Staycation: Danat Al Ain Resort

I’ve heard lots of good things about the Danat Al Ain Resort over the years and always wanted to try it out, so a couple of weekends ago we finally set off for another cheeky little Al Ain staycation. It’s no secret that I love Al Ain (I firmly believe it’s one of the most underrated destinations in the UAE) so any excuse to pop down there is a good one! Although there is heaps to do in Al Ain itself (you can read my tips on what not to miss here) and there is still more on my list to see, sometimes you just need an unashamed drop and flop weekend by the pool..!

So that’s what we decided on. Since I’ve heard so many good things previously from friends about how good the hotel is for kids and families, we thought we’d just make the most of our little getaway and relax.

The exterior of the hotel does look a little dated, though to be honest I was really quite taken by the spaceship-esque design of this restaurant to the rear of the hotel! Fabulously retro… I do hope they never change it.

You’ll be pleased to know that the interior of the hotel is much more up to date, and though the room furnishings and decor are not the most up to date you’ll have seen, as with any five-star hotel, the rooms are without a doubt very comfortable and provide everything you need, and more.

But where the hotel really comes into its own is at the pool. There are two swimming pools – an adults only olympic sized pool for lap swimming without the threat of being dive bombed by hordes of unruly kids (!), and the family pool.

An exotic Polynesian style landscape forms the family pool, with shallow and deeper depths for all swimming abilities. There’s also a tiled bench seating area in one of the shallower pool areas for sun worshippers to enjoy the rays while still keeping cool and watching the kids.

There’s also a fully shaded shallow kids pool with a water slide for the little ones, which is also watched over by a lifeguard. The best thing about this pool (aside from the fact it’s properly shaded and that the kids love it!) is that there’s plenty of loungers and seating nearby so parents can sit at close call and still be able to keep a watchful eye. Order a drink from the nearby bar and that’s what I call heaven!

There’s also a kids play park, so in the unlikely event they get bored with the water and slide, there’s the eternal favourite swings and slide to keep them occupied for a while too!

The hotel has a number of dining outlets. There’s a poolside café, Arabesque all day dining which is where breakfast is served, Tanjore Indian Restaurant and McGettigan’s Irish pub.

The Indian menu at Tanjore was pretty wide, so there’s lots of choice with starters, Tandoori clay oven specials, a meat and a large vegetarian section. The decor of the place gave it a rustic feel too, it was welcoming but not too fancy. It’s the perfect place to pop in for a curry (especially after a pint as it’s next door to McGettigan’s) and the food was all freshly prepared in-house making it well worth making a visit. They also had some great Indian wine. Indian wine is not something I’ve ever heard much about, but on doing a quick google it seems although wine production in the country is small, it is actually renowned for a number of award wining wines. It was actually one of my favourite wines I tried while staying at the hotel! The menu is also very reasonably priced so it’s nice to be able to have a good meal without emptying your bank account as so often seems to be the case here in Abu Dhabi.

With full bellies it was off for a good night’s sleep on what was actually one of the most comfortable hotel beds I’ve slept on in a while. I suppose that’s personal taste, but it was the perfect balance between not too soft and not too firm. The Goldilocks of mattresses if you will… it was juuuust right 😀 .

As well as a separate lounge area our room also had a giant balcony overlooking the pools and gardens of the resort. We were happier sitting by the pool but it would be a great spot for a little apéritif in the evening. For us, aside from the views it meant somewhere to hang our swim wear which dried in a flash! The room also came with a kitchenette which can be pretty helpful to have use of when you’re travelling as a family.

After a quick breakfast stop in Arabesque Restaurant the next morning (fine, but a little crowded and the service could have been more attentive), we headed straight back to the pool to make the most of our time before check out, which wasn’t until 2pm. The late check out is great and means you really can make the most of an overnight stay on the weekend.

Finally, we couldn’t leave without visiting McGettigan’s. This turned out to be another one of our highlights of the trip – I mean, what more can you ask for from a family friendly hotel? A decent pub for the parents, hurrah! The food was classic sturdy pub grub from pies and the full works for breakfast (including pork!) to a hefty but satisfying dessert of sticky toffee pudding… YUM! They also have a kids menu and a no smoking section so even the smallest member of our family was well catered to and very happy – now that’s a win-win situation!

So now I can see why people enjoy the Danat Al Ain Resort so much. It has all the luxury touches and things you’d expect of a five-star hotel (including a lovely little spa), but without any of the airs and graces you find at some, AND, above all – it’s really good value. It’s a great little down to earth place for a family break or as a base for sightseeing around the Garden City, but once the kids are in the pools and a drink is on the way, you might find it hard to leave!

Check out the hotel website for the latest deals. As well as B&B they also have various all-inclusive drinks deals, a family outing offer with goody bag for the kids plus Al Ain Zoo tickets and a deal where you even get the room price back as dining credit!

Let me know your thoughts and comments here!

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