Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 10 July 2020

CORONAVIRUS

7 Eid staycation deals in Dubai and Sharjah at hotels taking safety seriously

We've only featured hotels that are committed about social distancing

The Eid Al Fitr holiday is just around the corner, with many people set to enjoy a long weekend.

Normally, this would be a bumper time for travel from the UAE, but because of Covid-19 restrictions, this Eid looks set to be a little different. With the majority of passenger flights in and out of the country still suspended and a lengthy application processes for permission to return, it’s unlikely people will be lining up to book an overseas escape.

Many of us will instead be looking for a change of scenery via a staycation. Hotels in Ajman and Fujairah reopened a few weeks ago and, in Dubai, hotel beaches were given permission to reopen on Wednesday, May 13.

And now, hotels across the country have announced Eid staycation deals in the hope of enticing travellers through their doors this coming long weekend.

We've examined safety protocols and selected staycation deals only at properties that have gone to great lengths to introduce new Covid-19 policies in a bid to ensure guests' safety.

From digital menus and contactless room service deliveries, to socially distanced sunbeds, these hotels say they are making travellers' safety a priority.

1. Jumeirah Al Naseem, Dubai

Jumeirah Al Naseem has reopened its private beach and has introduced several safety measures across the resort. Courtesy Jumeirah
Jumeirah Al Naseem has reopened its private beach and has introduced several safety measures across the resort. Courtesy Jumeirah

What's on offer?

UAE residents can book a package from Dh750 per night, including complimentary breakfast, and lunch or dinner.

Safety measures in place

The hotel is abiding by social-distancing measures and has cut the number of guests that it is welcoming each day. Upon arrival, everyone has their temperature checked and face masks are mandatory.

On the resort's private beach, sunbeds are carefully spaced two metres apart and only hotel guests have access to the shoreline. The kids' club, spa, fitness centre and swimming pools are currently closed to comply with Dubai regulations and Wild Wadi Waterpark, to which access is usually given as a complimentary addition for Jumeirah hotel guests, is also closed at this time.

What to expect

Jumeirah Al Naseem's private beach has reopened for hotel guests only. Courtesy Jumeirah Al Naseem 
Jumeirah Al Naseem's private beach has reopened for hotel guests only. Courtesy Jumeirah Al Naseem 

Under the shadow of Burj Al Arab, Jumeirah Al Naseem has a relaxed vibe that's a bit more low-key than its famous neighbour. Meandering pathways, palm-fringed gardens and a two-kilometre private beach await guests at this beach-side escape. Signature restaurants Kayto and Rockfish are open to guests. The first offers rooftop views and a blend of Peruvian and Japanese cuisine and the latter serves up fresh Mediterranean seafood by the shore. Guests can also dine at Shimmers, an al fresco Greek restaurant at Jumeirah Mina A’Salam, which is within walking distance.

On the resort's private beach, sunbeds are carefully spaced two metres apart and only hotel guests have access to the shoreline.

The room to book

All of the rooms are lovely, but request a sea view to make the most of this hotel’s shoreline location. The Family Suite is a good pick for adults with children, offering plenty of space with a separate living room, outdoor terrace and sweeping views of the ocean.

Jumeirah Al Naseem, Umm Suqeim, Dubai; 04 364 7555, www.jumeirah.com

2. Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort

There's 30 per cent off villa rates at Anantara Dubai The Palm Resort, with stays from Dh1,995. Courtesy Anantara
There's 30 per cent off villa rates at Anantara Dubai The Palm Resort, with stays from Dh1,995. Courtesy Anantara

What's on offer?

The special villa rates start from Dh1,995 per room this Eid, with daily breakfast.

Safety measures in place

All visitors have temperatures scanned on arrival and all public areas are undergoing high intensity sanitisation. The beach has reopened, but at 30 per cent capacity and with two metres distances between guests, and four metres between groups of people. Face masks must be worn at all times except in rooms or villas and the changing rooms and showers have been temporarily closed. Guests must bring the towels from their room to use on the beach.

What to expect

This Thai-inspired resort on the Palm Jumeirah has over water villas, a 400-metre private beach and a variety of water sports on offer, so it's ideal if you're craving an ocean escape. Feeling adventurous? Rent a kayak, aqua bike or stand up paddle board or do the opposite as you relax and take in the water views. When it comes to dining, there are four options: Mekong, The Lotus Lounge, Revo Café or Mai Bar.

Children can enjoy their very own menu at each restaurant or there's a varied in-room dining menu if you prefer to eat in private.

The room to book

For the best beach access choose a one-bedroom beach pool villa, or if you want the feeling of being on an island, try an over water villa.

Anantara The Palm Resort Dubai, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai; 04 567 8999, www.anantara.com

3. Caesars Palace Bluewaters Dubai

Caesars Bluewaters Dubai has two staycation offers on over Eid. Courtesy Caesars Bluewaters Dubai
Caesars Palace Bluewaters Dubai has two staycation offers on over Eid. Courtesy Caesars Bluewaters Dubai

What's on offer?

