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“Unique” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Anantara Desert Islands Resort & Spa

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Anantara Desert Islands Resort & Spa
Certificate of Excellence
Milton Keynes
Level Contributor
149 reviews
89 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 194 helpful votes
“Unique”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 March 2012

The hotel is situated on Sir Bani Yas Island is reached by water taxi from the Jebel Dhana jetty. Transfers can be hit and miss as they are subject to weather conditions and coastguard approval. We were delayed two and half hours crossing over as the sea was choppy but were well looked after in the hotel lounge located near to the jetty. Beware! The island can get cut off if the coastguard declares it is unsafe for the water taxi so be careful when you arrange to catch flights in Abu Dhabi. The twenty minute crossing in the choppy sea was a rolling and bumpy one in our view due to the design of the boat - we have had more comfortable transfers in the Seychelles and Maldives in worse conditions. Once on the island there is a thirty minute coach transfer to the hotel. As we approached the hotel we thought it was a power station due to the unimaginative exterior design! However, once inside things improved immensely. Our deluxe balcony room had a wonderful view out to sea and was comfortable, spacious and well equpped with free wi-fi and complimentary bottled water. There was a good range of foods for breakfast but the coffee service was very pooor. Staff clearing tables didn't check to see if a further drinks service was required. The cooking station was staffed by one person who was poaching eggs, toasting the bread and serving it to the table. My wife's fried eggs were delivered by the cook to the table when she had nearly finished. Whoever is managing breakfast needs to observe the breakfast service at the Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort. Dinner in The Palm is a la carte with a good choice from the menu and good service. We also ate at Samak the sea food restaurant and the food and service here was very, very good. Of the staff we met during our stay some were smiling and always greeted us while others were more reserved. April on Guest Services was fantastic - we had a transfer problem - and she not took ownership of it but resolved it - enabling us to get on with our holiday. She was always smiling and had a greeting for guests. There are a good range of activities provided by knowledgeable and friendly guides - we can recomment the nature and wildlife drives and walks.

Room Tip: Go for a sea view room
See more room tips
  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Walkhome
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GM_Christian_Zunk, General Manager at Anantara Desert Islands Resort & Spa, responded to this review, 11 March 2012
Dear Valued Guest,

Thank you for taking the time to offer your feedback about your recent stay with us, with regards to our amazing spacious sea view rooms and glorious activities. We pride ourselves in ensuring that our guests experience is seamless and we are proud to have achieved this with you. We were also very delighted to learn that you enjoyed the Sea food restaurant “Samak” and had a fabulous time during your breakfast. We are truly pleased that we successfully exceeded your expectations.

It was truly disappointing to hear that bad weather and our F&B team at the time did not accommodate your requests to complete satisfaction. Please note that we are working with owner office to improve the boat facilities to manage such critical situations and I have shared your feedback and concern with my Food and Beverage Management Team stressing the importance of complete guest satisfaction and created smoothest attendance experience, to prevent further such guest displeasure.

Please accept my sincere apologies for the inconvenience and frustration you experienced and forgive us for our shortcomings I hope these incidents have not marred your overall impression of Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara.

In the meantime, we remain at your service and look forward to welcoming you back soon.

Kind regards,

Christian Zunk
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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684 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (153)
Date | Rating
  • Arabic first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Dubai, UAE
Level Contributor
134 reviews
57 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 78 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 March 2012

We took up the 2 nights get 1 night free offer and it was a superb weekend away. We live in Dubai and went by car. Home to ferry was exactly 3 hours. We were efficiently checked in at the ferry reception and then took the 20 min boat ride to the island and then a 20 min coach transfer to the hotel. My 5 year old loved the boat and got very excited on the coach looking out for the various animals. The hotel exterior doesn't impress but once inside it is a lovely, mix of Arabic, Eastern and safari which somehow seems to work. We booked the club rooms which are on the 4th floor and that bsically includes soft refreshments throughout the day as well as happy hour drinks and canapes before dinner which was the highlight of my in-laws stay! The rooms are spacious with big balconies and very comfy beds. No complaints there. We had the pick of 3 dining areas; all had good,reasonably priced menus; buffet breakfast was in the Palm room; lunch was usually around the poolside and dinner options were the Palm again and the fish restaurant Samak which was fantastic. Weekends are their busiest time so there was a bbq laid on and they served fresh juicy grilled lobster and prawns. What a treat!

