Monday, October 15, 2012

HOTEL CHECK UAE, part 9, Banyan Tree Al Wadi

Banyan Tree Al Wadi revisited - a magnificent desert experience. 

We arrived through the protected desert nature reserve of Al Wadi  where golden sand dunes sent shimmers of heat up through the air. What a contrast from the skyscrapers of Dubai, left behind us an hour ago. 

Stepping out of our luxurious air conditioned car it felt like an oven....thankfully we were whisked to our vast Al Khaimah Tented Pool Villa where within a matter of minutes we were bathing in the huge cool private pool and looking out on to the vast expanse of desert.

Our view stretches forever- and what is more we are cool!

In the summer heat, this is what the Banyan Tree Al Wadi delivers – peace and relaxation – a wonderful contrast from the more bustling atmosphere in Dubai. As long as you are happy to spend your days reading a book and jumping in to your private pool (this is an all pool villa property) every 10 minutes then it makes for a great  place.

And at less than an hour's drive from Dubai, it is very easy to combine with city life. Also easy to combine with beach life, either at one of our beachside Dubai properties or at Banyan Tree's own beach club a short drive away from Al Wadi.

As temperatures cool from mid October to April, more options of things to do open up. The hotel’s excellent raptor centre has a unique champagne and canapes show in the evening and it is impressive to see these huge birds soaring above you before dive bombing to the desert floor.

Desert safari with falcon

Camel rides, an archery centre, apart from the nearby Banyan Tree Beach Club, mean you do have options in the day...particularly useful if you have children in tow.

Children's corner

An all year round must do is the complimentary rainforest experience in the spa. Encompassing a series of spa experiences including sauna, steam room, ice room, salt room, plunge pools, and hydrotherapy jets which you experience over the course of a 45 minute walkthrough with your partner, it is a unique spa session!

In the evenings an aperetif on the rooftop of the Moon Bar was followed by dinner at the desert restaurant ‘Saffran’ serving authentic Thai food. All staff and chefs at this restaurant are Thai and the menu genuine rather than typical tourist choices, and we can honestly rate as the best Thai we have eaten away from Bangkok. Eating on the terrace here comes with the added bonus of views over the desert watering hole and we were lucky enough the see a small group of gazelle passing through for a quick drink under the moonlight....The perfect way to finish our stay here.

Cocktails in the Samar Lounge
See also our last blog on Banyan Tree Al Wadi, with more information on family accommodation.

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