Islands Hotel lived up to our expectations - first class throughout. The hotel is modern with all the facilities that you would expect, including free WI-FI & satellite TV. The public areas are tastefully furnished with antique Arabic furniture and nick-nacks.
We spent most of our time lazing by the pool. The staff were attentive and nothing seemed too much trouble - arranging sunbeds, towels, drinks etc. The pool area is lovely with plenty of patio and grassy areas to sit out on.
We visited two restaurants - one buffet and one a la carte - both served very nice food and service was 5 star. We also took a minibus to an Italian restaurant 15 minutes away at the hotel’s Villa area. The food and service here was excellent, just like the other restaurants, and we ate outside which was a real pleasure in December.
We went on a game drive which lasted for 90 minutes, the ranger was very knowledgeable and we saw the giraffes, cheetahs and various antelopes. The effort and resource expended on the Island is astounding - miles and miles of irrigation to keep the island green and all the water is piped from desalination plants on the mainland.
My wife went horse riding one day, which included cantering along Royal Bay. (I was left to fend for myself and I didn’t break anything….)
Our travel plans had to be changed due to a government conference taking over the hotel the day before we were due to leave, which was disappointing, but not the fault of the hotel. They arranged for us to stay in their sister hotel back in Abu Dhabi for the last night. The deputy manager of the hotel handled things very well when she became aware of our disappointment at the enforced change to our plans. She made every effort to ensure that we enjoyed our stay, as did all of her staff.
For our trip, we flew Ethiad from Heathrow, leaving at 09:30 and arriving in Abu Dhabi at 20:00 local time. A cheap 20 minute tax ride took us to an Aloft hotel near Al Bhateen airport where we overnighted for a morning flight to Sir Bani Yas. We booked this internal flight directly through Rotana Jet Aviation Abu Dhabi Phone: 02 444 33 66. The flight takes about half an hour. We did the return journey from the island on the ferry (which is free), as the flights don’t operate every day. The boat only takes 30 minutes but the drive from where it docks back to Abu Dhabi takes 2 ½ hours – an easy motorway drive but very little to see along the journey.
Overall a very pleasant week in the sun- not the cheapest but very relaxing, and we would return.

Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
2  Thank Annepaull
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 December 2013

We came here to celebrate my wife's birthday. The location is nice and the resort offers a variety of activities. The hotel is nicely situated and staff are friendly. We found the level of knowledge and competency below what one would expect in such a resort. To start with the competency in English is poor. The rooms were equiped with Nespresso machines but there eerie no decaf coffee pods. So we tried to order some. We tried several people and even went down to the front desk as NO one understood what "decaf" mentor how to get it. Housekeeping was poor, they failed to remove milk pots they served with coffee and by our third day there were three in the room they forgot to take away. The fridge was empty!? Restaurants are ok but the food is a " hit and miss". Last ice both my wife and I ordered what the hotel touted as "home made " ice cream. Mine was good but my wife's was crystallized and did not taste good at all!!! Yesterday we went on a tour organized by the hotel. On our return there was a flat tire. The guide could not use the spare as it was fastened with a screw which he did have a tool to unscrew. So he called for another car but could not explain where we were. So he left us and after a while I called the hotel to let them know we are stranded but NO one picked up the phone .nly after several attempts over z15 minutes did someone finally answer!! We finally saw the rescue car but the driver was on top of the hill as she no idea how to get down tp puck us up, so we climbed and managed to get to her.

Room Tip: I think a villa would be better than the hotel room.
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  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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1  Thank gizmoguycdn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Anantara Desert Islands Resort & Spa

Address: P.O. Box 12452, Al Ruwais, Sir Bani Yas Island 00945, United Arab Emirates
Region: United Arab Emirates > Emirate of Abu Dhabi > Sir Bani Yas Island
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: £251 - £678 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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 & Spa By Anantara Hotel Sir Bani Yas Island
Desert Islands Resort And Spa By Anantara
Desert Islands Hotel
Anantara Desert Islands Resort & Spa Emirate Of Abu Dhabi/Sir Bani Yas Island

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