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Opened in late 2013, the newest addition to the Anantara stronghold of Sir Bani Yas Island is a private paradise in the midst of the wild savannah plains and salt-domed hilltops.
The five star Al Sahel is a secluded and elegant set of 30 villas set in the 41,000ha private wildlife reserve, previously owned by the Sheikh founder of the U.A.E. With either one or two bedrooms, each traditionally thatched villa features a plunge pool, carved wooden bathtub and luxury amenities, including a top range coffee machine and rainshower.
The Savannah grill and lounge is focused on western favourites and African specialities from dawn til dusk in their safari-style lodge, including afternoon teas and alfresco dining by bonfire-light. The proximity of the sister Desert Islands and Al Yam hotels and the complimentary transport tempts many tastebud-led guests towards the five other restaurants on the island. The choices include beachside tapas and signature ice creams at the Amwaj, Italian classics at the Olio, gourmet pool snacks and shisha at the Al Shams, elegant seafood at the breezy Samak, or themed a la carte evenings at The Palm. The resort also offers 'dining by design', a concept encouraging guests to eat under the stars in a secluded spot on the island.
In addition to guests' private plunge pools, there is a large swimming pool on site and the Anantara Spa nearby, which offers many treatments including their signature 'Sands of Time' experience.
The Arabian wildlife park on Al Sahel's doorstep is inhabited by a myriad of free-roaming animals; dusk walking and 4x4 tours offer up-close, guided encounters with the wildlife that harmoniously shares the island. More active sorts can be kept busy with deep sea diving, riding, water sports, mountain biking, kayaking, seaplane flights, archery and snorkelling all on offer.
Why we love it
A luxury safari experience without the drag of long-haul flights and malarial medicines.