There are two offers available. The first costs from Dh796 per room, per night, with complimentary breakfast and 20-per-cent discount on other dining. The second is for UAE residents only and costs from Dh647 per person, per night, with complimentary breakfast and dinner.

Safety measures

Planning starts before guests arrive. A pre-check-in form is sent to guests, which can be filled in at home to reduce the amount of time spent in the lobby area, where the concierge desk is now being used as a second check-in area to ensure social distancing during arrivals and departures. There are mandatory temperature screenings on arrival and staff ensure guests maintain a two-metre distance from others and wear face masks at all times.

Many of the resort's facilities remain closed in line with government regulations, but Gordon Ramsay Hell’s Kitchen, Havana Social Club and the restaurant Two.0 at Cove Beach are open, and all dining reservations must be made in advance. Children under 12 and people over 60 are not allowed in the restaurants unless they are hotel guests, and tables can seat a maximum of four.

The pool, bars, lounges, kids' club, spa and fitness facilities are closed, but the private beach has reopened. It’s strictly for hotel guests and social distancing is being observed between sun loungers. Hopefully it won’t be needed, but there is also a hotel paramedic on standby at all times.

What to expect

There’s mandatory temperature screenings on arrival and staff are trained to ensure guests maintain a two-metre distance from others and wear face masks at all times.

Part of Bluewaters Island, this resort is connected to Jumeirah Beach in Dubai, but feels like it’s in a little world of its own thanks to its offshore location. It’s sprawling, with a hint of Las Vegas glam coupled with upscale rooms that offer unique views of Dubai. When you lounge on the palm-fringed private beach, staff will be on hand to assist with whatever you need and the landscaped gardens are a lovely spot for an evening stroll. Although it’s very close to Dubai, you feel away from the city thanks to endless ocean views and a laid-back vibe.

The room to book

Book an ocean-view room or suite to enjoy sunsets over the Arabian Gulf from the privacy of your own room.

Caesars Palace Bluewaters Dubai, Bluewaters Island; 04 556 6666, www.caesars.com

4. Andaz Dubai The Palm

The pool is, of course, closed, but Andaz's beach is open - however, loungers are distanced from each other. 
Andaz Dubai The Palm, a luxury lifestyle hotel by Hyatt

What's on offer?

Andaz Dubai The Palm's Summer Staycation offer starts from Dh550 per room, including breakfast.

Safety measures

Hyatt, the parent group of this hotel, announced its commitment to ensuring safety protocols during the Covid-19 crisis and things are already in place at Andaz Dubai The Palm. All visitors have temperature checks upon arrival and there are sanitising stations, masks and gloves throughout the hotel.

There are four reception desks operating to cut down on any queuing, and lifts and all high-contact areas are cleaned every 30 minutes using government-approved disinfectants. Guest rooms are left empty for at least 24 hours between each booking to give staff time to properly sanitise everything.

Guests can opt out of housekeeping to avoid allowing additional people in their room and room service can be delivered in a contactless manner and on disposable crockery if guests request this.

Valet parking has been suspended. Instead, guests park their own cars in the basement. The fitness centre, spa and pools are all closed at the moment to comply with safety regulations. The beach has reopened for guests only, and sunbeds are all carefully distanced for guest safety. When it comes to dining, tables have been rearranged to ensure maximum space and there’s a limit of four guests per table. QR codes are also being used to provide digital menus in place of physical ones.

What to expect

Andaz Dubai The Palm rests on a 300m private beach that's only open to hotel guests. 
Andaz Dubai The Palm rests on a 300-metre private beach that's only open to hotel guests

One of the newer players on the Palm Jumeirah, Andaz The Palm has a playful vibe coupled with gorgeous views of the ocean, Burj Al Arab and the golden shorelines of Palm Jumeirah.

Guests can opt out of housekeeping to avoid allowing additional people in their room and room service can be delivered in a contactless manner

Rooms and suites are filled with natural sunlight thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows that let guests enjoy 360-degree views all complemented by colourful, contemporary Middle Eastern-inspired art. Outside, enjoy a 300-metre private beach and tuck into food at The Locale, which has a menu featuring many of the world's cuisines.

The room to book

Go for an Andaz Suite with a shoreline view if you want the most space and the best views in the house.

Andaz Dubai The Palm, The Palm Jumeirah, Dubai; 04 581 1234, www.hyatt.com

5. The Chedi Al Bait, Sharjah

The Chedi Al Bait, Sharjah has partnered with Burjeel hospital to offer wellness retreats with rates from Dh1,500 over Eid. Courtesy The Chedi Al Bait
The Chedi Al Bait, Sharjah

What's on offer?

The "Home Away from Home" package is a wellness-focused deal that's tailored to each guest. Rates start from Dh1,500, including meals.

Safety measures in place

The Chedi Al Bait, Sharjah has revamped its approach to wellness during the pandemic to offer guests a luxury staycation that blends hospitality and healthcare. The hotel has partnered with Burjeel Hospital to offer guests health consultations with licensed doctors and all-day access to medical staff who will guide them on a well-rounded approach to wellness.

