x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Anantara walks on the wild side with Sir Bani Yas Island villa resort

The 30 villas are located in a 4,100-hectare Arabian Wildlife Park, and are billed as part of a “desert savannah resort” as it aims to attract families to the UAE's Western Region.

The Sir Bani Yas Island Al Sahel Villa Resort. Courtesy Anantara
The Sir Bani Yas Island Al Sahel Villa Resort. Courtesy Anantara

A Thai hotel chain has unveiled its third property in the Western Region as Abu Dhabi Government focuses on developing the area.

Anantara Hotels, Resorts and Spas has opened its Arabian wildlife-themed Anantara Sir Bani Yas Island Al Sahel Villa Resort.

The 30 villas are located in a 4,100-hectare Arabian Wildlife Park, and are billed as part of a “desert savannah resort”.

The property is targeting families with children 12 years or older.

“Our approach to move away from the younger families is an effort to retain the serene and tranquil ambience of the resort, which is a key part of the guest experience,” said Helen Van Wengen, area director of sales and marketing for Abu Dhabi at Anantara.

The key markets for the property are the Gulf and the UAE, as well as European countries such as the United Kingdom and Germany.

“Additional markets beyond the geographical source markets and free, independent travellers, [include] boutique weddings and honeymoon [guests],” Ms Van Wengen said. “This is a discerning segment but one that the all-villa product offering is an ideal complement for intimate gatherings.”

Anantara also runs the Desert Islands Resort and Spa and Anantara Sir Bani Yas Island Al Yamm Villa Resort.

“With this latest offering, guests can now choose from a range of stay experiences that will certainly meet their holiday expectations and encourage visitors to the island – especially with the introduction of new direct flights from Abu Dhabi and Dubai to Sir Bani Yas,” said Ali Al Hammadi, deputy managing director of developer Tourism Development and Investment Company.

Guests can choose a one-bedroom villa, one-bedroom pool villas or two-bedroom pool villas, which are accessed by 4x4 land cruiser cars.

Opening room rates start at Dh2,200 per villa a night for two adults, inclusive of breakfast.

The Abu Dhabi Government has focused on the development of Western Region, also known as Al Gharbia, to diversify the economy

“The Western Region is one of the priorities of the Abu Dhabi Government in terms of economic regeneration and more importantly, job creation,” said John Podaras, a Dubai-based partner at consultancy Hotel Development Resources.

But the remoteness of the region also has a downside.

“[It] means achieving significant year-round occupancies is challenging due to access, seasonality issues and short length of stay, characteristic of the holiday and weekend visitor profile,” he said. “The region needs a critical mass of attractions and development of significant industrial and commercial centres to generate higher levels of demand for hotel accommodation.”

In May, Al Gharbia Development Forum underscored the region’s potential for the private sector as the Government announced a Dh330 billion package of investment over the next five years.

The Western Region Development Council is also offering land it owns around Madinat Zayed, Ruwais, Liwa, Ghayathi, Mirfa, Sila and Delma Island to UAE developers free of charge to build homes, shops and community services.

The Western Region is home to the Shams1 solar power plant and a nuclear power plant besides power plants in Ruwais and Ghuwaifat, ports and local housing projects.

Al Gharbia covers 60 per cent of Abu Dhabi’s land mass but has just 11 per cent of the emirate’s population.