Think of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and its world-famous golden sand dunes, impossibly tall skyscrapers and sparkling islands immediately come to mind. But there’s more to the Emirates than its glossy exterior. The UAE—which comprises Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah, Ajman and Fujairah—also offers rich history, diverse art and culture, and plenty of activities whether you’re a gourmand or hardcore adventurer. For locals and tourists alike, taking time out for a daycation is a window to another facet of the country, so we’re sharing some of the best hotels that offer decadent DayAways so you can plan ahead.
The Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort & Spa
Hone your hole-in-ones in style on Abu Dhabi’s only true golf resort, The Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort & Spa. When you’re done embellishing the gorgeous 27-hole championship green with your aces, be sure to check out the property’s many restaurants, three swimming pools, the signature Westin WORKOUT room and the Heavenly Spa.
Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah
Located on Dubai’s iconic palm-shaped Palm Jumeirah archipelago, Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah has a private soft-sand beach, temperature-controlled pools, as well as an array of water sports activities. Back on land, you can book a session with a tennis professional, experience three-Michelin-star quality dining at Social, and send the little ones to the supervised Coco Kids Club to get in some kid-free time.
Don’t miss the resort’s sprawling 3,200 sqm spa, which boasts top-of-the-line hydrotherapy facilities and thermal relaxation rooms. Personalise your full-day spa journey, which culminates in a delectable afternoon tea.
InterContinental Ras Al Khaimah Resort and Spa
For a bird’s eye view of the stunning Arabian Sea and a glimpse of Iran, the InterContinental Ras Al Khaimah Resort and Spa is a must-visit. Thanks to the hotel’s unique location that stretches across two peninsulas, guests can relax and look onto panoramic ocean views after an adventurous day out at the mountainous terrain.
Telal Resort Al Ain
Prepare to be awestruck by the undulating gilded dunes at the Telal Resort Al Ain, a luxurious boutique resort on the edge of the vast Remah Desert—a place that the nomadic Bedouin tribes once called home. Experience Emirati culture at the resort’s Zaman Lawal Heritage Village, which showcases traditional dining, the time-honoured trade of pearl diving and more. Plus, be sure to pick up some local wares at the Souk before you leave.
If you’re in an active mood, the Telal Resort Desert Adventure, which comes with an ATV drive, zip line experience, guided horse and camel riding and more, is for you. Otherwise recharge in the resort’s outdoor shallow pool or sunken pool for extra privacy.
Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City
For a spectacular view of the gorgeous Dubai Water Canal and the cascading Dubai Waterfall, Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City delivers this plus a fantastic panorama of the city skyline. Guests are also a short 10-minute drive away from Downtown Dubai, a bustling centre of shops, restaurants and urban living. This family-friendly hotel is well-equipped to entertain the entire brood with a rooftop pool, kid’s club, poolside bar, and cocktail lounge with DJ nights.
Interestingly, the hotel has a bona fide retro American diner complete with a double lane bowling alley (the tallest in the world) on the 44th floor. Strike!
Habtoor Palace Dubai, LXR Hotels & Resorts
Experience the charm of Dubai up close when you step into the Habtoor Palace Dubai, LXR Hotels & Resorts, which is inspired by the Beaux-Arts architectural style. The upscale hotel lives up to its opulent design with butler service, sophisticated suites, a private beach and an award-winning signature restaurant, World Cut Steakhouse, among its fine dining options.
Bask in elegance with the traditional Afternoon Tea experience at the Sidra Lounge or book a spa day at the world-class Silk Spa, equipped with steam and sauna facilities, and two hammams.
V Hotel Dubai, Curio Collection by Hilton
Mirroring Dubai’s vibrancy and multiculturalism is the contemporary V Hotel Dubai, Curio Collection by Hilton. Overlooking the iconic Dubai Water Canal, the city’s energy is palpable through its many social spaces, on-site lounges, nightclubs and restaurants. The hotel also plays host to Dubai’s premier stage show, La Perle by Franco Dragone, which features 65 artists performing alongside huge living installations, sound, light and projected images.
Whether of lunch or dinner, gather the gang for a delicious feast at Indian Bazaar. If you’re one for quiet time, recharge at the hotel’s meditative spa set against the backdrop of the breathtaking city.