You might not be getting the chance to go on an extended vacay in some far-flung corner of the world but the GCC has plenty to offer the weekend traveller this summer. With great discounted rates throughout the season to suit every budget, it’s more than affordable to stay at some of the region’s most luxurious resorts. So go ahead, pack your swimmers and head out for a much-needed, relaxing mini-break.
The UAE’s capital has more than enough to offer the discerning traveller. Yas Island is a must-see with some of the country’s most exciting attractions such as Ferrari World, Yas Waterworld and the Yas Marina Circuit. For foodies, there are some amazing gourmet experiences to be had, and energetic types can enjoy plenty of activities such as golfing and water sports. Elsewhere, don’t forget to pay a visit to Sheikh Zayed Mosque and Heritage Village.
Go for: The very best in Arabian opulence and luxury
What’s the deal? GCC residents can avail of special summer rates starting from BD100 on rooms and suites inclusive of breakfast at Le Vendome, with optional interconnecting rooms. Non-GCC residents can save up to 30 percent on regular rates when a minimum of four nights are booked.
From BD100++ per room per night. Valid until September 30. Emirates Palace, West Corniche Road, Abu Dhabi, UAE, www.emiratespalace.ae (+971 2 690 9000).
Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi
Go for: Fabulous beach views and the impressive 18-hole championship golf course
What’s the deal? Two nights for the price of one, three nights for the price of two, or four nights for the price of three. Plus 20 percent off spa treatments, 20 percent off at restaurants and bars, free stays for kids under 12 (maximum two children, accompanied by paying adults) and free breakfast, lunch and dinner for kids.
From BD50++ per room per night. Valid until September 30. Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi, UAE, www.hyatt.com (+971 2 407 1234).
St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort
Go for: Pure luxury and a spot of golf
What’s the deal? The package includes daily breakfast and two rounds of golf per room. Plus 20 percent off food and beverages at the golf club and selected St Regis outlets, free Wi-Fi and 20 percent off spa treatments.
From BD120 (single occupancy) or BD130 (double occupancy) per room per night. Valid until August 31. Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi, UAE firstname.lastname@example.org (+971 2 498 8888).
The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal
Go for: Romance in this Venetian themed hotel
What’s the deal? The ‘Intrigue you summer package’ offers three nights for the price of two in a range of rooms, suites and villas. It includes access to the pool, private beach, breakfast in Giomotte restaurant and free local calls.
From BD105++ per night. Valid until August 31. Abu Dhabi, UAE, email@example.com (+971 2 818 8181).
An escape from our sleepy island paradise to the bright lights and upbeat vibe of Dubai is a must and this summer offers the perfect opportunity. Experience world-class restaurants, watch an internationally renowned show, get involved with some extreme sports, go up the world’s tallest tower or get completely lost while shopping in Dubai Mall. Or just relax in a resort.
Anantara Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa
Go for: Utter tranquillity in a lavish Asia-meets-Arabia resort
What’s the deal? With a minimum two nights’ stay, the short breaks deal offers a free mixed drink per person per stay, 20 percent discount on 90-minute oil massages and dining, free breakfast buffet, a room upgrade (subject to availability) and late 4pm checkout. The July deal offers great rates on over-water villas too.
Short breaks offer from BD135 per room per night (excluding 20 percent fees). Valid until December 31. July offer BD205 per villa per night (excluding 20 percent fees). Valid July 1-29. Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, UAE, www.anantara.com/dubai-the-palm (+971 4 567 8888).
Sofitel Dubai Downtown
Go for: A lush inner city break
What’s the deal? This new hotel is running a discovery offer until the end of September. Rate includes breakfast, welcome drink and free Wi-Fi.
From BD77 per room per night. Valid until September 30. Downtown Dubai, Dubai, UAE, www.sofitel.com (+971 4 338 7521).
Atlantis The Palm
Go for: A real family affair
What’s the deal? The Ultimate family package includes one night’s stay, full buffet breakfast in Kaleidoscope or Saffron, lunch or dinner, two spa sessions for the price of one and access to the kids’ club or Club Rush. Guests also get unlimited access to The Lost Chambers and Aquaventure waterpark, plus preferential rates at Dolphin Bay.
From BD165 per room per night. Valid until September 30. Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, UAE, www.atlantisthepalm.com (+971 4 426 0000).
Rest of the UAE
Don’t just restrict yourself to the two most famous emirates when the UAE has so much more to offer. Al Ain is best known for its greenery and is often called the ‘Garden City’, while Ras Al Khaimah boasts beautiful resorts alongside a whole host of culinary and leisure activities. Don’t miss Fujairah, either, where an exciting range of tourist attractions await.
Al Ain Rotana
Go for: A comfortable and affordable Emirati escape
What’s the deal? The short break escape (from BD59 per room per night, until December 30), includes breakfast for two adults and two kids, 20 percent discount on spa treatments, 20 percent discount on outlets, 4pm checkout, welcome drinks and a room upgrade. Romantic escape (BD77 per room per night, until December 31) includes a stay in a studio or one-bedroom suite, in-room breakfast and spa treatments in a couples’ suite.
From BD59. Al Ain, UAE, www.rotana.com/alainrotana (+971 3 754 5111).
Banyan Tree Al Wadi
Go for: An oasis of peace
What’s the deal? The Summer Indulgence promotion includes buffet breakfast for two, complimentary upgrade to half-board dinner from a selected menu, daily access to the kids’ club, a 60-minute Rainforest Experience, 45-minute archery session per person per stay, and ice pool amenities in tented pool villas.
