Nothing beats a seaside getaway, even when it’s in the midst of what promises to be a scorching summer.
Our stay at the Hilton Al Hamra Beach and Golf Resort was no exception, with a sprawling private beach that delivered relaxed luxury, albeit limited to the early morning hours and post dusk when the temperatures were more favourable.
Located 45 minutes from Dubai, the Arabian-themed hotel commands a picturesque location, nestled amidst an 18-hole championship golf course and landscaped gardens — a welcome change from the steel and glass that are usually the facade of choice in the UAE’s bustling metros.
Upon check-in, we were upgraded to a one-bedroom suite, one of the only suites at the hotel, we were informed. The subtle blues, golds and browns of the room kept with the decor of the property, each meant to infuse a sense of calm, which should be the key ingredient of any staycation.
However, fawning over our newfound luxurious abode — and its envious walk-in closet — was soon forgotten when the sliding balcony doors opened up to a glorious vista of the Arabian Sea, sparkling in the horizon as the sun made its descent.
A sprawling, pristine beach and the occasional sound of a child’s laughter carried over by the breeze was an ideal setting to unwind as we spent the next hour taking in the breathtaking views.
This, friends, is the true meaning of bliss.
Where to eat
With moonlight now taking prominence (where did the time fly?), we uncurled ourselves from the deck chairs on the balcony and got dressed for an iftar experience that was to follow. For those fasting during Ramadan, the resort offers an iftar buffet at its Lebanese restaurant, Al Jazeera, with live entertainment to set the mood. The spread is available from sunset until 9pm, priced at Dh120 per person, plus taxes.
Non-Muslims have six dining options to pick from, including a Trader Vic’s Mai Tai Lounge on site. A personal favourite is the water facing Le Chalet, which is ideal for those looking for an early supper, followed by a moonlit walk by the beach.
The breakfast, which runs until 11am on Fridays, and is perfect for those who prefer a late sleep-in on their staycation. Although, keep in mind that the heaving buffet spread may need more than 60 minutes to tuck into the treats. We personally recommend the eggs counter, which doubles as a grilled vegetables station, and the sev upma for the vegetarians.
What to do
Because of the heat, we opted for a quick morning dip in one of the hotel’s two pools. Don’t forget to pack the sunscreen folks, because even at 9am, with no shade over the water, the effects can be quite unpleasant.
If you have a few hours tucked away or another night to enjoy, you can explore some of the hotel’s other dining options or make time for the spa; after all, nothing beats a relaxing holiday than a bit of pampering on the side.
Because of its location, the resort is also perfectly positioned next to a Spinneys and Al Hamra Mall for a last minute run in case some amenities have been left at home.
Also, if you are travelling during Ramadan, we also recommend a visit to Al Fayrouz Ramadan Tent that has been set up the Ras Al Khaimah Tourist Authority and is located seven minutes away from the Hilton.
Hilton Al Hamra Beach and Golf Resort.
Other staycations to try
Al Maha, a Luxury Collection, Desert Resort & Spa
Experience the heritage and culture of the desert environment at Al Maha’s retreat nestled amidst the dunes of Dubai Desert Reserve, en route to Al Ain. The Bedouin style architecture and natural surroundings has also found its way into film shoots, including the Salman Khan film, Dabangg.
Offer: Marriott International’s Wander More deal runs until September 30 with a mega 30 per cent discount across suite stay, dining and Al Maha’s Timeless Spa. Non-members can avail a 20 per cent discount. Guests can also opt for day visits with a Dh325 spa package, with pool access, a Jacuzzi and cold plunge.
Le Meridien Al Aqah Resort
The beachside retreat in Fujairah has something for the whole family — pools, kids club, diving adventures and restaurants that offer international cuisine.
Offer: An all-inclusive summer starts at Dh475, unlimited food, drinks and activities. Prizes to won as well. The deal is subject to availability and the rate is applicable to per person per night in a twin sharing room. Minimum length of stay ins two nights. Deal valid until September 30. Blackout dates and other restrictions may apply.
Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar
A little further afield than the other, the five-hour drive and a border crossing into Oman leads up to this hotel that promises dramatic views of Al Hajjar mountain range. Choose between a room giving you unparalleled views of the canyon or a private villa with a plunge pool overlooking a cliff.
Offer: Rooms starting at Dh1,049, with a package that includes daily breakfast for two people and daily dinner, 10 per cent discounts on F&B and spa treatments. Plus, bookings made on the Anantara website get additional resort credit of Dh95 per stay for rooms and Dh191 for villas.