ritz carlton al hamra beach

Top 10 Staycation Spots in the UAE for 2023

It’s time to escape the pace of the city and relax. Top Spots Dubai has rounded up the Top 10 staycation spots in and around Dubai.

Lastest updates on: 3/22/2022

1. Zaya Nurai Island, Abu Dhabi

zaya nurai island resort

Arrive at this private island by boat from the dock on Saadiyat Island. The journey takes around 15-minutes. Take in the clear waters and abundant plantlife as you make your way to a private villa. In recent years Zaya Nurai Island has become a favourite among a-listers thanks to its seclusion and supreme luxury. Just like the Maldives, there are no cars on the island so you can make your way around by bicycle, foot or buggy. There are several eateries on Zaya Nurai Island to cater to a range of tastes. Those looking for entertainment can head to the Smokin’ Pineapple beach club. Nurai spa has private glass-walled rooms with massage beds that gaze out towards the sea.

2. Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort and Spa, Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve

 Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort and Spa

Just 45-minutes outside of Dubai’s city centre, Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort and Spa, is situated in the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve. The resort takes its name from the ‘maha’ (also known as Arabian Oryx), one of the many species of wildlife that you encounter at the conservation reserve. Bedouin-style suites include quirky touches such as regional antiques. Suites come with their own private swimming pools looking out towards the desert. Dine on the veranda at the resort’s in-house restaurant Al Diwaan or book a private Dune Dining Experience. The resort offers a host of activities including sunset horse riding sessions, camel trekking, nature walks or desert safaris.

3. Ritz-Carlton Al Wadi Desert Resort, Ras Al Khaimah

Ritz-Carlton Al Wadi Desert Resort, Ras Al Khaimah

At the tranquil Ritz-Carlton Al Wadi Desert Resort, pool villas that recall luxurious Bedouin tents are adorned with chic furnishings and amenities. Spend your day picnicking on the dunes or trying your hand at archery. Head to the Moon Bar by night for beverages under the stars. Activities include a vintage desert drive in a 1952 Land Rover through the Al Wadi Nature Reserve.

4. Anantara Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort, near Abu Dhabi’s Liwa Oasis

Anantara Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort

While there are several desert resorts in the UAE Anantara Qasr Al Sarab, situated 90-minutes outside of Abu Dhabi, stands apart thanks to its location in the Rub Al Khali desert (also known as the Empty Quarter), the largest uninterrupted sand desert in the world. The surrounding sand dunes are red! We recommend the deluxe garden room with views over the dunes and a private outdoor terrace or a one-bedroom Anantara Pool Villa which features a private plunge pool, sun deck and personal butler. Activities include guided night walks and falcon shows. The spa offers impressive views of the surrounding desert from the massage beds.

5. Anantara Al Yamm Villa, Sir Bani Yas Island

Anantara Al Yamm Villa, Sir Bani Yas Island

A 2.30-hour drive from Abu Dhabi and a 3.30-hour drive from downtown Dubai, guests arrive at Sir Bani Yas Island by boat. The island takes its name from the Bani Yas tribe, the first inhabitants of Abu Dhabi. This beachside all-villa retreat takes its visual inspiration from Emirati fishing villages. Gaze out towards the mangroves and the surrounding sea or relax by the pool. This resort offers a unique opportunity to experience nature thanks to its location on Sir Bani Yas Island which serves as a wildlife sanctuary and was established in 1977 by Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan.  There you can find gazelle, giraffes, Arabian oryx, Somali ostrich, dolphins and sea turtles and more. Other activities include kayaking, horse riding and snorkelling. Guests at Anantara Al Yamm Villa can also access facilities at the sister resorts on the island – Desert Islands and Al Sahel.

6. The Oberoi Beach Resort Al Zorah, Ajman

The Oberoi Beach Resort Al Zorah

The Oberoi Beach Resort Al Zorah is situated within acres of protected forest. Guest rooms face out towards the sea. The resort also features beach-side villas with their own private pools.  Vinesse serves up international cuisine day-long while Aquario is an upscale seafood restaurant that takes its inspiration from a fish market. The Oberoi Spa and infinity pool, which spans an impressive 80 metres, are go-tos for relaxation. The resort’s surrounding natural habitat makes it ideal for outdoor pursuits. Kayak along the mangroves or take to the championship golf course.

7. Bab Al Shams Desert Resort and Spa, Al Qudra, Dubai

Bab Al Shams Desert Resort and Spa

Just a short drive outside of Dubai’s city centre, Bab Al Shams Desert Resort and Spa is a favourite staycation spot among Dubai residents. The resort is situated in the middle of the desert and is fitted out with Arabesque decor. Bab Al Shams Desert Resort and Spa takes the shape of an Arabian fort complete with palm-lined courtyards, fire pits and several swimming pools – an infinity pool, an adult pool and a central pool.

The open-air Al Sarab rooftop lounge is a go-to for sundowners and light bites with a view while the Al Hadheerah restaurant includes live music and an impressive Middle Eastern buffet.  Activities include desert horse riding, desert safaris, camel rides, archery and more.

8. Waldorf Astoria, Ras Al Khaimah

Waldorf Astoria, Ras Al Khaimah

Situated just 45-minutes from Dubai International Airport the Waldorf Astoria in Ras Al Khaimah takes its inspiration from one of the grand palaces of the region. This resort offers guests a bit of everything with its private beachfront location, views of the Al Hajar Mountains and close-by desert.

The hotel features an on-site floodlit tennis court, an 18 hole championship golf course, as well as the option for water sports including scuba diving and deep-sea fishing. The resort also curates a calendar of monthly activities for guests including yoga, beach volleyball, and petanque. Relax in the adults-only pool or head to the Waldorf Astoria Spa. The spa features a special VIP couple’s treatment room and herbal sauna.

9. The Address Beach Resort Fujairah

The Address Beach Resort Fujairah

The Address Beach Resort Fujairah is perched between the Fujairah mountains and the Indian Ocean. ‘The Restaurant’ offers an international menu by the sea while ‘The Lounge’ is a go-to for casual dining and afternoon tea. Activities include the in-house fitness centre and spa as well as a range of watersports, hiking tours (that operate seasonally) and visits to the nearby Dibba Bay Oyster Farm.

10. Ritz-Carlton Al Hamra Beach, Ras Al Khaimah

While there are two Ritz-Carlton hotels in Ras Al Khaimah, the Ritz-Carlton Al Hamra Beach is situated on the coast. Tented villas are dotted along the coast and include a pool and cabana as well as direct access to the beach. Activities at the Ritz-Carlton Al Hamra Beach include snorkelling and paddleboarding. Guests can unwind at the sea-facing spa that includes novel treatments such as lava shell massages. The Shore House Restaurant serves up fresh seafood and the sister hotel Ritz-Carlton Al Wadi is just 20-minutes away meaning that guests can also get the best of both worlds and enjoy the Ritz-Carlton Al Wadi’s programme of desert activities including camel trekking and falconry.