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)