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Oman and the Emirates: your luxury guide to the best of the UAE

When you hear of the UAE or the United Arab Emirates, a few things probably come to mind. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the Burj Khalifa, ultra-modern architecture, enormous shopping centers, extravagant entertainment attractions, and a whole lot more. But aside from the well-known tourist attractions and modern-day features, the UAE is known for one other thing, luxury. A part of the world rich not just in culture, but in luxurious hotels and resorts too, each Emirate has something ultra special (and luxurious!) to offer you. Whether you’re visiting for business or leisure, with friends, family, or a loved one, this special part of the world is home to some of the most spectacular and magical halal friendly getaways, you won’t want to miss. Abu Dhabi: Emirates Palace Have you ever wished you could live the life of a King or Queen for just one day? If you’re a lover of royalty and everything luxury, the Emirates Palace in the UAE’s capital is perfect for you, and probably a dream come true. Lavishly designed both inside and out, this magical location is here to provide you with luxury hospitality and authentic local experiences. Defined as an unrivaled and Arabian fantasy, your 5-star stay will be one you may have believed only happened in dreams. Enjoy its pristine beach, landscaped pools, private marina, and natural bay, all while relaxing in a private and secure halal friendly environment. From the minute you step foot on the palace’s grounds, you’ll enter a fairytale-like scenery you won’t want to leave. Expect luxurious features and amenities with every step you take, and be prepared to stand in awe as you wander through the palace’s grounds. A place for leisure, business, romance, and more, the Emirates Palace is truly a must visit when in the UAE, especially if you’re looking for something that promises you an ‘extra special’ insight into the luxurious royal life. Dubai: One & Only The Palm Imagine dining by Dubai’s skyline. The mesmerizing views of some of the world’s most famous buildings lit up with lights dancing in the sky, while their reflection glistens across Dubai Bay. A romantic and relaxing atmosphere you know you’ll enjoy, one that’s only capable of coming true when staying at the One & Only The Palm in Dubai. Home to what’s been called the ‘City of Gold’, the Only & Only The Palm is a luxurious getaway in Dubai’s famous Palm Island. An elegant beachfront oasis of luxurious gardens and cascading fountains are ready to welcome you at this breathtaking getaway suitable for guests of all ages and traveling for any occasion. The perfect retreat if you’re looking for luxuries from head to toe, the One & Only The Palm offers suites and villas with private pools, luxuries left, right, and center, and sensory delights with their many culinary experiences and heartwarming views. It’s here you’ll enjoy living the ‘good life’ as you soak up the sun in one of Dubai’s most luxurious locations, before retreating to your private accommodation which we’re sure you’ll agree, is among the most luxurious you’ll ever get to see. Sharjah: Sheraton Sharjah Beach Resort & Spa Set to become the city’s favorite seaside gathering place for both short getaways and extended holidays, The Sheraton Sharjah Beach Resort & Spa is a must visit when exploring the Emirate of Sharjah. If you’re looking for something just as luxurious as what Dubai and Abu Dhabi have to offer, minus the hustle and bustle of the busy crowds, then Sharjah Sheraton Beach Resort & Spa needs to be on your ‘to visit’ list. Widely considered the nation’s cultural capital, this private beach getaway provides you with the perfect holiday experience that’s combined luxury and culture to its best. City and sea views provide both a lively and relaxing backdrop, while the luxury accommodation has carefully been designed to cater to both little travelers and older guests needs. From spa packages and holistic treatments to sumptuous local dining and friendly social events, this 5* resort is a retreat for all ages and any occasion. If Sharjah is on your travel list, we’d highly recommend dropping by the Sheraton Sharjah Beach Resort & Spa for the perfect combination of luxury, culture, and dining experiences. With local flavors to enjoy and delicious fresh seafood, a relaxing beach, and 2 swimming pools, this holiday destination isn’t just about unwinding in luxury and having fun, but getting to experience the cultural side of the UAE and why all the Emirates have more to offer than just fun under the sun. Ras Al Khaimah: The Ritz Carlton, Al Wadi Desert Experience the beauty of the UAE’s desert at the luxurious Al Wadi Desert Resort. Situated in Ras Al Khaimah, north to Dubai, enjoy an Emirate covered in nature and desert that has a few extra special features you’ll surprisingly enjoy. Retreating to a desert may not seem luxurious enough for some, but we guarantee you’ll have a change of heart the moment you set your eyes on this luxury escape. The Ritz Carlton, Al Wadi Desert is a 5-star resort offering tranquility, picturesque scenery, and rich culture. But let’s not forget what makes this place extra special; home to a magical land