Check In: Iberotel Miramar Al Aqah Beach Resort
The Iberotel Miramar Al Aqah Beach Resort, set in an alcove of the stunning Hajaar Mountains, brings a little bit of Morocco to the UAE. From the colourful lanterns in the entrance to the archways in the building design, there’s an old-world charm about the low-rise resort – simplistic and understated with a strong Arabian-Moroccan influence running throughout.
The hotel tries hard to be environmentally friendly, recycling waste and growing vegetables for the restaurants – a welcome change from Dubai’s energy-spending extravagance. If a quiet family getaway is on the agenda, this green haven is for you.
THE SPA: ADAM AND EVE SPA
The spa is simple but elegant, with separate locker rooms, jacuzzis and steam rooms for men and women (note – this is not one for shy changers as the one thing the spa lacks is changing rooms!). We tried out a mini back massage and an express facial – both great if you need a quick fix!
The resort has a huge outdoor pool, and, if you want to avoid kids, there’s an adults-only pool in the spa. One thing you don’t need to worry about is getting a sunbed as the huge pool is surrounded by what seems like hundreds of comfy recliners! There are also tennis courts and a gym for sporty types, plus a 200m private beach, perfect for a romantic stroll.
THE BARS: BLISS DISCOTHEQUE and LOBBY BAR TERRACE
The resort has the only club in the whole area, Bliss Discotheque, where DJs play R’n’B and house with a bit of Arabic music thrown in. The club is really popular with local young adults on weekends and each night has a different theme. Saturday is cocktail night with 25 per cent off, Sunday is Latino night where instructors teach you how to dance, Tuesday is ladies’ night and Wednesday is Mexican night with 50 per cent off deals.
Plus on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays there are belly dancers and a happy hour deal from 8pm to 10pm where drinks are two-for-one! Hotel guests get free entry (Dhs100 for non-hotel guests) on Thursdays and Fridays. The club is not the hippest but worth checking out if you’re looking for some late-night entertainment.
If clubbing isn’t your thing, chill out with shisha and live entertainment at the Lobby Bar terrace. Once a month the resort also holds a full moon party on the beach, complete with a BBQ and a fire show!
THE RESTAURANTS: SENSASIA, AL MAJLIS, MAMMONE, CORLIONI’S, AL MOLTAQA lounge and BAHARI BAR
The best place for dinner is modern Asian-fusion restaurant Sensasia. We recommend the mixed satay skewers to start and sea bass and lobster specialities for mains. An international buffet breakfast is served at Al Majlis – a huge open-plan restaurant that also serves buffet lunches with a different theme every day. Other eateries include Italian restaurant Mammone; Al Moltaqa Lounge serving Arabic and oriental dishes on the terrace; Corlioni’s, a pool bar with international cuisine, and snack bar Bahari Bar.
The decor in the bedrooms is more modern than the rest of the hotel with simple brown and cream furniture and balconies facing either the Indian Ocean or the pool. We stayed in a deluxe sea-view room with comfy beds, a living area, desk, chargeable internet, flat screen TV and a bathroom full of Miramar products.
Dependant on season: superior suite from Dhs900, deluxe suite from Dhs1,000 and executive suite from Dhs1,100.
Signature spa treatment
The Royal Hammam (80 minutes) includes a Moroccan-inspired steam bath, a massage with enriched olive and eucalyptus oil and a body scrub, Dhs550.
The staff can organise pick-up and drop-off to the airport or within the UAE. Pick up from Dubai costs Dhs365 per car each way. Just remember to re-confirm to avoid disappointment.
Ladies’ night at Bliss Discotheque
Free entry and one free drink for all girls.
Day pool pass
Dhs150 per person, Dhs200 per person including an international buffet lunch at Al Majlis restaurant. Pool passes are only available from Sunday to Thursday.