The 5-star Al Yamm Villa Resort offers a truly memorable and luxurious break from the busy modern lifestyle, where you can experience a unique and idyllic natural island, offering a range of exciting activities.
The Al Yamm Villa Resort is located on the serene and historic Sir Bani Yas Island. The Island is located approximately 250 kilometers (two and half hours’ drive) west, on a recently improved road, from Abu Dhabi City and lies 9 kilometers offshore. At the mainland jetty you can park your car in a safe covered area before boarding the complimentary ferry for the 15 minute journey to the Island.
As we stepped off the ferry onto the island we were warmly welcomed by the resort staff and shown to a nearby coach that took us on a 5 minute trip to the resort where we had our first views of the beautiful rugged terrain and expanses of savannah. We were excited with our first sightings of the wildlife such as gazelles and giraffes roaming free on the island.
When we arrived at the main reception of the resort we once again received an attentive and warm welcome and after a quick and efficient check-in, whilst enjoying light refreshments of juice and fresh dates, we were then taken on a short buggy ride to our luxurious accommodation.
We found our luxurious two bedroom villa to be extremely spacious and comfortable with large beds, premium linen, rustic wooden furniture, Japanese-style wooden soaking tubs, oversized sinks and rainfall showerheads. The central dining room was a fun place for us to gather with the children in the early evening and enjoy the freshly baked pizzas and pasta dishes available to order from room service from the Italian restaurant, Olio.
As we opened up the doors to the beach we were struck with the magnificent views over the golden sand, the mangroves in the shallow aquamarine lagoon and the glistening azure Arabian Gulf beyond.
Outside our villa were comfortable sun loungers, ideal for soaking up the sun and our own private plunge pool to cool off in. The beautiful natural setting was private, relaxing and peaceful.
The central area of the resort has a large outdoor swimming pool, 2 bars, a fitness center and Italian restaurant, Olio, with floor to ceiling windows and a shady deck, serving delicious cuisine. Olio serves a welcoming spread for breakfast and the chef is ready to prepare dishes to order upon request. Olio also offers a lunch and dinner menu with a varied choice and in the evening, it provides a relaxing and romantic setting where one can enjoy the spoiling Italian fare – the local lobster pasta comes highly recommended.
We ventured out on one of our evenings, using the convenience of the free shuttle service, to Al Sahel Resort, on the western side of the island, and experienced some delightful African cuisine at Boma. The ostrich and venison was both tender and delicious and was complemented with exotic dishes such as coconut jollof rice, and guinea fowl with peanut butter sauce.
Highlight: The highlight for our family was the thrilling guided safari drive of the wildlife park. We explored the wild island terrain in a customised safari truck with open roof and spotted a range of unique and endangered animals such as Arabian Oryx, Scimitar-Horned Oryx as well as gazelles, giraffes and even a cheetah.
We found the service, from start to finish, to be excellent and all the team members were extremely professional, helpful and friendly – nothing was too much trouble and they even lent us a bucket and spade, which the children enjoyed playing with early mornings while we indulged in a much needed lie in!
We left feeling invigorated, refreshed, with lasting memories and plenty of wonderful photographs. The island has so many natural wonders to discover and activities to do, my only regret was not fitting in more in our time there. I am looking forward to our next family visit!
There are 30 stand-alone luxury villas, spread out along the eastern beach of the island, either side of a central lobby and pool area. The rustic style villas eloquently blend luxury, natural beauty and modern day comforts and are ideal for both couples or families. Mimicking the traditional barasti huts of Arabic fishing and pearl diving villages, each is spacious and finished rustic wooden furniture, Japanese-style wooden bath tubs and high quality fixtures and fittings. The double bedroom villas have a comfortable lounge and dining area separating the two sections. There is also an upstairs viewing deck with tables and chairs.
The rooms come with LCD TVs with satellite channels, and all the rooms feature free WiFi and wired Internet.
Dining in is an option with 24-hour room service, and minibars provide refreshments.
Al Yamm guests are free to access the restaurants at Desert Island and Al Sahel with Anantara providing transfers to both lodges free of charge and with central billing.
Dining by Design is offered on the island and involves a chef and two waiters setting up an exclusive dinner on the beach.
Light snacks and refreshments are available by the pool and in the Olio lounge.
Olio: Located beachside at Al Yamm Villa Resort: this tranquil Italian inspired restaurant with panoramic views offers a wide range of tempting flavors for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Savannah Restaurant and Grill: Western favorites and African specialties.
Savannah Lounge: A terraced lounge. Enjoy light treats while watching the sunset and watching the wildlife go by.
Boma: Experience delightful African cuisine served under the stars. A central fire creates a warm and inviting dining space.
The Palm: International and Middle Eastern buffets with unique contemporary Arabic décor.
Amwaj: A contemporary rustic beachside setting adjacent to the water sports center with the sound of waves crashing on the shore and soft lounge music.
Al Shams: Casual outdoor elegance and zesty authentic flavors of Arabia. Enjoy a tranquil poolside setting with culinary delights featuring light Arabic dishes as well as hearty main courses and delicious desserts.
The Anantara Spa is located on the northern beach of the island and is ideal to relax and reinvigorate after a day exploring the wonders of the island. The spacious spa offers hot stone massages, Swedish massages, and detox wraps along with aromatherapy and manicures and pedicures.
We opted for the 90 minute Stress Release Massage. After a warm welcome and some ginger tea and cold towel, we were led by our two therapists to one of the double treatment rooms. The treatment started with a relaxing floral foot ritual and culminated in a gentle head and face massage leaving our bodies in an elevated state of relaxation.
LEISURE AND ACTIVITIES
The island was once the private retreat of the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan and is a working and constantly developing wildlife sanctuary. The island has millions of trees and is stocked with thousands of exotic wild animals from the Gulf and African countries, including animal species that are endangered or extinct in the wild.
There is vast range of activities to do on the island including nature and wildlife drives and walks, mountain biking, horseback riding, snorkeling, SCUBA diving, big game fishing, kayaking, archery, falconry, tennis and land sailing. For those that want to relax, the Al Yamm pool offers stunning views of the vast white sandy beach and glistening sea beyond.
There are also the remains of an early Christian monastery site, dating back to the late 6th Century AD, the only early Christian site in the UAE which is of international historical significance.
The Desert Island hotel offers an excellent and spacious Kids Club that has a busy activities timetable throughout the week consisting of fun activities such as shell collecting, face painting, botanical and bird walks, cookie making and beach football.