offering a selection of private pool villas, enjoy an authentic Arabian stay as you relax in a setting far away from the busy streets and crowded city. Floor to ceiling windows allow you to feel right at home with the surrounding nature, just as your luxury accommodation provides you with the extra luxuries you seek. Offering a range of different activities such as desert trips, camel caravans, horse riding, star gazing, archery, and ultra special dining, it’s here you’ll appreciate an escape far from your usual city luxuries, and an experience in a desert that will leave you with picture-perfect memories you’ll never forget. Ajman: The Oberoi Beach Resort, Al Zorah An easy drive from Dubai airport, The Oberoi Beach Resort, Al Zorah is a unique, luxury destination situated among protected mangrove forest in the heart of the UAE. Home to an expansive private beach, be prepared to feel millions of miles away as you enter the private roads to this luxury getaway. Thoughtfully designed as a luxurious retreat, it’s here you can step back, relax, and take all the time you need to enjoy the sophisticated and contemporary architecture The Oberoi Beach Resort, Al Zorah has to offer. Panoramic ocean views, long white sandy beaches, lagoons, and exceptional biodiversity is ready to fulfill your holiday needs. The modern villas and rooms at  The Oberoi Beach Resort, Al Zorah offers terraces facing the breathtaking beach, with a handful of luxury features such as private gardens and pools, spacious rooms, and all your expected top class amenities. The selection of dining experiences at The Oberoi Beach Resort, Al Zorah gives you the chance to enjoy a combination of flavors. Dig into the best of the UAE’s cuisine, while fresh seafood, international dishes, and al fresco dining lets you satisfy your cravings with the multiple different flavors. Personalized spa treatments, thrilling water sports, and a combination of modern-day luxury and The Oberoi hospitality will perfectly complement your stay. Fujairah: Miramar Al Aqah Beach Resort Escape to your paradise in Fujairah. The true embodiment of this beautiful Emirates’ luxury, Miramar Al Aqah Beach Resort offers a warm and friendly atmosphere that has uniquely blended traditional Arabian culture with luxury modern amenities. Perfect for Muslim travelers looking to escape to a hidden paradise, enjoy the elegance of warm accommodation and luxury amenities alongside lavish dining experiences, and top-notch hospitality. With plenty of facilities available on site, expect to keep yourself busy as you enjoy water sports, gymnastics, aerobics, games and more, for guests of all ages. The accommodation at the Miramar Al Aqah Beach Resort has carefully been designed to create a warm and vibrant feel that ensures a comfortable nights sleep. Decorated in colors to reflect the sand and sea, expect to be taken back as you enjoy classic furnishings complemented with modern day conveniences. All rooms and suites at the Miramar Al Aqah Beach Resort have been spaciously built providing you plenty of room to lounge around during day and night. Dining at the Miramar Al Aqah Beach Resort is another treat that not many hotels and resorts in Fujairah have to offer. With a selection of award-winning restaurants, cuisine, dining experiences, and views, we’re sure each meal will leave you filled with satisfaction. Oman: Six Senses Zighy Bay A real treat for travelers looking to explore and discover the Omani lifestyle, Six Senses Zighy Bay is a luxurious escape on the northern Musandam Peninsula in the Sultanate of Oman. Compared to its modernized neighbors such as Abu Dhabi and Dubai, Oman is a breath of fresh, sea air, and is popular for its laid back, safe, secure, and peaceful environment. If you’re looking for a place where you can sit back, relax, and literally just wait for the time to pass by, then the Six Senses Zighy Bay is for you. The beautiful setting of an indigenous village-style accommodation and private marina, with dramatic mountains to one side, and the sandy beach of Zighy Bay on the other, makes the perfect destination for couples looking for the ultimate retreat. Offering specialty villas and suites, enjoy the Omani lifestyle with an emphasis of privacy. An exquisite experience only a few get to enjoy, your private walled enclaves and personal pools provide you with the luxury and privacy you need to enjoy a romantic stay in Oman. Six Senses Zighy Bay isn’t just a place to relax, it’s your go-to for ‘out of this world’ experiences not many hotels or resorts can provide. Experience paragliding over Zighy Bay, diving and snorkeling in the home of Oman’s most spectacular corals and reefs, or enjoy traditional Shua Shack Bedouin Dining for a family style, open-air experience on the beach. A destination that will definitely tantalize your senses, get ready to feel the sand beneath your toes, the taste of Oman’s halal culinary delights, and the sound of peace and quiet as you relax in pure luxury surrounded by nothing but the very best. Nabeel Shariff is the Owner of Luxury Halal Travel. Luxury Halal Travel brings together some of the world’s leading hotel brands to offer Muslim travellers incredible experiences whilst observing their Muslim faith. If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

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  1. You see some surprising sights at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi – I once saw some cricket in the grounds. Spectators were watching sat on regal chairs, with their feet on oriental rugs and waiters provide cups of tea and sandwiches. Only the Emirates Palace could provide such attention to detail and unrestrained luxury.

  2. I am surprised that Oman only gets one mention in this round-up. Muscat has some incredibly opulent and luxurious hotels with the Al-Bustan Pslace and The Chedi leading the way. They’ve both got fantastic locations along a beautiful coastline with the fantastic backdrop of the Hajar Mountains. Maybe, another time, it would be an idea to do s follow-up post on what Oman has to offer.

    1. Thanks Pete! Yes, some excellent properties in Muscat and elsewhere in Oman too. The Al Bustan Palace has just undergone a refurbishment as well so we look forward to checking it out and hopefully write up more on Oman in a future article.

  3. With all those high-rise luxury hotels people often forget the Old Dubai. When you are in the glitzy malls it’s difficult to remember that just fifty years ago Dubai was little more than camels, palm trees and sand.

    A really good way of getting in touch with the heritage is to arrange a visit to The Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding. They do a great brunch where you learn about Arabic traditions such as the rituals for drinking coffee and can even dress up in traditional Arabic clothing.

    1. Many thanks for that great tip Elizabeth! You are definitely right. With Dubai continuing to expand and more hotels and buildings being constructed, it is easy to forget the origins as you say. Definitely worth a visit to learn more about the history and local culture.

  4. I’m rather surprised that you didn’t mention Oman’s Royal Opera House in Muscat. As well as being a stunningly beautiful piece of bold architecture it symbolises the Sultan’s vision for his people. When he came to power there were just 5km of tarmac roads in the country, people laughed when he said they would build an opera house. He looked ahead and sent talented young Omanis to the Royal School of Music to learn their trade. Remarkably the Royal Opera House and visitors enjoy world class performances of music and opera from the world’s greatest performers. On top of that tickets are very competitively priced too.

    1. Argh – that’s something I should have mentioned in my comment too. How could I forget the ROH Muscat?

      Obviously if you can get to a performance do so. No offence intended but Covent Garden looks like a provincial theatre in comparison. ROH is a palatial tribute to Opera.

      But if you are just passing through then take a tour of the ROH. It only takes about 25 minutes and you are given time to explore on your own too. My hotel had a grandiose coffee table book on the ROH and I spent a fascinating afternoon reading that.

    2. Thanks Roger, yes the Royal Opera House in Muscat is certainly worth a visit whilst in Muscat, incredible piece of architecture!

  5. Is that final picture that goes with the Oman hotel, the one of a feast being prepared, up in the mountains by Oman’s answer to America’s Grand Canyon? Obviously, Oman’s canyon is nowhere near as long but if you are standing looking over the precipice it is still very awe-inspiring. Though where it wins over America’s version is that it just isn’t commercialised. There’s a rough gravel lay-by with room for about half-dozen cars.

    1. Thanks Fred, Oman has some incredible terrain and mountains around the country. This picture is from the northern part of Oman, Musandam. However even elsewhere nearer Muscat, areas like Nizwa have similar mountainous terrain and there are some excellent resorts too perched high up in the mountains overlooking the canyons.

  6. Oman isn’t in the UAE, is it? But a great list of luxury hotels in the Middle-East. If it’s not just UAE you were aiming to cover, we’d have loved to read about Qatar, Bahrain, and Kuwait as well.

    1. Hi Ankita, thanks for you comment. We’ve included hotels from both Oman and the UAE hence the title of Oman and the UAE so sorry for any confusion! The hotel which we included – The Six Senses Zighy Bay is actually on a separate peninsula away from mainland Oman and a lot closer to Dubai and elsewhere in the UAE compared to Muscat for eg.

      Certainly, there are many more properties we could have mentioned such as the few touched upon in the comments above. Hopefully we’ll cover more from elsewhere in the Middle East in a future article!

    2. It’s a fair point from Ankita about there being other places in the Middle East than just the United Arab Emirates and Oman. Recently, I’ve read that Saudi Arabia is issuing tourist visas and is keen to start a tourist industry. So far it’s a kingdom that really has flown underneath the radar. From what I’ve heard it has a very spectacular landscape. It would be interesting to learn if it’s got enough luxury hotels to accommodate a sudden influx of tourists. Maybe there could be an ALTB piece on Saudi Arabia at some stage? I’m also interested in Qatar. Hosting the recent athletics championships and the forthcoming football World Cup is raising the country’s profile and the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha is said to be amazing.

  7. Going in and out of different 5-star hotels gets less and less interesting as time goes by. There’s nothing much to do than just living like kings and queens for a few days and spend thousands of dollars in shopping centers, services, and food. I’d rather spend my time in a relaxing beach resort and be far from the city’s pollution, just savouring the cold breeze of sea air and a little dip in the cold crystal clear waters of Al Zorah.

  8. We are a group that will be visiting Muscat for a day.
    Please advise major sights we must see.

    Thank you

  9. I was lucky enough to spend Christmas and New Year 2018 in Muscat. It was utterly magical and I’m very much regretting that we are not going back for this Christmas. Swimming in the sea on New Year’s Day was such a luxury. We also did a trip up into the Hajar mountains. Maybe a trip in 2020 would be a good idea.

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