I am insanely jealous of all the UAE residents who get to hibernate off to exotic locations across the globe just when the summer heat starts spiking up. With no holidays clocked up at work, I have to make do with the weekends. But hey! Living in the UAE, we are spoilt for choice with some of the best hotels and resorts.
Ringing in the end of July, my little fambam and I packed up the four-wheeler and headed to the greener pastures of Al Ain. I feel a sense of calm just driving into Al Ain. It must be the lush greenery and the absence of towering, tall buildings that city dwellers like me silently crave.
We were invited for a staycation at Danat Al Ain Resort. The Danat collection of properties expands across the UAE, and this includes the Tilal Liwa Hotel we had visited around this time last year. I for one love a property that reflects the cultural vibes of its adopted home country (unlike the very commercial run of the mill properties that look identical regardless of where you are). Every property under the Danat collection has been accentuated with a touch of Arabesque charm.
Danat Al Ain is a 5-star property, yet this summer they are offering rock-bottom prices starting as low as AED 299. When we got there for our check-in just a little before 2 pm, the lobby area was absolutely jam-packed. Despite the rush, I soaked in the cheerful vibes of the place. Everyone was in such a cheerful mood, excited at the prospect of a pampering weekend away.
The lobby itself is spaciously large and flooded with natural lighting. Plush sofas are nested across the nooks and crannies with an ample supply of the latest magazines for light reading. The décor here is clean, sophisticated yet jazzed up with just the right amount of Arabesque panache. They even serve complimentary kahwa (Arabic coffee) to welcome in the guests.
Danat Al Ain is Al Ain’s oldest leisure establishment, and used to be the property of Inter Continental. The building and its amenities maintain the previous structure with a few key upgrades:
- Danat Al Ain is rated as a 5 star property
- Despite being a 5 star property, the hotel has very affordable room rates starting from as low as AED 299 a night
- The property boasts of a total of 159 spacious rooms, complete with breathtaking views of the hotel’s expansive, lush green gardens, swimming pools and the Jebel Hafeet Mountains.
- The hotel also has 35 luxury suites and 22 fully furnished villas.
- The property has a total of 8 bars and restaurants, with the ever popular McGettigan’s bar scheduled to open a branch there as well by the end of the year.
- Danat Al Ain is also the perfect location for banquets and conferences, with 9 meeting rooms all equipped with modern-day facilities.
The Luxury Suite
We got upgraded to a luxury suite. The room was invitingly spacious, with a separate living-room space and a bedroom featuring a luxe king-sized bed. We got spectacular views from the balcony of the pools, and I was particularly in love with the walk-in wardrobe and its varnished, wooden finishing.
The only negative of the room would be the bathroom. Given it was a suite, I was hoping for a fancier tub than the standard home-sized one we found here.
The LUCE Drunch
After a quick unpacking and settling in, we made our way to LUCE for brunch (or rather, as they call it… Drunch!). LUCE is the hotel’s Italian restaurant, but as McGettigan’s is still under construction, this restaurant has morphed into a bar and serves a buffet of pub-style grub inclusive of unlimited alcohol and non-alcoholic drinks for as low as AED 99 a person.
LUCE has a live band, and the groovy music got quite a few boisterous drinkers up on the dance floor! I sat there in the corner, enjoying a Dirty Mary, and particularly liked their Butter Chicken (which they told me was from the hotel’s award-winning Indian restaurant Tanjore).
Post lunch, my little one was throwing tantrums to be taken to the pool. Swimming pools are always the highlights of any of her staycations, and at Danat Al Ain they have a total of 5 pools! The pools here look absolutely stunning, and the Olympic Pool here is the largest in Al Ain.
The pool was pretty crowded at 4 pm, and we were lucky to get a pair of deck chairs. The weather was also acting rather peculiar. From muggy to drab, it actually started raining, albeit in minuscule spits.
My little girl had her share of pool-time fun, and particularly liked the water slide for which she lined up several times.
By evening, the pool is almost abandoned, and has a distinctively different beauty. I was almost tempted to go out for a swim yet again around 7, and surely would have had it not been for our dinner booking at Tanjore.
Dinner at Tanjore
Tanjore is Al Ain’s very first Indian fine-dining restaurant, and the interiors had me in awe as we walked in. The lighting here is romantically dimmed, and the walls are adorned with classic Indian art. Best of all, we were served by the very friendly Kaushik, a lovely young man who turned out to be of Assamese origin just like us! He was very helpful with our menu choices, and even gave us a tiki tour of the hotel post our meal.
We stayed up late that night watching random television, sipping on hot mugs of coffee and admiring the night views from our windows.
The king-sized bed proved to be super comfortable, and despite having our little one squish in with us, I went into a deep sleep right up till 10 in the morning.
Breakfast at Arabesque
Breakfast at Danat Al Ain is served in their all-day dining restaurant Arabesque. The breakfast service is on till 12 noon (perfect for late sleepers like us), and offers a satiating lineup of all the regular breakfast combinations you could ask for. They even have Indian Aloo Gobi (potato and cauliflower curry), and a dessert section.
I had a bowl of Foul Medames, and then went to the eggs counter to get my eggs scrambled the way I like them (loaded with cheese, mushroom and a hint of green chili). The highlight of the breakfast for me was their brewed coffee. Served in abundance, they really do use a superior roast here and I had 2 mugs-full, black with no sugar.
Body & Soul Spa Session
Post breakfast, I was treated to an hour-long full body massage at Body & Soul Spa. I went for the Aromatherapy massage. An hour-long session costs AED 310, but as a hotel guest, it comes down to AED 250.
Feeling all pampered up and rejuvenated, I headed to the pool-side to watch the Hubter and our little one splash about for a while longer before we headed for lunch.
Back at Arabesque for Lunch
We were back at Arabesque for lunch. The lunch too is a buffet service, and features a lineup of Arabic classics, a few European influences and a couple of Indian dishes. My favorites included the Seafood Commodore, the sweet potato mash and the very decadent chocolate mousse at the end.
By 2 pm it was time to check out and say goodbye to our weekend abode. Overall, it was a wonderful, much-needed break. The ambiance here is so chilled out and relaxed, there is ample sunshine and greenery, and the staff are all so courteous and professional. Best of all, the room rates here are super affordable for a 5 star property! Danat Al Ain truly is a hidden gem, and we will surely be back more often.
6 Reasons Why You Should Book a Staycation at Danat Al Ain
- 5 Star Property: This speaks volumes about the kind of service and amenities you can expect here.
- Great Value for Money: Room rates start as low as AED 299 per night.
- Al Ain: Also known as the ‘Green City’, a drive to Al Ain, with its natural beauty and low-rise buildings is a refreshing change for city dwellers like us. A trip to Al Ain is incomplete without a visit to Jebel Hafeet, UAE’s highest natural peak. The Emirate is also well-known for its zoo, housing the rare white tiger couple and many other interesting species.
- Nearby Attractions: Danat Al Ain is minutes away from the town center, and if you are up for a bout of shopping, Al Jimi Mall is just around the corner.
- The Dining: The hotel has a total of 8 dining spots within the property (which will be 9 once McGettigan’s opens later this year). This includes award-winning Indian fine-dining restaurant Tanjore.
- The Pools: The property has a total of 5 swimming pools, including Al Ain’s largest Olympic pool. Its also heartening to see they have segregated pools for little swimmers, giving mums and dads peace of mind.