HAUTE DUBAI Magazine / Travel /
Banyan Tree Al Wadi
The philosophy behind the Banyan Tree family of hotels and resorts is based on rejuvenation – of the body, of the mind and of the soul. With two hotels in UAE, we travelled to Ras Al Khaimah to check out the all-villa Banyan Tree Al Wadi for ourselves, and the ethos of Banyan Tree did indeed unveil itself – one delight after another – starting with the extraordinary location…
In the middle of the desert yet only a 45-minute drive from Dubai, Al Wadi’s complex of extravagant yet minimalist villas is surrounded by the breath-taking beauty of rolling sand dunes and the evergreen Ghaf trees of Ras Al Kaimah’s Wadi Kahdeja – the setting is a dream come true for those seeking a getaway where all the desert’s charms are right on their doorstep. What is more, the resort sits in the heart of a dedicated nature reserve so the concentration of wildlife, which includes Arabian gazelles and oryxes, is astonishing. Of course, guests can enjoy the desert’s splendour from the safety and comfort of stand-alone villas, spread generously around the grounds, and offering stunning views of the desert as well as absolute privacy.
Given Banyan Tree’s dedication to luxury, each abode shuns standard amenities offering instead sheikh-like luxuries such as plush furnishings of soft linen and silk brocades, a super-king bed, a private pool patio and an oversized spa bathroom complete with its rain shower, stand-alone bath tub, and more space than you’ll know what to do with.
In tribute to the local heritage, the villas’ design and architecture is reminiscent of Bedouin tents, while the interiors feature elaborate Arabic-style lattice woodwork, stylised motifs and intricate arabesque carvings.
To complement this theme, a number of amusing local activities are available for guests to participate in amid the breath-taking sandy hills. For families with kids, the Kid’s Club will keep the little ones engaged in educational and fun activities while the parents enjoy a guided desert walk, join an outdoor yoga class, try their hand at archery or start the day with a spot of falconry.
With the start of the day sorted, thoughts turn to the end of the day – and dinner plans. But as Banyan Tree is justifiably famous for its flowering culinary tradition, we were not worried about a food and beverage shortage, even though we were surrounded by the vast wilderness of the desert. And as one would expect, Al Wadi presents a number of bespoke dining experiences which include a private outdoor barbeque amidst the dunes, and international fare and local Arabic specialties served at Al Waha Restaurant; but we have to say it was the ‘Authentic Thai’ at Safran Restaurant which watered our appetite the most. Thai food at Safran really is an art form with Thai delicacies served in an ultra-romantic setting. Moreover, the romance is heightened atop the Safran Tower, a small watchtower where a dedicated chef and a butler serve up an intimate moonlit dinner for enchanted couples.
After-dinner drinks are best had at Moon Bar located on the roof terrace of Samar Lounge. With a shisha in hand, this is the perfect vantage point to take in the stunning views of the sprawling desert under a starry night sky and lounge in the after-dusk desert breeze.
Pampering-demanding travellers can indulge themselves at Banyan Tree Spa complete with Asian-inspired hydrotherapy facility ‘The Rainforest’. Here a series of hot and cold rain showers, aroma steam chambers, an Ice Igloo and a vitality pool will awaken the senses and enhance blood circulation before moving to a spa room and receiving one of the Asian-inspired therapeutic massages.
The spa is proof that there’s no limit to how far the Banyan Tree concept can travel as all the therapists are trained at Banyan Tree Spa Academies in Indonesia, Thailand or China, ensuring that each spa experience is of the highest quality for which the Banyan Tree Spa is renowned.