Close encounters with Anantara

The newly opened Amwaj Restaurant at Desert Islands Resort & Spa

Anantara’s Desert Islands Resort & Spa has launched a unique experience for guests looking to go off the beaten track and discover exotic wildlife up close and personal. The resort now offers a two-hour long Wildlife Horse Ride for advanced riders that will take them in the natural beauty and stunning views of the island and let them discover a past time long cherished by locals, where horse riding formed a part of the Arabic culture and heritage.

The historic Sir Bani Yas Island is the only location in the region where guests can come within mere metres of the natural habitats and feeding areas of the wildlife which include Arabian Oryx, Giraffe, Gazelles and free-roaming Cheetahs. These new eco-friendly rides continue in the deep tradition and footsteps of the late ruler and founder of the UAE, HH Sheikh Zayed Din Sultan Bin Nahyan himself, who had a vision for visitors being able to escape to an island that is basked in nature, tradition and culture. The introduction of a unique activity such as the wildlife ride combines this vision with Anantara’s pledge to ensure that each and every guest is rewarded with a truly memorable destination experience.

Laura MacLucas, equestrian coordinator of Sir Bani Yas Stables commented: “The launch of the Wildlife Horse Ride adds an authentic and historic dimension to the range of activities available on the island, offering rare, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for close encounters with the wildlife on horseback. With tailored rides from beginner lessons in the arena to the advanced Royal Bay Ride along the sandy shores, Sir Bani Yas Stables offers a riding activity for guests of all ages and abilities. The Wildlife Horse Ride is an inimitable opportunity to bask in the culture and heritage of the island while discovering exotic wildlife the same way as Arab travellers of times gone by.” 

Sir Bani Yas Stables offers two rides per day at 6.00am and 3.00pm and costs just Dh 500++ ($136)  per person. Riders must be over the age of 15 and be experienced. Weight limit also applies.  Guests can also now get close to the action quicker than ever with regular flights to the island for just Dh200 ($54) one way, departing from Al Bateen Executive Airport Abu Dhabi every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday courtesy of Rotana Jet.

The resort also recently launched the Amwaj restaurant – a new concept in beachfront dining. The opening of this stunning waterfront restaurant follows hot-on-the-heels of the launch of the Conference Centre on Sir Bani Yas Island and soon to open Watersports Centre adding more choice for the growing number of visitors to the island.

Amwaj offers a modern tapas and tasting style menu featuring Asian plates, Arabic and international tasters and delectable desserts including Chocolate lava cake with vanilla bean ice cream and Crème Catalane.

Steven Phillips, general manager Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara said: “2013 is looking to be an exciting year for expansion on Sir Bani Yas Island with the recent opening of the Desert Islands Conference Centre, the much anticipated opening of the Watersports Centre in the coming weeks and now Amwaj our stand alone casual dining restaurant. Anantara is committed to developing concepts that enrich and enhance the guest experience and the opening of this new dining experience is a great example of this philosophy at work.”