Eid al-Adha: Last minute UAE staycations

Because you never got around to booking flights in time and now it's too late.

September 5, 2016

Finally after weeks of waiting, this year's Eid al-Adha holiday has been announced and UAE workers will get to enjoy a five-day weekend.

If you were smart you would have spotted the Eid weekend months ago, taken a risk on when it would be called and booked a holiday already, while prices were low. 

If you weren't, then you're now looking at the cost of flights wondering how airlines can justify, in some cases, a 200 per cent hike over the five-day period. 

In reality though you don't need to sit on a plane for five hours just to enter holiday mode for a few days. The emirates have enough hidden resorts of their own to make a staycation just as worthwhile. Here are a few EDGAR recommendations: 

Al Maha Desert Resort

It's not every day you get wild oryx strolling up to your villa's private pool for a drink. Well, actually, that is the kind of thing that does happen everyday at Al Maha. Based a brisk 60-minute drive from Dubai, not only is the five-star desert resort super exclusive, but it is the only commercial property located within the vast 225km/sq wilderness that is the Dubai Desert & Wildlife Conservation Reserve.

Each of the resort's 42 private villas has its own pool and views over the seemingly endless rolling dunes, and while the heat can peak at an aggressive 50-degrees in the summer months, the desert breeze, ample shade from the Ghaf trees and air-conditioning keep things manageable.

Details: visit al-maha.com

Anantara Sir Bani Yas, Abu Dhabi

Despite what that daydreaming, teenage boy in you wants to believe – the cold, hard truth of the matter is that Jurassic Park doesn't exist. But with Sir Bani Yas island, you've got the next best thing. Located in Abu Dhabi's Western Region (about five hours drive or 45-minutes flight from the UAE capital), the island is a conservationists dream with wildlife roaming free in what is a true desert safari.

Perfectly positioned to make the most of this is the excellent Anantara Al Yamm Villa resort. Built with the island’s ecosystem in mind, the 30 villas focus on sustainability and are inspired by the barasti lodges of traditional Arabic fishing villages.

Details: visit al-yamm.anantara.com

One & Only The Palm, Dubai

Getting away from it all is not necessarily only about setting course for the country's remotest areas, in fact there are plenty of properties right in the thick of it where you'll feel a million miles from city life. The One & Only, The Palm is one of these places. Perched on the end of The Palm, the One & Only is one of Dubai's best kept secrets.

The subtle property may only look like it's a stones throw from Dubai Marina, but as soon as you step through its main door, you – figuratively – couldn't be further away. The low-rise rooms are surrounded by green gardens, idyllic water features and have spectacular night time views over the Dubai coastline – it also helps that staying there allows you experience some of the city's finest restaurants and the award-winning Spa. 

Details: visit thepalm.oneandonlyresorts.com

Waldorf Astoria, RAK

Dominating the pristine RAK coastline, the Waldorf Astoria has made a name for itself as a staycation hotspot for UAE residents. The imposing 346-room hotel is decked out with alluring treats including four different restaurants – we recommend the stylish the Lexington Grill Steakhouse – an 18-hole golf course, a luxurious spa and 350 metres of private beach.

Details: visit waldorfastoria3.hilton.com

Six Senses, Zighy Bay

OK, so while technically it might not be in the UAE, a list of local retreats would seem incomplete if it didn't include the incredible Zighy Bay resort. Located just across the northern UAE-Oman border at Dibba, the beachside resort is only accessible by 4x4, boat or paraglider. Yes, you read that correctly.

As if staying in a five-star heaven carved into the jagged bay in the stunning Musandam mountains was not enough, the hotel bosses have arranged it so that guests can paraglide down to check-in from the 300-metre high rock face above. With seven different types of villas, this rustic five-star resort has somewhat of a village feel to it. Add that to the world renowned Six Senses Spa and you've got an Eid getaway to envy, right on your doorstep.

Details: visit sixsenses.com