While making plans to go to the Atana, I decided that rather than make the three-hour trip all at once, it might be nice to break the drive up. Hubs and I went to the Banyan Tree Al Wadi in 2014 (as a vacation from our holiday, if that makes sense) when the Entertainer was offering their 2 for 1 deal. Turns out (and we never knew this before), having a private pool might be our favorite thing ever. If you’ve not been before, Banyan Tree is an international brand, and we’re fortunate enough to have two separate properties in the UAE. While the Beach property is tempting, Booking.com’s rate of AED880 (including breakfast) at Al Wadi was simply too good to pass up.
Be whirled away upon a magical journey across desert plains with true Arabian nights, desert adventure, Middle Eastern fauna and nomadic romance. Step into a privileged sanctuary at Wadi Khadeja. An oasis of peace awaits you at Banyan Tree Al Wadi, the United Arab Emirates’ first desert resort and spa to offer an all-pool villa concept with integrated facilities…
Another excellent touch? The ‘arrival before the arrival’ concept. Here is an e-mail I received a few days before checking in:
We are looking forward to your arrival here at Banyan Tree Al Wadi on XX, XX, 2016.
Please find below useful information that will help you plan your trip. This includes details of our resort’s dining options, recreational activities and directions to the resort.
I’m already excited to go! It’s these small details which really set properties apart.
So, enough about all this, how about the room? Well, I think I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves… (And no, I don’t think they truly represent how BIG the space is. Seriously, 158sqm is a lot of room).
It’s literally one of my all time favorite hotel rooms. The villa is large that you can’t possibly feel crowded, cramped or anything but relaxed. The bathroom is heavenly, and the attached (completely private) pool is perhaps my favorite feature. Honestly, whenever I have the chance to start work on my (as of yet completely fictional) dream house, don’t be surprised when many of the features from this room show up.
My only notes to the hotel would be the following:
- Mama loves her toiletries… While I realize there is an environmental impact to small bottles, I love to have a little reminder of my time once I’m home. It also seems that it should be standard in this caliber of hotel. A partnership with Molton Brown, Jo Malone, Hermes, or some other luxury brand would only enhance the experience.
- Ala carte breakfast options. While I realize we were paying a reduced rate, on our previous trip ala carte breakfast options were on offer. It’s not that the breakfast buffet was lacking, but it would’ve been nice to have the choice.
- While the Rainforest Experience at the spa was fun, I don’t think it was priced correctly (AED132 per person, if staying onsite). It’s a unique treatment, but I believe it’s worth somewhere about AED50-100 per person, and wouldn’t recommend.
- Dedicate an area of the complex to be kid free. I understand that (of course) people are going to travel with their families, however, for true rest and relaxation, hearing kids scream in a nearby pool for the majority of the afternoon does not feature in my ultimate getaway.
Having visited Qasr Al Sarab, Sir Banyi Yas and yes, the One & Only Royal Mirage, I can say that the Banyan Tree is my favorite of the three. Now, if only I could get to Al Maha, Banyan Tree Beach, and Nurai Island for final comparisons… 😛
Have you been to Banyan Tree Al Wadi recently? How do you think it stacks up against some of the better hotels in the UAE?