Ras Al Khaimah, www.banyantree.com (+971 7 206 7777).
Rixos Bab Al Bahr
Go for: An affordable all-inclusive holiday package
What’s the deal? The package includes every meal you want. Dine in any of the hotel’s 14 restaurants and bars, or order room service and pay no extra fees. Watersports are priced separately.
From BD129 per room per night. Until July 31. Al Marjan Island, Ras Al Khaimah, UAE, www.rixos.com (+971 7 244 4400).
Concorde Hotel Fujairah
Go for: A more unusual regional break
What’s the deal? Rates include buffet breakfast for two, welcome drinks, free cable internet, free shuttle buses to Fujairah City Centre and free use of spa and recreational facilities, plus good rates for diving or snorkelling trips.
From BD23 per room per night. Valid until September 30. Fujairah, UAE, www.concordefujairah.com (+971 9 224 9000).
A range of attractions await you in Qatar. The Museum of Islamic Art is home to some spectacular examples of Islamic art spanning 1,400 years and plays host to IDAM by Alain Ducasse, a restaurant which serves up plate after plate of culinary genius. Katara Cultural Village hosts world-class exhibitions and top notch restaurants ranging from Egyptian to Indian, Turkish to seafood. And an excursion to the desert and the Inland Sea (aka Khor al-Adaid) is also a must.
Kempinski Residences & Suites
Go for: A swanky inner city pampering
What’s the deal? Stay three nights and get ten percent off on daily rates, or book seven nights and get 15 percent off. ‘Tune in to Summer by Kempinski’ package includes free Wi-Fi, access to PURE Leisure & Wellness Centre, a daily newspaper and complimentary selected mini bar beverages on arrival.
From BD109 per room per night. Valid until September 30. Doha, firstname.lastname@example.org (+974 4405 3333).
Sharq Village & Spa
Go for: Private villas in a luxurious resort that’s a renovated fishing village
What’s the deal? The Summer Splash Package (starting from BD129, valid until August 31 excluding Eid); stay in a Deluxe Resort View room with 50 percent off a second night or room if you book a two-night consecutive stay. The Family Package (starting from BD330, valid until December 31) includes a stay in a one-bedroom suite (minimum two nights), breakfast for two at Al Liwan, 15 percent savings on the first night, 50 percent savings on the second and third nights, 20 percent off on any 50-minute Six Senses Spa treatments, and late checkout until 6pm. A Day in the Resort (starting from BD140, valid until August 31 excluding Eid) includes an overnight stay in a Deluxe Resort View Room, welcome amenities, breakfast for two in Al Liwan plus lunch or dinner, 20 percent savings on laundry, access to Six Senses Spa facilities and internet access.
From BD129. Valid until August 31 or December 31. Doha, Qatar, www.ritzcarlton.com/sharqvillage (+974 4425 6666).
Oman is the perfect destination for a quick getaway within the GCC with its wild wadis, stunning desert landscapes and many areas of architectural and historical interest. It’s a haven for outdoorsy and active types, particularly divers. From city life in the capital Muscat, to mountainous regions followed by greenery in Salalah in the south, Oman has a lot to offer.
Alila Jabal Akhdar
Go for: A spectacular mountainous escape
What’s the deal? This brand new hotel is offering special opening rates including two nights’ stay in a mountain-view suite, breakfast at Juniper, free resort activities, free Wi-Fi as well as gym and pool access.
From BD96++ per room per night (minimum stay two nights). Ongoing. Nizwa, Oman, www.alilahotels.com (+968 2534 4200).
Grand Hyatt Muscat
Go for: A true touch of Omani hospitality
What’s the deal? Stay for a minimum of three nights and enjoy 15 percent off the best available rate for single or double occupancy, plus free internet, ten percent off laundry services and 25 percent off Mokha Café.
From BD79++. Valid until August 31. Muscat, Oman, www.muscat.grand.hyatt.com, (+968 24 641 234).
The Chedi Muscat
Go for: Utter relaxation in this 21 acre garden oasis
What’s the deal? The ‘Summer Breeze’ special rate for GCC residents includes a 30 percent discount at the spa. When you stay for two nights, enjoy a three-course dinner for two.
From BD118++ per room per night. Valid until August 31. Muscat, email@example.com (+968 24 524 400).
Park Inn Muscat & Oman Air
Go for: A serious bargain on a fab weekend
What’s the deal? An exclusive offer for Bahrain residents including return direct flights, two nights in a twin, daily buffet breakfast, free internet, and access to health club facilities.
From BD130 per person. Valid until August 31. To book call Oman Air, www.omanair.com (1750 0020).
Three to try: Bahrain staycations
Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa
Go for: A slice of tropical island paradise
What’s the deal? A Ramadan Mubarak package offers special rates for luxurious accommodation and a daily iftar buffet in La Med for two guests.
From BD113++ per night. Valid until August 31 (excludes Eid). Seef (1758 0000).
The Domain Bahrain
Go for: An urban mix of business meets leisure
What’s the deal? A tempting summer promotion is offering extra special nightly rates inclusive of a daily breakfast buffet, private butler service, access to the spa and fitness centre and the indoor rooftop infinity pool.
From BD50++ per night. Valid until August 31. Diplomatic Area (1600 0100).
Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea & Spa
Go for: Peace, quiet, sun, sea and the unique Thalassa Spa
What’s the deal? During Ramadan book a luxury room for two and Suhoor is included.
From BD65++ per night. Available through Ramadan (excludes Eid). Zallaq (1763 6363).