Best Weekend Break
The Winner: Le Meridien Al Aqah Beach Resort
Nestled between a 230m beach on one side and the majestic Hajar Mountains on the other, this 218-room resort offers no less than nine restaurants and bars, all the water sports imaginable, a kids’ and teens’ club and a heavenly spa. It’s a perennial favourite with families and just a 90-minute drive from Dubai. A heady schedule of beach and poolside entertainment takes place all day and well into the evening.
Don’t miss: Save a few dirhams and always check out the hotel website for amazing weekend and group deals.
INFO: Fujairah, 09 244 9000, www.lemeridien-alaqah.com.
Highly Commended: Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa
Five-star luxury in the middle of the desert. Built in the style of a traditional Arabic fort, the resort’s centrepiece is a gorgeous infinity pool that merges seamlessly into the sloping waves of the orange desert dunes. Come sunset, out stroll the camels and in fly the birds of prey.
INFO: Dubai International Endurance City, 04 809 6100, www.meydanhotels.com.
Highly Commended: Banyan Tree Al Wadi
Escape to the desert and relax in your luxury Bedouin-style pool villa within a thriving nature reserve. An Asian-inspired hydrotherapy spa sets you up for relaxation – the name of the game at this luxurious resort.
INFO: Ras Al Khaimah, 07 206 7777, www.banyantree.com.
Six Senses Zighy Bay
Yes, it’s that hotel that you can arrive at via paraglider. Only an hour and half drive from Dubai, yet a world away, hidden in a secluded bay among the mountains of the Musandam Peninsula.
INFO: Oman, 08 26735 555, www.sixsenses.com.
Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa
A private and uber-luxurious sanctuary within a conservation reserve of protected sand dunes. Hide out and watch a passing oryx from your very own suite.
INFO: Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, 04 832 9900, www.al-maha.com.
Qasr al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara
Once the reserve of wandering Bedouins, exploring one of the world’s most foreboding desert landscapes is now possible with a stay at this fortress-style luxurious resort nestled at the base of some of the earth’s tallest sand dunes. Utterly awesome and authentic!
INFO: Liwa Desert, Abu Dhabi, 02 886 2088, www.qasralsarab.anantara.com.
Banyan Tree Ras Al Khaimah Beach
Camp under the canopied ceiling of your beachfront villa, take a dip in your personal plunge pool and watch the waves of the Arabian Gulf lap the sandy shore.
INFO: Ras Al Khaimah, 800 065 0586, www.banyantree.com.
St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort
Three selling points stand out at this five-star hotel: a pristine beach, the region’s first Iridium Spa and the Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, designed by golfing legend Gary Player.
INFO: Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi, 02 498 8888, www.stregissaadiyatisland.com.
Desert Island Resort & Spa by Anantara
Set amid the waters of the Arabian Gulf, this is the only hotel on the exclusive nature reserve of Sir Bani Yas Island offering a luxurious experience as you encounter Arabian wildlife at its best.
INFO: Sir Bani Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, 02 801 5400, www.desertislands.anantara.com.
Fairmont Bab al Bahr
Check out the unrivalled views of the stunning Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque from this strikingly contemporary 369-room hotel. INFO: Between the Bridges, Abu Dhabi, 02 654 3333, www.fairmont.com.