After months of planning, no sandstorm or rough tide would stop me from finally experiencing the incredible Anantara Al Yamm Resort on Sir Bani Yas Island.
Setting off from Dubai at 8:45am to make the 12pm boat over to the Island, we went from running out of fuel and making a few wrong turns, to making it just in the nick of time!
What intrigued me most was the history of the actual island and the amount of work invested over the last couple of decades. Spanning over 87 km2, the reserve was established in 1977 by Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Thanks to decades of conservation work and ecological investment, it is now home to thousands of large free-roaming animals including cheetahs, giraffes and gazelles, and several million trees and plants.
A bird sanctuary as well as a wildlife reserve, the hotel organises a number of adventurous activities such as safaris, kayaking, mountain biking, archery, hiking and snorkeling.
A short twenty-minute journey across the bay, we reached the island before hopping into a minivan that chauffeured us to the main entrance of the gorgeous Al Yamm Resort. Driving through the island we came across a number of giraffes and dozens of gazelles before pulling up to the hotel’s main entrance.
After being greeted by the lovely general manager, we were given a complete tour of the hotel’s villas, restaurant, pool and facilitates, before checking in to our very own villa overlooking the beach.
Just epic. A beach front, one-bedroom, villa was all ours for the weekend. What I loved most was the huge bathroom with a double basin. You definitely won’t be arguing with the misses over basin space. With an enormous king sized bed overlooking a panoramic view of the beach, you’ll most probably spend the majority of your time on the back porch soaking up the beautiful scenery.
If you’re a little lazy like myself, you can have buggy carts pick you up from your villa with just a quick phone call to the concierge. You’ll definitely be using this service after dinner, trust me.
After munching on “road-trip” snacks for the entire three hour journey, I needed a decent meal. It’s as if my prayers were answered when the hotel manager informed me of their Italian restaurant, Olio. I’ll let the photo speak for itself.
An hour before sunset, we hopped into our open-air four-wheel drive and off in search of cheetahs and anything we could get our eyes on for a quick snap. After dozens of gazelles and giraffes and fourty minutes in, we finally came across the spectacular cheetah brothers as they rested after a big meal.
With this being my very first safari adventure, I highly enjoyed the entire experience. From constantly keeping an eye out for the unexpected to being up and close to incredible safari animals, its a must.
For a completely different menu, Olio invited us for a delicious dinner by the beach. We ordered everything from seared tuna, lobster tail, Japanese wagyu, lamb rack and black cod, followed by some light and refreshing ice-cream.
If you’re planning on impressing your partner, celebrating a birthday or anniversary, or even ready to pop the big question, you should definitely look into the wonderful “Dining by Design” service the resort offers. It’s a private dinner for two, beachside or within the island’s wadi/date farm, with your very own chef cooking up a barbecue feast.
My favourite part of the day and possibly the only thing that gets me out of bed every morning…a mean breakfast!
If you’re after a chilled and relaxing weekend to get away from the “outside world”, I highly recommend a stay at the Anantara Al Yamm Resort on Sir Bani Yas Island. We enjoyed every aspect of the resort and its facilities, and will be visiting the lovely team again very soon for round two!