Sir Bani Yas Travel Guide

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Anantara's New Abu Dhabi Resort Offering Up Royal Treatment

November 3, 2008 at 9:30 AM | by | ()

As we learned when visited the king of Cambodia’s vacation-home-turned-hotel a few weeks ago, booking a room where royalty once slept is a surefire way to leave life as a commoner behind…at least for a night.

The new Desert Islands Resort & Spa, owned by the Anantara chain, is located on the grounds of the former nature reserve of His Highness Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, aka the guy who founded the United Arab Emirates.

After the sheikh died in 2004, obituaries extolled his focus on development, women’s rights, religious tolerance — and concern for the environment. As testament to this, the hotel is located on the largest preserve in the Arabian Gulf, with rare species like oryx, reem, antelope, cheetah, hyena, and desert wolf roaming the grounds.

In the center of this dense fauna is the resort whose 64 rooms, each decorated in rich golds and burgundys, start at about $630 per night. Guests venture out from their comfy surroundings into the reserve on guided safaris or to snorkel, kayak, mountain bike and fish. If you just want to relaz, there is a Safaa Spa onsite and several dining options.

Let's just hope that you don't have any wild run-ins with either the oryxs, reems, antelopes, cheetah, hyenas or desert wolfs.