Anantara Al Sahel Villa Resort
What We Love
- The setting. This all-villa resort even has its own watering hole–style swimming pool
- Featuring cheetahs, giraffes, oryx and gazelles, the safari drive is a must
- From the huge metal tub to your very own plunge pool, the villas are pure rustic chic
- The Savannah Grill dishes up steaks and exotic meats (including ostrich)
What To Know
- While the other all-villa resort on Sir Bani Yas Island is adults-only, under-14s are welcome here
- As at many Abu Dhabi hotels, there is no pork on the menu
- There are flights to the island every day except Friday
- There’s only one restaurant at the resort, but you can dine at other hotels on the island
- Sir Bani Yas Island is home to more than 10,000 free-roaming animals
- Guests must purchase a compulsory gala dinner on December 31; please see the details section for further information
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
Four miles off the coast of Abu Dhabi is the 10,000-acre Arabian Wildlife Park on Sir Bani Yas Island. Once the pride and joy of Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the late president of the UAE, it’s now home to a luxury resort where 30 luxe thatch-roofed villas overlook gazelles grazing and peacocks roaming free. Each villa has a giant bed with soft white linens, traditional decor in the form of exposed ceiling beams and local handicrafts, and a bay window and lounge area that look out at salt-domed hilltops in the distance. The bathrooms are tricked out with either a carved wooden tub or a deep free-standing copper one, and some villas come with their own private deck and plunge pool, where you can sit out at night under the stars. Up at the main house you’ll find a swimming pool and gym, and the Savannah Grill for all-day dining and delicious ostrich dishes. Of course, you’re free to head to any of the five restaurants and bars at the island’s sister properties, which serve everything from tapas to seafood on an open grill.
In the Area
Part of a breeding and conservation program, the Arabian Wildlife Park is teeming with nature, and guests have the chance to spot giraffes, cheetahs, oryx, emus and more, on nature drives from sunrise to sundown. Early mornings are your best chance to get close to the animals, when they’re sleepy enough to unwittingly pose for some jaw-dropping photos. If you want to get even closer to the wildlife, you can take a hike through the nature reserve and bird sanctuary or go out snorkeling on the reef. There are stables for discovering the island on horseback, or you can take a scenic seaplane flight and see it all from the air. A 10-minute drive north on the island will take you to the Anantara Spa for treatments such as the Signature or Arabian massage.
How to Get There
Perfect getaway! Everything was perfect from start to end. Service, setting, food, drinks. It was very personal and the staff knew our names. Chef came to say hi at our table as well. It was very nice and quiet and not like other hotels with too many guests
The location, the Property and the Staff - All of it was true 5 stars We are Vegans and we usually find it difficult and sometimes impossible to find something on the menu but for the first time we did not have to have discussions on what can be made for us as they had too many choices so we did not even repeat a meal. It was brilliant.
Getting positive feedbacks from friend who has earlier visited Anantara Sir Baniyas resort we have decided to spend couple of days there with my husband in order to get a new experience and I can say we never regret! After long and exhausting drive from Dubai we have finally got to Ferry station which was very easy to find. It was nice and cozy place with all necessary facilities and range of refreshments and snacks for arriving guests so we had a chance to rest a bit and have some coffee before getting on the ferry and proceeding to the island, ferry was quite empty - probably due to it was a week day so not too many people going comparing to weekends, but anyway it is important to contact property in advance and book the ferry as it has 2 timings per day
After 20 - 25 minutes we got to the island and we were met by driver who took as to the property and gave us some information about the island and its flora and fauna. After 10-15 min ride we got the reception and were warmly greeted by the front desk staff and promptly checked in and escorted to our Villa. There is a buggy service available but as our villa was not far from the reception we had preferred to walk. Our villa was so beautiful with interesting design and amazing outdoor area with beautiful terrace and tub with a warm water you can sit in and enjoy the view of wildlife Gazals and peacocks passing next to the villa and some most brave of peacocks coming next to you in order to be invited for some snacks:) Villa had all facilities needed, bed was very comfy. Housekeeping made a great job - after cleaning and turn down service villa was always found in immaculate condition.
As we were informed on reception upon arrival there was a BBQ night in the restaurant of Sahel Villa that evening we made a booking and went to experience the BBQ night - what is the lovely venue!!!! Outdoor area with a huge fire place in the middle with a tables around it. You feel like you got back to accent times which was amazing. As I was quite sick those days and weather was really chilled and I have requested staff to arrange warmest place possible for us, and staff put on efforts to make us comfortable; table was arranged next to the fire place but in order not to get smoke from the fire I was given few blankets immediately. We have chosen a package with alcoholic beverages and proceeded to the buffet: selection of soups, starters and salads was huge! Be careful not to get full before getting BBQ for the main course:))) seafood soup was fantastic specially for such a chilled weather, BBQ station had big variety of meat including smth. unusual like gazal and ostrich meat. Desert section was quite impressive as well but we had no space for desert after such a rich dinner:) Staff was so professional and attentive during the dinner making sure that our glasses were always refilled with wine we have chosen.