Throughout the resort, all meals are served in guests' rooms and using disposable cutlery. All contact surfaces are 100 per cent sterilised to Burjeel's hospital standards. Any travellers who do feel unwell can opt to be tested for Covid-19 (tests cost Dh370) and hospitalisation support is available 24 hours a day if travellers need further assistance.

What to expect

If it’s a retreat you seek, The Chedi Al Bait, Sharjah offers exactly this. The calming atmosphere of this staycation is meant as an antidote to the unsettling times we are living in. The Home Away from Home package includes a three-course healthy breakfast served in-room, as well as a set three-course lunch and a varied dinner menu. There’s also free laundry services and a minibar stocked with fresh juices.

The room to book

All of the rooms at The Chedi Al Bait offer plenty of space and a traditional design that’s heavily influenced by Emirati culture. Go for a patio room if you want to soak in the sounds of Sharjah’s old town as you relax in your outdoor majlis.

The Chedi Al Bait, Sharjah; 06 502 5555, www.ghmhotels.com

6. Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates, Dubai

Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates in Dubai is offering overnight stays from Dh899 including breakfast for two adults and two children in a Grand Deluxe Room. Courtesy Kempinski
Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates in Dubai is offering overnight stays from Dh899 including breakfast for two adults and two children in a Grand Deluxe Room. Courtesy Kempinski

What's on offer?

A Dh899 package includes breakfast for two adults and two children in a Grand Deluxe Room. There’s also 20 per cent off at the hotel’s restaurants, as well as early check-in and late check-out until 4pm.

Safety measures in place

Given its location, attached to one of Dubai’s busiest malls, the Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates has had to implement some strict safety protocols. These include temperature checks for all arriving guests and ensuring face masks are worn throughout the hotel. Every room in the Kempinski undergoes a 24-hour sanitation process from when one guest leaves and before another arrives, and all fittings and fixtures are disinfected at the same time.

Professional air purifiers are used to clean the air and rooms are replenished with masks and hand sanitisers ready for the next guest's arrival. Restaurants at the hotel have reopened, but they are all operating at under 30 per cent capacity and have social-distancing markers at the entrances to avoid congestion. All tables are spaced at least two metres apart. The hotel’s gym and pool remain closed for the protection of guests.

What to expect

Sleek and sophisticated, the Kempinski’s Swarovski-lined entrance sets the scene at this polished hotel, which is a good pick if you are planning a weekend of retail therapy in Dubai. It’s attached to Mall of the Emirates so you have an endless choice of things to do and there are also three great dining outlets in the hotel – Spanish restaurant Salero is one of our favourites. Staff are friendly and helpful, and it's surprisingly child-friendly, even with all its high ceilings and marble finishings.

The room to book

Ask for a sea-facing room and you’ll be able to glimpse the ocean behind the outline of Burj Al Arab, across a much-quieter-than-normal Shiekh Zayed Road.

Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates, Dubai; 04 341 0000, www.kempinski.com

7. JA The Resort, Dubai

Sunbeds at JA The Resort are spaced two metres apart for guest safety. Courtesy JA The Resort
Sunbeds at JA The Resort are spaced two metres apart for guests' safety

What's on offer?

Overnight rates start from Dh396 per night for UAE residents, and the entire rate you pay is refunded in credit to spend across the resort.

Safety measures

JA Resorts and Hotels has devised a plan that maps travellers' journeys from check-in to check-out to ensure all precautions are being followed with regard to safety. Two of the resort's three hotels remain closed – only JA Palm Tree Court is accepting reservations. Across the resort, there's social distancing signage and low-contact service interactions.

All guests need to park their own cars upon arrival as valet services are suspended. Temperature screenings are carried out and anyone with a temperature above 38 degrees Celsius will undergo further monitoring before check-in is allowed. Each guest receives a welcome sanitisation kit including a face mask and gloves and there are hand sanitising stations throughout the resort.

Guests should expect more temperature checks at restaurants, where tables are spaced two metres apart, and where young children and adults over 60 are not allowed to dine. In rooms, housekeeping teams disinfect all hard surfaces and soft furnishings, and staff wearing full PPE supply clean linens to guest rooms.

What to expect

Located in Jebel Ali, this is a good spot to get away from the city without having to travel too far. Dubai’s largest resort has an 800-metre private beach and plenty of outdoor activities including horse riding, water sports and tennis courts.

There's lots of greenery and natural wildlife including gazelles and peacocks, which make a socially distanced stroll a good option. The JA Shooting Club is open, with a shuttle service taking guests across to it, and the championship golf course is also open if you fancy a few rounds. Several restaurants, including White Orchid, the Sports Cafe, La Fontana and Captain's Bar are open for guests to choose from.

The room to book

Go for a one-bedroom sea-view suite or if you're a big family, try the two-bedroom residence suite.

JA The Resort, Jebel Ali, Dubai; 04 814 555, www.jaresortshotels.com

*We previously included the Cove Rotana, Ras Al Khaimah in this round up, but now the hotel is no longer accepting guests until Monday, June 1.

Updated: May 18, 2020 10:10 AM

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