TRAVEL NEWS

Friday - - Contents -

Fri­day of­fers hot tips and must-visit places, in­clud­ing a sneak peek of Oberoi’s new re­sort in Aj­man.

The UAE’s sec­ond Oberoi Ho­tel, The Oberoi Beach Re­sort, Al Zo­rah, is gear­ing up for busi­ness af­ter Ra­madan, Fri­day has learned. The lux­ury ecore­sort, one of the hottest open­ings this year, had its soft open­ing last week. Sur­rounded by la­goons and lush man­groves, it has been de­signed by Ital­ian ar­chi­tect Pierro Lis­soni, and is Aj­man’s first five-star ‘beach re­sort’. Lux­ury is taken se­ri­ously here – the 113-key ac­com­mo­da­tions are a mix of suite vil­las and three- and two-bed­room vil­las, each of which has its own sun­deck and pool. Even the deluxe rooms come with pri­vate ter­races. On the F&B front, the re­sort will have three restaurants, of which Vi­nesse is an in­ter­na­tional eatery and Aquario is a seafood grill res­tau­rant. The Pool­side lounge’s high­lights are healthy tapas and fresh juice. If it’s leisure you’re af­ter, the 18-hole Nick­laus De­sign cham­pi­onship golf course and wa­ter­sports like jet ski­ing, ba­nana boat rides, kayak­ing, wind­surf­ing and sail­ing should keep you oc­cu­pied, or sim­ply take a stroll along the re­sort’s 1.6km white-sand beach. The new re­sort also has the Sen­sio Spa for some R&R. A Turk­ish ham­mam and Ayurvedic mas­sages are pro­vided in pri­vate ther­apy suites, while the heated in­fin­ity pool is in the 24-hour gym­na­sium. The Oberoi Al Zo­rah also has a busi­ness cen­tre equipped with pri­vate meet­ing rooms and a con­fer­ence room. Rooms start from Dh1,500; visit oberoi­ho­tels.com

Ayla Ho­tels & Re­sorts has launched its first five-star prop­erty, the Ayla Grand Ho­tel, in Al Ain. Sit­u­ated in the cen­tre of the city close to Al Ain Mall, the nine-floor ho­tel also has the dis­tinc­tion of be­ing the tallest build­ing in the city and is Al Ain’s third Ayla prop­erty. In­side, you’ll find 220 guest rooms in­clud­ing 75 suites, all-day din­ing at Nara Res­tau­rant, Sky5 Café, which is perched by the rooftop pool, and Tamra Café, the lobby cof­fee shop. The Pulse Health Club gym and Pulse Spa of­fer fit­ness classes, a ham­mam and mas­sages. Rooms start from Dh414 per night; visit ay­la­ho­tels.com

Out in Por­tu­gal, the re­branded Anan­tara Vil­am­oura Algarve Re­sort (pre­vi­ously Tivoli Vic­to­ria Ho­tel) marks the Anan­tara brand’s de­but in Europe. The idyl­lic re­sort nes­tled among orange grove trees and wet­lands is cut off from the hub­bub, but is just 15 min­utes from the Faro In­ter­na­tional Air­port. All of the re­sort’s 280 guest rooms are done in sooth­ing nat­u­ral woods and re­gional fab­rics; the views out­side are equally calm­ing vis­tas of gar­dens, swim­ming pools and the Oceânico Golf Course’s fair­ways.

What sets the Anan­tara Vil­am­oura apart are its two part­ner­ships. The first is with lo­cal ar­ti­sans from the TASA Project to cre­ate pieces for the suites, such as hand-wo­ven pool bags and Al­gar­vian ce­ramic fruit bowls. It’s also joined forces with child­care spe­cial­ists World Wide Kids Com­pany, who will run the Ad­ven­tur­ers Crèche and the Ad­ven­tur­ers Kids Club when they open mid-May.

The sig­na­ture Anan­tara Spa finds a home here, too, but tra­di­tional Thai mas­sages will be ac­com­pa­nied by treat­ments us­ing lo­cal in­gre­di­ents. There’s also a 24-hour gym and tennis courts.

Lunchtime res­tau­rant Ria (open­ing on May 1), all-din­ing res­tau­rant Tivoli Vic­to­ria, Palms Pool Bar and the Anan­tara Bar and Lounge are the culi­nary high­lights, while spe­cial foodie ex­cur­sions are also ar­ranged. Visit mi­norho­tels.com

Wa­ter and green­ery are abun­dant at Oberoi’s Al Zo­rah re­sort in Aj­man, while Ayla Grand Ho­tel (top, right) is the tallest build­ing in Al Ain, and Anan­tara has ven­tured into Europe (bot­tom, right)

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