Looking to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life, then Anantara Sir Baniyas is your answer not just because it is perched 8 kilometers off the capital of Abu Dhabi’s coastline but also lets you escape to experience a safari of its very own kind, something you would not expect to come across in the UAE,nestled in its very own state of tranquility. Sir Baniyas island, the UAE’s largest natural island which spans over an area of 87 km squares was established in 1977 by the then ruler Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan and is a promising home to over thousands of free roaming animals and birds, adrenaline enhancing experiences like kayaking, hiking and snorkeling and wild safaris and also a chance to appreciate the flora and fauna that exists around the region.
After a close to 4 hour drive from Dubai, we reached the jetty area from where a boat took us to the hotel while getting a chance to enjoy the beautiful scenery that we passed by. As we reached, a bus took us to the hotel where we were welcomed with cold refreshing towels and a chilled beverage perfect to take the tiredness away. After checking in, we were taken in a buggy to our villa which at first sight reminisced memories of our honeymoon in Malaysia as we laid eyes on our ambient interiors of the charming villa space which embodies charming rustic interiors and neutral earthy tones and hues of brown showcased tastefully in the furniture that envelope the villa.High ceilings, a plush sofa and a covet worthy canopy bed with sheer white fabric draped delicately over the four corners, placed right in the middle makes for a romantic retreat. The thatch roof gives a feel of an Arabian theme along with comfortable lounge chairs and a mini pool located outside the villa that lets you enjoy a peaceful view of the savannah whilst enjoying a refreshing drink.
The very next day, as we woke up to the streaming sunlight that let itself in, thanks to the tall glass windows, we had some friendly neighbors visit us as we went to greet peacocks who sat right outside the villa taking shade from the sweltering heat. As we made our way to breakfast, we could not help but admire the beautiful sculptures and masks in the Savannah grill and lounge where we sat to have breakfast while enjoying a piece of serenity overlooking the grasslands. All geared up for the safari, we made our way to the jeep and thus started our venture as our guide drove us by oryxes of north african origin, antelopes, gazelles, the indian deers, cheetahs and giraffes only to name a few while our guide gave us intriguing facts, like how the arabian sand gazelle can run upto 60 kms per hour and the black buck, who possesses long spiraling horns which are present only in males and happens to be their striking feature. The twin cheetah brothers sat lazily under the shade trying to get a good afternoon nap and the giraffes munched with ease leaves from the tree. As we found ourselves enjoying the 1 and a half hour ride, learning about the animals and also how a conservation program has been put in place, where endangered species like the oryx has been reintroduced successfully in the wild.
The wildlife drive is just one of the many activities you can enjoy as you can also indulge in mountain biking to explore the rugged terrains, kayaking to take a closer look at the mangroves, take a cultural and historical tour around to learn how His Highness Sheikh Zayed took an enhanced step to contributing to protect nature by adopting and planting a mangrove tree on the vast Sir Baniyas Island.
After thoroughly enjoying the wildlife drive, we had worked up an appetite and all in good time, as we made our way to enjoy a romantic seafood dinner by the beach with instrumental tunes resonating through the peaceful warm breeze and the sound of waves that clashed again the shore, at the sister hotel of Sir Baniyas, the Anantara desert islands, we were greeted with fresh seafood delights, as fresh stacks of fish were laid out from which you could choose to have cooked the style you prefer, whether it be grilled or barbecue style.In a fix on what to choose, we decided to try the sherry in a spicy marinade and king prawns grilled. There are also international choices of seafood from a chinese style soup to singaporean chill crab and seafood noodles among the few.
This surely felt like we were in #africa spotting giraffes, cheetahs, oryx’ and ostriches amongst several other animals. Perhaps the best #safari this region has to offer. . . This 90minute encounter with the animals is surely a must do whilst on the @sirbaniyasae island with @anantarasirbaniyas. Shh now, I’m trying to reach out to this #ostrich.
