x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Ask the expert: affordable accommodation in Al Ain

A reader is looking for a comfortable and inexpensive stay in Al Ain.

I want to go to Al Ain for two nights next week but all I can find are five-star hotels. I would prefer to stay at something that's comfortable but low-key and relaxed. Can you help?

Al Ain is home to a handful of hotels, half of which are in the luxury category. The other half include a few three-star resorts that attract visitors looking to explore the city's main sites while enjoying a quiet poolside break, and smaller hotels and serviced apartments, mostly in the city centre, targeted at business travellers.

City Seasons Hotel (www.cityseasonsgroup.com; 03 755 0220), located beside the Ruler's Diwan and close to the city centre, is a three-star business hotel with a roof-top swimming pool and massage rooms, plus a gym and sauna and free parking. Standard rooms have a bedroom, living area and a kitchenette with tea- and coffee-making facilities, and cost from Dh550 per night, including taxes. The front desk supplies tickets to Al Ain Zoo and Al Ain Oasis.

Al Massa Hotel Apartments (www.almasahotels.com; 03 761 8288) on Hamdan Bin Mohamad Street is a practical option located in the heart of the city and popular among business visitors, with simple rooms and an inexpensive restaurant. Double rooms cost from Dh400 per night, including taxes.

Opposite Safeer Mall on Al Masoody Street is the slightly more expensive Asfar Resort (www.asfarhotels.com; 03 762 8882), a four-star that offers rooms, suites and seven villas. The rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows and high-speed internet, and the restaurant has a live band playing most nights. A one-bedroom suite costs from Dh700, including breakfast and taxes.

The three-star Danat Hotel & Resort (www.danat.com; 03 704 6000) on Al Salam Street and five minutes from the city centre, offers large, comfortable rooms, three swimming pools and an in-house masseuse. A short drive away are the Al Ain Zoo and the National Museum. Double rooms costs from Dh400, including breakfast and taxes.

If you want to avoid the heat and dust of the city, head to Mercure Grand Jebel Hafeet (www.mercure.com; 03 783 8888), a resort at the top of a 915m mountain. The general atmosphere at this four-star "mountain oasis" is laid-back, and the rooms are airy and spacious, with views of Al Ain city hundreds of metres below. There are three temperature-controlled swimming pools, a sauna and steam room, and a fairly good restaurant and cafe. At the bottom of the mountain lies the "Green Mubazzarah", a collection of natural hot springs that are worth a visit; nearby is a man-made lake. Double rooms cost from about Dh500 per night, including breakfast and taxes.

Al Ain also has a "Couchsurfing community" - for details, visit www.couchsurfing.org/group.html?gid=17600.

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