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Withdraw from the city’s hustle and bustle for a weekend getaway to discover the charms of Sir Bani Yas Island off the coast of Abu Dhabi, specifically the Al Yamm Villa Resort at Anantara Sir Bani Yas Island…

Getting there

Reaching this hidden gem amidst the waters requires effort. You’ll need to drive about 3.5 hours from Dubai before reaching the embarkation point for Bani Yas Island. Yes, your journey won’t be over at this point, as the island, revealed to those who know how to find it, is only accessible by boat (or seaplane).

The road from Dubai (or Abu Dhabi) is quite monotonous, cutting through a vast expanse of desert. However, it has the advantage of being a nearly straight route from start to finish! Some sections of the road are currently under construction to turn them into a proper highway, so plan enough time for your journey in case of slowdowns along the way.

You should also be aware that the boats to the island depart at fixed hours. If you miss your boat, you’ll have to wait for the next one to finally reach the island.

If you arrive early, the Anantara has a lounge at the embarkation point where you can relax with coffee, refreshments, and snacks after your long journey while waiting for your boat to be ready.

anantara al yamm villas

The setting

After about 20 minutes of crossing, you’ll arrive on Bani Yas Island where the Anantara staff will take care of you. Passengers will be directed to the three properties that make up the resort, based on their reservations. For us, it’s off to the Al Yamm Villa Resort aboard our VIP Nissan Patrol with our chauffeur.

Anantara Al Yamm Villa Resort is managed by the renowned Thai hotel group, which also manages the other two complexes on the island: Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara and Anantara Al Sahel Villa Resort.

The resorts are a few kilometers apart, but during your stay, you can visit either one to enjoy their respective recreational facilities or dine in one of the restaurants. A shuttle service or chauffeured vehicles are provided for guests to move between the resorts.

anantara bani yas island

al Yamm Villa Resort

Upon arriving at the reception, your personal concierge will take care of the check-in procedures before taking you to your villa. There’s no big check-in counter, but private desks for more privacy.

The exteriors of the 30 luxurious villas at Anantara Al Yamm blend harmoniously with the environment, while the interiors have been carefully designed to offer a 5-star experience worthy of local hospitality, combining the natural beauty of the place with modern comfort and the luxury that Anantara is known for.

Al Yamm, which means ‘the sea’, was inspired by the Arish dwellings of the first fishermen and pearl divers who lived seasonally on the island. Anantara Al Yamm Villa Resort was built based on the concept of sustainable development, perfectly complementing the island’s delicate ecosystem.

al yamm villa resort anantara

"A place to discover or rediscover, thanks to the various options offered by the resort on the island”


Our villa, situated by a natural mangrove lagoon with the island’s beach as the backdrop, offered a view worthy of a postcard. For early risers, you’ll enjoy a magnificent scene at sunset, perfect for spectacular photos.

The villas provide all the comfort you’ll need and plenty of space, with a separate entrance, a bedroom including a lounge area, and a very spacious bathroom with a huge bathtub, a room with a tropical shower, and separate toilets.

al yamm villa by anantara

Outside, you can enjoy your terrace with a lounge area or sunbeds and umbrellas to admire the view and the mangrove fauna, or feed the island’s birds that will flock to your feet to devour the natural seeds you can get at the reception.

All modern comforts are provided in the villa: high-definition flat-screen TV, iPod audio station, coffee machine, minibar, Wi-Fi connection, and digital switches to control the villa’s lighting and offer various lighting atmospheres depending on the time of day.

al yamm villa anantara


As mentioned earlier, you’ll have the option to dine at the different restaurants in the resort. During our stay, our lunch was served at Olio, the Italian restaurant of the resort. The breakfast, hearty and varied, consists of a buffet of continental and Arab dishes, as well as fresh fruits, cheeses, fresh juices, and an omelette station. Plenty to fuel up for a day of exploration on the island!

We returned to Olio for one of our dinners, where we could savor typical Italian cuisine made from fresh and flavorful ingredients.

anantara al yamm olio

The other restaurants available on the island include Amwaj Seafood, specializing in seafood and located in the main hotel, the Palm restaurant offering an international and Arab buffet, Al Shams, the restaurant and pool bar also located at the Desert Islands Resort & Spa, the main hotel of the resort.

The last restaurant, Savannah Grill & Lounge located in the Al Sahel Villa resort, is simply a small wonder and offers unique cuisine based on African specialties and game meat. We spent one of our evenings at Savannah during our stay, and it was an absolutely exceptional experience. The chef, originally from Zimbabwe, offers a selection of typical African dishes on the menu, which we tried based on his recommendations.

One of the highlights of this culinary experience will be the tasting of African deer meat: simply delicious. Other game meats are also offered on the menu, and we wholeheartedly recommend this restaurant if you’re staying at Anantara, as you won’t often have the chance to taste such dishes in the region.


Complete change of scenery! Those are the words that would suffice to summarize our stay at Anantara Sir Bani Yas Island, Al Yamm Villas. 

Despite the journey to get to the island, how can you not fall in love with this gem off the coast of Abu Dhabi, still relatively unknown to the majority of UAE residents? 

A place to discover or rediscover, thanks to the various options offered by the resort on the island and the numerous activities that can be enjoyed there (to be discovered in a forthcoming article!)



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