Having just returned from a weekend away to celebrate my birthday, we are relaxed, refreshed and feel as though we have been on a mini holiday, not just a one hour trip out of Dubai! Saying that, there are many issues that could have mared our stay had I not been the forgivnig type. Being in the industry, I tend to make allwances for shortcomings rather than make a fuss when I need to relax. This resort really needs to get back to basics. After two years of operation, service and product should be sharp.
First the positives. You almost feel as if you are on a desert island. Secluded, quiet, no traffic, fresh air. For this reason alone, we will be returning. The pool is a welcome feature, the private cabana on the beach also.
However, I must make some constructive comments. The arrival experince is a disaster. In short, we followed the signage on Emirates Road for Banyan Tree Al Wadi and ended up taking an hour detour to get to our final destination, having ended up in the desert part of the resort instead! Finding the car park which would eventually take us to the boat was another challenge. Had we been aware of this detail, we would have known where to go. Put up some decent signage.
Please, please build a welcome centre. Summer must be a nightmare for guests and staff alike. Install a car shade or car port to protect guests cars from the elements. Even in winter, our car was baking when we returned to it.
The boat over was a welcome surprise but sharing it with contractors was not. I understand hotel staff using the facility with guests but this was unnecessary and other guests may be put out. I am sure there is a better way around this.
Check in was fine and we were escorted to our villa on a buggy, luggage and all. A little far from the restaurant with a small child but in this weather it was pleasant to walk and I was happy to be away from the tractor repairing the beach.
Villa is a WOW, great space. Shame about the pointless outdoor bath that was just a garbage pit. The pool was a littke murky and should be cleaned daily. I didnt see this happen in any villa during our stay.
The villa was not set as my husband had requested for my birthday which was a shame. No cake or fruit. When this did arrive, the resort manager had written the Happy Birthday note to my husband instead of to me. Small details, but important. A check on our D.O.B would have confirmed this.
Please install a nice chrome shower tray in the shower to place the enormous dispensers. Balancing them on a tiny glass shelf whilst trying to dispense shower gel is a challenge in itself. They are not expensive. Water pressure is non existent and the water in the toilet is constantlly bown. There are ways to address this.
Bed sheets were ripped and had holes in, the room had a very powerful smell from the previous guest, there was a cigarette burn in the lovely bed curtains which was a shame, people are so careless. TV is a disaster as the cables come out every night you turn the TV, buy new hairdryers, they look so cheap and beaten up and fix the wardrobe doors, so noisy and they don't close properly!
In Room DIning options are very limited but the quality of the food is super. The same cannot be said of the buffet at breakfast. How hard is is to buy quality croissant? Some muffins, alternative pastries, signage to say what is what, different milk options, yogurts, berries, a decent cheese board not a plate with a few slices. This could be so much better. Our a la carte choice was delicious, toasted banana bread with bacon and sausage, indulgent. There is creativity there, albeit hidden. Sratch away. Coffee was good as was the orange juice. This is always hard to get right. Service was swift but there was only one other table.
Housekeeping service was a separate issue. How do they know when you have put the sign out to service your room? We turned ours at 7.30am. By 1pm, still no visit. we declined day service via reception but still someone came! Turndown was uneventful and unsatisfactory. Towels not replaced in the bathroom and by the pool, glasses not washed, floors not cleaned (as a result, we had ants everywhere. )
On check out we called and called and called to have some help with our luggage. In the end I gave up and called from my mobile. Within two minutes, housekeeping were there to check the mini bar. Could this not have waited until we were at least outside of the room. Ten minutes later, someone came for the luggage.
This resort could be up there with Al Maha and Anantara but right now its not stand out. To the senior managment, spend some time staying in/experiencing your product; its not major issues but a few tweaks here and there will make such a difference. From good to great.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC