“Discover the best-kept secret of the Emirates within this stellar beachfront resort, located on the Western coast of Abu Dhabi.” Danat Hotels & Resorts
Out in the depths of Abu Dhabi’s Western Region lies the Danat Jebel Dhanna Resort, a vast self-contained beachside resort. The journey to the Al Gharbia region via highway E11 is thoroughly dull and drawn-out (2½ hours door-to-door) along one of the region’s most notoriously dangerous roads, kilometre after kilometre of identical expressway broken up with the odd gas station and a few scattered palm trees.
Drinks and cold towels were offered as soon as we arrived, the check-in process was quick and seamless, the reception staff were welcoming and very cheerful, a good start after such a long drive. This standalone resort’s best feature is its beach front location, a long private stretch of pristine white sand along the coastline that is quite simply stunning. The large freshwater pool with the swim-up Waves bar is another attribute as is the abundance of water sports and massages available at the beachside gazebo. Although very clean and comfortable, the main hotel building is dated as are the rooms, in comparison the twenty-four new one and two bedroom beachfront chalets are modern and benefit from the best location in the resort, right on the beach with views out across the Arabian Gulf.
Designed with guest relaxation and wellbeing in mind, the Body & Soul Recreation Club offers a range of rejuvenating massages and reflexology. There is not a dedicated spa just two treatment rooms where we indulged in hour-long Balinese and Deep Tissue massages with our adept therapists Sucith and Avelina. Steam and sauna rooms are also available and the adjacent in-house salon proffers a range of hair care services, nail treatments and waxing.
The more active can use the well equipped gym, play some tennis on the two outdoor floodlit courts or play squash indoors. Thrill seekers can try the watersports* that include windsurfing, kayaking, wakeboarding, waterskiing, banana boat and tube rides, keen fishermen can book a deep sea fishing trip. Those who like exploring the warm waters further can take a snorkelling trip or boat cruise. The resort is very family friendly with an indoor children’s playroom, kids pool, swimming lessons and outdoor playground.
There are several dining options including C-View, the large lobby cafe with you guessed it a seaview and L’attitude, a popular bar that’s open from an early evening happy hour to late. Live entertainment is provided courtesy of the filipino band who bump and grind their way through all genres to a backing track, those looking to linger can enjoy music from across the decades from the resident DJ.
L’attitude’s substantial bar menu includes a wide selection of international dishes along with a large pork selection (unavailable when we dined there) accompanied by beers, wines, premium beverages and cocktails. Due to the inclement weather the weekly Friday beach BBQ was cancelled.
Tides all-day dining restaurant located just off the lobby offers theme nights and buffet style dining for breakfast, lunch and dinner. While both the food (we sampled breakfast and lunch) and the service at Tides were somewhat underwhelming in complete comparison Zaitoun (meaning olive in Arabic) Italian restaurant is the resort’s best dining outlet. Well-presented dishes and attentive staff were the order of the day with a good selection of Italian cuisine, well stocked wine cellar and a romantic ambiance. While it’s not the best fine-dining we’ve ever tasted we did enjoy the three course set menu with favourites such as burrata, beef carpaccio, risotto and a delicious tiramisu, the later served old-school style in a cup and saucer topped with sponge fingers. Longer staying guests could tire of the limited dining options available.
All the one hundred and nine guest rooms and suites have a sea view which is a bonus, a sweeping view of the ocean and grounds below. Some of the rooms have balconies but most are without, a pillow menu is offered for guests to select their ideal level of comfort and all toiletries are organic. We spent our first night in a deluxe room, a standard hotel room with few redeeming features, the furniture, textiles and decoration are all in need of updating as is the bathroom. The air-conditioning was fierce and the room was too cold. The window was not properly sealed so we spent a restless night as the wind howled and the rain seeped through the gaps and soaked the carpet below, the bed, however, was large and comfortable. The solution offered to combat the noisy, leaking window was duct tape which is not a five-star establishment solution, we preferred to move rooms.
Our second night was spent in one of the new beachfront chalets that opened in January, a modern and spacious room with a private terrace and direct access to the beach. While there are not the most attractive buildings from the outside, inside is an appealing, a contemporary space that’s well furnished, a sizable bathroom with a walk-in rainfall shower, small amenity area for making tea and coffee and plenty of wardrobe space. A complete contrast to the first room in terms of aesthetics and quality of sleep, we tried room service for breakfast but were disappointed with it being dumped inside our door and the quality and quantity of the food.
While the resort’s main focus was formerly corporate clients due to its location to the nearby industrial area of Ruwais, the introduction of the chalets is designed to attract a new clientele. Encouraging more international tourists and families is at the forefront of the resort’s agenda alongside those who currently visit from neighbouring Saudi Arabia and UAE residents looking for a staycation.
If you are looking for a quiet relaxing weekend at the beach, Danat Jebel Dhanna Resort is ideal. You are guaranteed a warm welcome from the staff but just because it says five star on the door do not expect the highest end accommodation or quality of cuisine. Quite frankly we are spoilt with fabulous hotels here in the UAE and it’s easy to be extra picky, I would however recommend the new chalets, the beautiful beach and the abundance of activities on offer.
The Nitty Gritty
Danat Jebel Dhanna Resort, Western Region, Abu Dhabi
Telephone: 02 801 2222
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Check-out: 12 noon until 2:00pm
Modern and spacious beachfront chalets
Pristine stretch of private beach
Plenty of activities
Warm and friendly staff
Free wifi throughout the resort
The Not so Good…..
Main hotel rooms in need of updating
Fourth floor corridor smelt of damp
No bath robes provided in first room
Limited dining options
*Watersports are an additional charge.
Buy one get one free main menu items are available at C-View, Tides and Zaitoun outlets in the Abu Dhabi Entertainer 2017
I was invited to review Danat Jebel Dhanna Resort. All views are my own based on my experience. Unless otherwise stated all photos © Jo Brett 2017. All rights reserved. Additional photos used with courtesy of www.jebeldhanna.danathotels.com