Next morning we had a breakfast in main restaurant of Sahel Villa which was so good outside terrace was beautiful with plenty of birds around. Be careful as those birds keep waiting a moment to steal your breakfast:))) after having a breakfast and feeding birds we went to Safari trip which was booked upon arrival. Our driver and guide came on time and introduced himself (such a shame I forgot his name) and we have moved to our safari trip with one more couple. It was great experience we had a chance to see gazals, peacocks, buffaloes, giraffes and also cheetahs sleeping and relaxing after heavy breakfast. Our driver was perfect and kept talking about animals living on the island their countries of origin and specialities. The trip was so informative and entertaining so we didn't notice how time passed. Big thanks to our driver for such a enjoyable experience.
After safari we had some rest in our villa as the main purpose of our visit was to run away from hustle and bustle and relax in tranquil environment but if you are looking for more active time spending the property offers you a wide range of activities like bicycle trip,desert walk, arching and much much more. All activities can be booked before or upon arrival to the property but I advise to book an activity in advance as specially on weekends there are a lot of guests. even staff always tries their best to meet all your requests but might not to be availability for an activity you have chosen.
At night we decided to have dinner at Italian restaurant in Al Yamm Vilas, we made a booking on reception and booked a transfer to Al Yamm, there are 3 different Anantara properties on the island and transfer available every 20 or 40 min (a bit confused) so you can enjoy facilities of other properties as well like for example Al Sahel Villas are not by sea side and have no beach so if you wanna stay by the beach you can get a transfer to another property ( ride of 15 to 20 min ) and enjoy the beach or to discover another restaurant but as our stay was in February and weather was really cold and windy we didn't go the the beach side and spent time just enjoying wildlife and tranquil environment.
Our dinner (a la cart) in Italian restaurant was good we had a ministrone, seafood pasta and some salad I don't remember which one:)) all food was so tasty and portions so big that I couldn't even finish my main course, again staff was very attentive and professional.
Next day after breakfast we proceeded to our ferry trip back to the routine life:) it was a bitter feeling to leave the place as we had spent an amazing time and didn't notice how our 2 days passed:((( Big tnaks to Anantara team for making our stay memorable and going above and beyond to exceed the expectations.
Who knew that there was such a special and relaxing place about 170 km south of Abu Dhabi? While it may seem remote, it is actually quite easy to reach when driving on the E11 high way, and then taking the 20 minute ferry across.
We were welcomed upon arrival at the island, and taken to our resort by car, already enjoying the wide variety of wild life on the way. Lots of animals roam around freely, and there are extensive conservation and breeding programs for endangered animal species.
The Al Sahel resort is a small villa resort, some with private pool, in the middle of the reserve. While sitting on our terrace we could watch the gazelle grazing under the Ghaf trees, an amazing view which never got boring.
The resort is really well maintained, and is designed with some African touches, but not in a Disney kind of way - it's very stylish and warm. We loved our villa - very spacious and we spent many hours relaxing outside on the deck.
The service and staff are excellent - everybody is pleasant, switched on and helpful. We had three amazing outdoor "dine by design" experiences, the Anantara team can offer some great options if you want to do something special for dinner. The spa at the Desert Islands resort is great as well. And of course the island safari is an absolute must, the island is very big and you are guaranteed to encounter many animals. This really was a fantastic experience, I can highly recommend it to anyone who wants a short and relaxing luxury break to get away from the UAE's big cities.
I hope we get the chance to go back soon!
Whether you call it God, Earth Mother, the Great Mystery or by another name, nature helps you to connect with this powerful, loving presence. That is what we felt staying in Al Sahel Resort (sir bani Yas Island) away from the busy and hustle, bustle life of Dubai.
Welcoming staff from the time you board the ferry (Kamran from the concierge) , take the 4WD or mini van (staff name -Lok) to reach to the resort, check-in (staff name-Latifa), enjoy the amenities, pool, buffet breakfast (staff name - Arya), spa(staff name -Pat), wild life safari(staff name-Haleem) till the time to checkout you experience the great hospitality. your stay is comfortable in the middle of wild life where You spend the relaxing evening at your Villa patio, sipping in the hot cup of tea or wine, take a dip into your private pool and enjoy the mesmerizing view of dancing peacock, wandering Gazelles. Amazingly, one of the best stays and a break we have had in the long time and ready to visit again.