Gulf News reader Riaz Ahmad captured this image with a drone in Fujairah Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

There are few things that beat the excitement of going away on holiday, but the stress of flights, airports, jet lag and paperwork often detracts from the relaxing benefits of a vacation. 

Happily for people living in the UAE, with all the charms of one of the world’s most popular destinations at our doorstep, that holiday feeling can be recreated a short drive from home. 

The staycation is now increasingly popular among UAE residents — and why not? A weekend away at a luxury resort, amid sandy beaches, swaying palms, great food and overall pampering, leaves you rested and recharged without the hassles of long-haul travel. 

Advertising agency owner Chetan Madhbhavi and his travel vlogger wife Moushumi Bhuyan love exploring the world, but also enjoy staying local every so often. “I love the comfort of just hopping into my car and not worrying about luggage limitations,” says Bhuyan. 

The couple have a nine-year-old son and appreciate the convenience when it comes to travelling with kids. “With a child, it’s the best form of a break, especially as so many resorts here have fabulous facilities for children’s entertainment,” she adds. 

Many hotels in the country offer such great value that tour operators now see a growing breed of staycation regulars, says Anthony Challinor-Cole, General Manager of luxury tour operator Elegant Resorts Middle East. 

“We’ve seen such a big leap in demand that we’ve recently recruited a specialist just to handle staycations,” he says. “The standard of properties here is fabulous. Whether it’s destinations like Ajman or Ras Al Khaimah, or even in the city, you can be only about an hour away from home, yet you immediately feel like you’re on holiday.” 

And hotels are happy to cater to this market with new products and services. “We’ve definitely seen an increase in the number of UAE residents booking staycations in recent times and we’ve introduced special packages to that end too,” says Anthony Pollocks, Director of Communications, One&Only Royal Mirage. “With three distinctive resorts in one, we offer guests a variety of experiences at the resort — be they culinary experiences, water sports, well-being, or family fun.”