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Sir Bani Yas Island

Overview

Sir Bani Yas Island features a wildlife sanctuary and three types of accommodation all managed by Anantara. Located just off the coast of Abu Dhabi, Sir Bani Yas Island was founded by His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Home to free-roaming animals, including the near extinct Arabian Oryx. The island offers a distinct opportunity to reconnect with nature and gain an understanding of the conservation efforts on Sir Bani Yas Island.

Sir Bani Yas Island offers three very different types of accommodation. Guests are invited to experience an iconic fortress-style hotel at Dessert Island Resort, overlooking the Arabian Gulf. Embrace a night in the bush at one of the rustic lodges at Al Sahel, located in the heart of the island or overlook the mangroves and white-sandy beaches at the private villas at Al Yamm Resort

Traveling to Sir Bani Yas Island from Abu Dhabi takes approximately 2.5 hours’ drive to the port. Once you arrive you will be able to leave your car in a complimentary covered carpark before enjoying the welcome centre and finally departing on the water taxi for a short 15-minute journey to Sir Bani Yas Island. Alternatively, flights are available to Sir Bani Yas Island for Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Room

For our visit we are staying at Al Yamm Resort which has been designed to reminisce an Emirati fishing village. The resort is split into two parts, on one side guests can enjoy spanning views of the mangroves and on the other endless beach and ocean views. Our One Bedroom Pool Villa is located on the beach, placing us just steps away from the ocean.

The Pool Villa offers a large bathroom with a freestanding tub, a walk-in rain shower with Anantara spa amenities, a separate restroom, a large double bed, TV, coffee and tea making facilities, complimentary WiFi, a working desk and double doors that open up onto an expansive terrace with a private plunge pool, chairs, tables and sun loungers for guests to relax. The décor is bright and colourful, giving the room a Mediterranean theme.

We really enjoy the outdoor plunge pool, its perfectly designed to allow guests to relax and watch the waves or if you are lucky enough catch a glimpse of the gazelles.

Even though you may choose to stay at Al Yamm, guests can also enjoy access to the facilities of sister resorts, Desert Islands and Al Sahel. A shuttle bus service is available at given times of the day.

Nature and Wildlife Drive

Sir Bani Yas Island is dominated by the Arabian Wildlife Park, with its roaming giraffes, cheetahs and gazelles. The island also boasts multiple archaeological sites across the island include the ruins of an ancient Christian monastery. Salt dome hills define the island’s desert interior whilst the coast features beaches, sea kayak routes and a shipwreck.

This afternoon we are very excited to be experiencing the Nature and Wildlife Drive. We are picked up in the reception area by our tour guide. We then enter the safari truck and begin our tour. The guide is exceptional and answers all our questions regarding the wildlife. Whilst on our tour we are fortunate enough to encounter the cheetahs and a giraffe. Our guide informs us about the progress that has been made in raising the population of the Arabian Oryx. Its interesting to learn that for the wildlife to flourish the first had to create an entire eco system on the island. We would highly recommend the Nature and Wildlife Drive when visiting Sir Bani Yas Island. 

Dining

Our favourite restaurant, Olio, the Italian restaurant located on Al Yamm. During the day Olio doubles up as our breakfast and lunch venue but during the evening is the best time to visit. The menu is slightly larger than what is available during the day and the outdoor terrace offers you a clean star lit sky with crashing oceans waves as the backdrop.

This evening we are dining at Olio. We first begin with the Bruschetta, toasted bread, freshly chopped tomatoes, olive and basil, simple but excellently done. We also order the Caprese salad, buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes and basil pesto, the Caprese itself is enjoyable however we find the basil pesto a little to overbearing. For the mains we stick to classic Italian dishes, a Margherita pizza and the Penne Alla Arrabbiata, again both a thoroughly enjoyable. The service is friendly and genuine and throughout our evening our waiter ensures that we are enjoying a pleasant evening.

The Verdict

Sir Bani Yas Island offered a unique experience, the Pool Villas offer an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, located a stone throw from the shoreline you’d be hard pressed not to find this place relaxing. Whilst the Wildlife Drive gave us the opportunity to see the conservation efforts on the island.

Sir Bani Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, UAE, +971 2 801 4200

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