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The Best Mini-Breaks Around The UAE
Posted on Jun 05, 2013 by Rob Kellaghan
Indulge yourself this summer with some of the best mini-breaks around the UAE
Public holidays and long weekends offer weary expats a great excuse to depart on a well earned mini-break. While the temptation to travel outside of the UAE is irresistible to some, there are a number of great mini-break options a little closer to home. UMI looks at locations that can be easily reached from cities like Dubai.
Banyan Tree Al Wadi
Offering far more than your average health resort, Banyan Tree Al Wadi takes the spa experience to a whole new level. Located on the Emirates Road highway just an hour’s drive from Dubai, this resort is the perfect getaway for expats looking to relax, unwind and enjoy a few days of shameless pampering.
Designed to replicate a rainforest in the middle of the desert, Banyan Tree is a 3,960 square meter site built on what was the UAE’s first hydrothermal circuit. The result is a series of pools, saunas, steam rooms and showers that are set deep in an imitation tropical rainforest. Large and luxurious tented villas along the resort’s perimeter only serve to enhance the jungle experience, and help provide visitors with extremely relaxed and comfortable surroundings.
First class dining options are available on site, with a choice of traditional Middle Eastern or Thai cuisine. Private dining is also possible at certain locations at the resort, allowing guests to enjoy a romantic dinner in a truly spectacular setting. In addition to spa treatment, the more adventurous can participate in wildlife spotting and hunting with falcons, or undertake a drive through the desert. Banyan Tree Al Wadi is a popular location at weekends and during holidays with early reservation strongly recommended.
Miramar Al Aqah Beach Resort
Those who like the beach and watersports, but who are starting to get bored of public beaches in and around Dubai can visit the Miramar Beach Resort to remember all that is good about beaches in the UAE. The Miramar is situated at the far end of the Al Aqah strip in Fujairah, and comprises some 200 meters of wonderful beach, azure-blue sea and an array of sporting activities. Both a water sports and diving company are based here, offering a choice of either fun-filled water activities, or a more relaxed snorkelling or scuba diving session.
As a private beach resort with its own accommodation and hotel facilities, the Miramar is an excellent choice for a mini-break for the whole family. In addition to diving, there are also options to go kayaking, parasailing, waterskiing, body boarding, or to jump aboard a banana boat or donut ride for added excitement. Beside the beach are a number of smaller swimming pools and restaurants which offer a wide selection of cuisine when the sun goes down.
Fujairah is roughly a two hour drive from Dubai and is a lively resort, particularly at weekends. While it offers some excellent mid-week rates for families, please note that prices do rise at weekends and during holidays.
Bab Al Shams Desert Resort
Popular with couples looking for a romantic getaway, Bab Al Shams is a health resort and spa located just one hour’s drive from Dubai. The grounds look like they were once home to an ancient fort, and it is this traditional style and eerie quietness which has proved so attractive to expats looking to escape the fast pace of the city.
Bab Al Shams offers all the usual services and treatments available at most resorts, however it is the unusual setting that makes it a good choice for a mini-break. Right at the center of the resort is a massive split level pool which offers amazing views of the surrounding desert. At night time the resort really comes alive with an outdoor restaurant featuring local cuisines, live music and even belly dancing. Additional restaurant options include Indian dining and a traditional Italian pizzeria.
Activities such as camel riding, horse riding, archery, mini-golf and desert safaris are also available to those looking to expend some energy while on holiday.
Ras Al Khaimah
Sometimes described as the ‘quiet emirate,’ Ras Al Khaimah is actually a good choice for anyone looking to have an active mini-break. Large tracts of this part of the UAE are hilly and it is a popular destination for rock climbers. While some of the peaks and cliffs are not suitable for novices, companies such as Global Climbing offer guided tours for climbers of all abilities, including beginners. A typical climbing mini-break involves breakfast, a full day of climbing followed by quiet nights getting acquainted with fellow climbers at an outdoor barbecue. Accommodation is geared towards outdoor camping and local guides will help find suitable locations for tents.
Ras Al Khaimah also has excellent tourist resorts featuring world-class golf courses, five-star hotels, numerous beach resorts plus activities such as wildlife safaris and light aviation courses. This emirate is conveniently located just an hour’s drive from Dubai, and its increasing popularity with tourists was evident in 2012 with over 1 million tourists visiting the area.
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