If you are there for a short time you need to go straight to the Excursions office and book your safari tour to avoid disappointment. We did the morning one and had a wonderful time. We were lucky to see the cheetahs and saw lots of deer, oryx, giraffes and emus. We also did the walking tour where they guides take you into the desert and you can observe the animals up close and learn more about them and their habitat. We enjoyed a leisurely bike ride around the island and my husband had my daughter in tow in a buggy where she fell asleep! Rest of the time we swam in the pool, chilled out on the loungers, wandered up and down the beach collecting shells and manage to spot several reef sharks close to the beach. There is also a kids club which was nicely kitted out with toys, books, etc. and a kids climbing frame. I also used the gym and that is well equipped. I also tried out the Spa and had a 90 minute deep tissue back massage which needless to say was wonderful but expect to pay top dollar for it.

For us what made it a lovely holiday was that it was relaxing. The staff are friendly and welcoming and not overly attentive (which we prefer) and the whole atmosphere was easy and calm. I would definitely recommend it and I will no doubt go again in the near future.

It will be interesting to see what the resort will be like once the beach villas and the safari lodges are up and running. They are introducing horse riding and falconry in the coming months. The only reservation I have is that if they develop too big too quickly and start catering for bigger groups it might spoil the exclusive desert island feel.

Remember to take your camera!

Room Tip: Club rooms are on the top floor - 4th floor and include Happy Hour drinks. All rooms face the sea...
See more room tips
  • Stayed March 2012, travelled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank AA88Dubai_UAE
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
skholmatov, Guest Services Manager at Anantara Desert Islands Resort & Spa, responded to this review, 9 March 2012
Dear Guest,

Thank you for your high praise and most generous feedback from your recent stay with us. We were delighted to hear that your Desert Islands experience overall exceeded your expectations. We pride ourselves in ensuring that our guests experience is seamless and we are proud to have achieved this with you.

It was a pleasure to learn that our excursions, restaurants and our friendly staff made your visit a most memorable one. We thank you for your recommendation and look forward to welcoming you back soon. In the interim, we remain at your service.

Yours Sincerely,

Sherzod A. Kholmatov
Guest Services Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dubai
Level Contributor
15 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 February 2012

Nice resort in Sir Ban Yas island; it has some nice activities that must be tried: archery, the wild life safari,etc.

The seafood restaurant its a must try ( the lobster kababs were awesome).

Room Tip: sea view rooms are nice ( room # 304)
See more room tips
  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank camiohara
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
skholmatov, Guest Services Manager at Anantara Desert Islands Resort & Spa, responded to this review, 23 February 2012
Dear Guest,

So glad to hear about your recent experience at Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara!

Thank you for your gracious feedback on delicious “Lasooni kebab” at Samak Restaurant which serves along with Indian species.

We are looking forward for your return.

Sincerely,

Sherzod A. Kholmatov
Guest Service Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
Level Contributor
32 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 February 2012

Just spent 2 nights on Sir Bani Yas Island at Anantara's Desert Island Resort with my wife and 2 children. Private boat transfers took only 20 minutes which was fun for the kids and good way to start the break. The resort itself is on the north end of the island with an infinity pool, kids club and beautiful large bedrooms. What most people forget to talk about is the activities available, in the morning we did the Arabian Wildlife Drive and got to see giraffe, cheetahs and lots of Oryx and Gazelle whilst in the afternoon I went kayaking in the mangroves whilst the wife had a spa treatment.

Food was great with the highlight being the fresh fish selection in Samak which we enjoyed whilst the children watched a movie outdoors under the stars. I would recommend this resort as a great way to escape from the city like we did as part of a week spent in the Emirates in a luxury retreat which we found to be good value for money with excellent staff who went out of their way to give us a great experience.

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank DJGLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
skholmatov, Guest Services Manager at Anantara Desert Islands Resort & Spa, responded to this review, 23 February 2012
Dear Guest,

I will ensure to pass your wonderful comments along to the staff. And thank you for your observation regarding activities, kid’s club facilities and Samak restaurant; in the near future we will add more outdoor activities to make your stay more appealing.

Hope to see you back at Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara!

