Five miles off the coast of Abu Dhabi, out there in the waters of the Gulf, there’s a resort that just might change your perception of what’s possible in Emirates tourism. In spite of its name, Desert Islands Resort is just one island, the Sir Bani Yas nature reserve — and to look at the verdant landscape, it’s clear this desert island is more a paradise lost than some scrappy patch of sand.
It’s quite a departure from the regional norm. Desert Islands is run by Anantara, best known for beach resorts in Thailand and the Maldives; so the Arabian palace atmosphere is tempered by a healthy dose of island-resort mellowness. What is typically Emirati is the scale of the accommodations, all of which are equipped to the highest five-star standard — rooms are nobody’s idea of small, and the suites are downright lavish.
The pool, the spa, the restaurants are impressive, as you’d expect them to be. What’s unexpected is the breadth of the leisure offerings, from such slightly exotic pursuits as snorkeling and tennis to unique attractions like archery, trail hiking and game drives. The nature reserve makes for an experience that’s not entirely unlike a safari outing, and if that’s what you picture when you think of Abu Dhabi — well, in this case, it just so happens you're right.
View the beauty of Abu Dhabi's beautiful landscape from the comfort of an 8-seat Cessna Caravan or 50-seat Dash-8 aircraft and be transported from Abu Dhabi International Airport direct to Sir Bani Yas Island in a matter of minutes.
The Dash-8 flights, operated by Abu Dhabi Aviation, leave Abu Dhabi and Sir Bani Yas on Thursdays and Saturdays and take 25 minutes. Cessna flights, operated by Empire Aviation, run every Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday and take 50 minutes. Private Cessna charters are available throughout the week. Luggage restrictions apply.
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Sir Baniyas Island, Al Ruwais, Abu Dhabi
+ 971 (0) 2801 5400
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