Fresh #seafood buffet on the beach under the moonlight? Hells yeah! I’ve been to several seafood nights but this is seriously the best in the UAE. Plus points for having it just by the ocean. . . Huge mud #lobsters, #crabs, #mussels and literally all the creatures of the sea. The hubby and me devoured over those giant sized prawns and lobsters over a glass of wine. Can it get any better? Perhaps some flame dancers? . . The seafood nights take place every Friday at the Amwaj restaurant in Al Yamm @anantarasirbaniyas
Afternoon Tea in the Savannah:
The beautiful savannah at the @anantarasirbaniyas is truly one of the best places to enjoy the most decadent of #afternoonTea experiences. It’s not everyday that one gets to see #peacocks circling around their table while you sip on a lovely cup of tea. The beautiful outdoor surroundings only add up to making this a special afternoon with your loved one. . . From homemade cookies, pastries, scones, macaroons to delicious bite sized sandwiches, this afternoonTea with @discoveryloyalty is one of its kind in the region. While most are used to people watching, here I was animal watching. A dream come true. #discoveryloyalty
Seated in comfort among the serenity and tranquility that restfully lies in the savannah of the Arabian Wildlife Park located at the Anantara Sahel Villa Resort, We embarked on our high afternoon tea experience, courtesy of Discovery Loyalty, which made booking this experience as easy as just a click away.
Discovery Loyalty apart from making each experience stand out in comfort against the other is a hotel loyalty program designed to provide you with an indulgent travel experience be it in the vicinity of UAE and even globally, thanks to its acclaimed portfolio of 35 independent luxury hotel brands and a vast 550 hotels spread across the globe . If you are looking for a plain city getaway or jump on a jet plane to visit an ultimate destination, Discovery loyalty makes booking as easy as it can get.Room upgrades and making sure you are congenial in your own zone are just some of the benefits amongst others that this program offers. What makes them stand out from other loyalty programs is for you not to just have a pleasant stay but also dive deep into enjoying a local experience , one of the many from around 2300 authentic local experiences around the globe located altogether in 76 countries.
As gazelles roamed freely to graze and a parade of peacocks tread lightly on land, we sat down to enjoy our afternoon tea, admiring this view that was a sight to behold and a different perspective. We sat amidst the beauty of nature , a pleasure by its very self, listening to the soft rustle of leaves, the smell of earth, the sunset that shone a pretty orange pink. As we quickly exchanged introductions, the chef explained the extravagant feast that lay before us .Cascading down a three tiered stand lay delicious flavored macaroons to light finger sandwiches and south african style mini beef burgers to pastries of various flavors.
Requested finger sandwiches of Smoked salmon filled with a slather of cream cheese and cucumber and tomato sandwiches made for a satisfying starter followed by one of my favorites, the south african mini beef minced burgers, that was a delight to even taste. The meat was soft chewy doused in a perfect tomato based sauce sandwiched between a burger. With different types of bread on display that had a nice and light texture worked perfectly with a cup of tea.The sugar hit highlights included a vast array of pastries from red velvet to chocolate mousse ,so smooth it melts in your mouth and pastries infused with pistachio flavour. The fruit custard tarts were nice and creamy with a crunchy pastry exterior and had the perfect balance of sweetness.Fresh scones lay daintily on one of the stands which i thoroughly enjoyed as they were fluffy and warm and light in nature.The macaroons were every inch of delicious, one of my favorites being the strawberry filling enclosed between two light and delicate meringue shells with its sweet creaminess and chewiness of the shells making it a combination that never gets old.
Finding my sense of inner peace by Connecting to #nature is such a rewarding experience to tread upon. There are over 15000 free roaming animals on the @sirbaniyasae island and I already bumped into #peacocks, #gazelles and peahens this morning while sipping my cup of tea. . . . Watch out for more incredible feels on my instaStories during my stay at @anantarasirbaniyas