Kind regards,

Sherzod A. Kholmatov
Guest Service Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dubai, UAE.
Level Contributor
37 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 January 2012

I hate beating down hotels generally but sadly this one needed it.

Initial thoughts
The location is really amazing specially when you remember that you are on a near private island which makes it quite special & the surroundings being so one with nature is just amazing.
The main reason why this hotel stands out is the " African Safari" feel you get from it, so you need to indulge in the variety of outdoor activities they offer at a reasonable price to truly appreciate why
you are paying this price & made the effort to drive all this distance. The staff were really good & attentive and the 50% occupancy would have definitely helped this cause. The hotel itself is doesn't seem to fit the
theme of the island as it sticks out like a sore thumb but having said that once inside you don't mind the imposing figure too much.

Overall, I would have rated the experience good except for the last day when checking out when all went wrong. As this is on a island you need to take a 20min boat ride to get you back to then mainland.
The weather changed dramatically overnight and when we met the reception in the morning they said we couldn't leave the island as the sea was too rough & the coast guard were not approving the boat ride.
This sounded fair as this is beyond the hotel's control but the way the handled the entire process was just appalling. By 3.30 that afternoon they informed all that it was now safe to travel and packed 2 buses full of
people & children and send them off to the jetty knowing full well in reality that no approval was received from the coast guard. So basically we just sat there for hours with no information, no water, no food
for the infants & not a single representative of the hotel available to give us any information. There was not enough space for everyone to sit & to make matters worse a few hours later then sent another bus
load of people again knowing full well that nothing was happening. Everyone was scared & confused and didn't know what to do, when we tried calling the hotel they started giving us some nonsense excuse.

For the brand name & the 5* money you spend in the resort you would naturally except 5* customer service but to get this 1* service is just awful. Sadly, we wanted to try their other Desert Resort but after this
I would never make the same mistake again. A hotel shows its true colours at challenging times & the Anantara failed miserably, you almost got the felling that once you paid/checked out they were feeding you to
the lions (luckily there were none on the island ) !!!

  • Stayed January 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Shane1977
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GM_Christian_Zunk, General Manager at Anantara Desert Islands Resort & Spa, responded to this review, 31 January 2012
Dear Valued Guest,

Thank you for taking the time to share your experience during your recent stay at Desert Islands Resorts & Spa by Anantara. We sincerely appreciate the candid feedback you have given us.

Please accept my sincere apologies for the underwhelming impression you received of our property. An experience such as the one you described is particularly disheartening for us as we truly pride ourselves in creating lasting memories for our guests.

We do agree with you on the weather condition which had changed dramatically within few hours, such weather condition doesn’t exist at all the time however it can happen during winter season only. Our boat operation is depending on Abu Dhabi Port Control and they allow us to sail when it’s safe. Although we sent all our customers as soon ADCP consent to do the boat transfers.

I would certainly look forward to discuss about crises management with concerned senior team and do the needful. As our hotel located 20 minutes far from departure jetty which took time for us to deliver complimentary food and drinks at that day.
I look forward to your return to our beautiful property and will remain at your service.

Sincerely,

Christian Zunk
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Anantara Desert Islands Resort & Spa

Property: Anantara Desert Islands Resort & Spa
Address: P.O. Box 12452, Al Ruwais, Sir Bani Yas Island 00945, United Arab Emirates
Region: United Arab Emirates > Emirate of Abu Dhabi > Sir Bani Yas Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 3 Hotels in Sir Bani Yas Island
Price range (per night): ₹ 18,348 - ₹ 65,821
Hotel Class:5 star — Anantara Desert Islands Resort & Spa 5*
Number of rooms: 64
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
With 64 luxuriously appointed rooms, suites, spacious one-bedroom villas and truly luxurious two-bedroom Royal Villas, Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara invites you to live out your own Arabian nights in a destination that is anything but ordinary. 240km from Abu Dhabi City and just eight kilometers off the Abu Dhabi emirate’s western coastline, the island beckons with a mystique that is worlds away from the hustle and bustle of modern urban life. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Desert Islands Resort & Spa By Anantara Hotel Sir Bani Yas Island
Desert Islands Resort And Spa By Anantara
Desert Islands Hotel
Anantara Desert Islands Resort & Spa Sir Bani Yas Island, Emirate Of Abu Dhabi

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