Sir Bani Yas Island is practically near Ruwais – it takes around three hours and thirty minutes to get to the jetty lounge (from Dubai) and a 20-minute boat ride thereafter. But that’s the beauty of this retreat. Leave the stress of the city life behind and head to this island established in 1977 by the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. The wildlife reserve spans over 87 square kilometres and is home to gazelles, peacocks and beautiful animals you will hardly ever spot in the country – unless at a zoo, of course. Here’s our Review: Al Sahel, Anantara Sir Bani Yas Island Resorts
 

If you, like us, grew up in the UAE, this place is as exciting as an all-expenses-paid shopping spree. Why?

  • You get to see giraffes and ostriches roaming around your vehicle, just chilling in their natural habitat.
  • The Al Sahel Villa Resort where free-roaming peacocks and gazelles visited us in the backyard of our rustic-style one bedroom pool villa ever so often is cool AF!
  • The villa has a yoga mat and hairband, for women like me who can never figure out where they disappear off too!? Additionally, it offers great wifi coverage, bird food sachets, and a handy Nespresso coffee machine.
  • The bathrooms are equipped with Elemis toiletries.

 
ACTIVITIES TO TRY
The Anantara Sir Bani Yas Island Resorts cluster offer a plethora of activities ranging from kayaking to tennis, snorkeling, mountain biking and nature trails. We opted for the Nature and Wildlife drive for a one-of-a-kind experience that felt similar to an African safari. Jump onto the Discovery for 1 ½ hour journey, to spot Oryx species, Arabian Oryx, ostriches, geese, cheetahs, and giraffes, amongst others.
 
DINING OPTIONS
OLIO
The meals begins with fresh cherry tomato bread to dunk in olive oil and balsamic, and we followed this with ravioli filled with ricotta cheese, topped with creamy taleggio, and pecan nuts for a little crunch. For mains, I dove into six succulent mint-crusted lamb chops with mashed baby potatoes, asparagus, and crispy bits of garlic and rosemary. My partner opted for the beef tenderloin with a side of creamy polenta and truffle, drizzled with balsamic reduction for acidity. Both dishes comprised of premium quality meat and were quite generously portioned. We shared a traditional coffee-soaked tiramisu before heading back to our rooms for a siesta.
AMWAJ
Seafood-lovers will love this spot for fresh crustacean and fish. We recommend the hearty shrimp and scallop laksa to begin, followed by fresh and plump seabass – served grilled or baked with just the right portion of spinach and ceps, mashed potatoes with black truffle oil and grilled Mediterranean vegetables. I ended with a sublime tangy lemon tart while Mr. T chose a choclate-based dessert – typical.
 
BOOK YOUR STAY
The One Bedroom pool villa with breakfast is available for Dhs3,187 per night. 
Visit sir-bani-yas-island.anantara.com
 
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