As travel restrictions continue to ease, residents across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states are starting to venture out once again. While some people are exploring the green lists and corridor options, others are choosing destinations that are closer to home for now. Here are some great getaways in the GCC during the upcoming Eid Al-Adha holidays.

Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait at Burj Alshaya, Kuwait

Boasting five restaurants and lounges, the Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait at Burj Alshaya offers a complete experience where guests can sleep, dine and enjoy all the facilities without leaving the property.

Guests are welcomed into rooms and suites featuring oak hardwood floors, a curved sofa, a wall-mounted TV, as well as the latest tech for bedside control of lighting and drapery and a tablet to access hotel services. The Dai Forni offers rooftop views and matched Italian cuisine. Guests can also enjoy delicious food at the Elements restaurant, which showcases international cuisine with live cooking stations for Asian, Indian, Arabic and Italian specialties. On the fourth-floor terrace beside the outdoor pool is Al Bandar restaurant and lounge. The highlight of the property is, of course, the spa.

With an array of massages and facials, as well as non-invasive beauty treatments and medical cosmetics, the two-level spa facility features ten treatment rooms, including two suites with bathtubs, a Psammotherapy suite and a Hammam for those looking to receive the royal treatment. For those interested in exploring local sites, Souk Al-Mubarakiya is 1.5 km from the hotel, while Souq Al Kuwait is 1.6 km away.

Bab Al Shams Desert Resort and Spa, Dubai

Set amidst gently rolling dunes and surrounded by natural desert landscape, Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa is a unique venue for meetings, conferences and getaways offering rich Arabian heritage.

Translated from Arabic, Bab Al Shams means Gateway to the Sun and indeed offers just that — unparalleled desert sunsets and tranquility that can only be truly appreciated after the last 18 months of lockdowns. The resort boasts 115 rooms and suites, eight dining venues and temperature-controlled swimming pools, each one surrounded by desert dunes and manicured green lawns.

The enchanting desert backdrop combined with rustic-themed facilities makes this property a unique venue to escape for Eid for both couples and families. Known for its luxurious hospitality and gorgeous off-the-beaten-path location, the Bab Al Shams spa is also one of the UAE’s unique desert pampering hideaways. The award-winning Satori Spa’s soothing environs indulge all the senses with a His and Her menu.

Ladies can look forward to Satori for Her, a combination of treatments for two and a half hours covering the famous traditional Balinese Massage that combines unique selections of naturally blended oils to warm the muscles and relax the mind, followed by a luminous Sea Facial, a highly repairing treatment for dehydrated skin that combines the high potency of vitamin C with a stimulating freeze-dried seaweed rendering skin firmer and more rejuvenated.

To complete the perfect spa experience, the treatment concludes with a relaxing scalp massage designed to encourage circulation and reduce tension within the head, making it ideal for reducing stress. The resort is a 45-minute drive from Dubai International Airport and 95 km from Abu Dhabi International. It will be offering free-flowing beverages by the poolside for six hours over the Eid break.

Mysk Al Badayer Retreat, Sharjah

If you have never experienced genuine Emirati hospitality before, this would be the ideal place to visit — a picturesque desert resort stop set against the sweeping dunes of central Sharjah. Inspired by a traditional Arabian castle and decorated with the comfort of modernity, Al Badayer Retreat features 21 rooms and ten luxury air-conditioned tents adorned with Arabian culture and ornaments that will leave you with 1001 memories.

A picture-perfect couples retreat, each of the property’s luxury tents feature a private pool that overlooks interesting topography and striking red dunes. And just in case the tour pool gets dusty – a friendly butler and staff can come to clear it for you daily. The property design is contemporary and stylish and features a peaceful mosque, meeting rooms, a children’s play area, and various desert activities.

From dune bashing to stargazing, guests can learn about desert life while enjoying exquisite seafood dishes at the two local restaurants on-site or even consider a romantic dinner for two on top of the castle tower at sunset with the sight of dunes climbing to the horizon. Guests can also spend the day experiencing the art of henna or even go on an adrenaline-fueled adventure exploring the desert’s gems with desert safaris, sandboarding, dune bashing, stargazing and falconry displays.

A great vacation getaway where you will carry back authentic cultural riches in the heart of Sharjah’s desert, the Mysk Al Badayer Retreat is the ideal getaway if you have dreamed of living like a sultan surrounded by sweeping golden dunes.

Alila Jabal Akhdar, Nizwa, Oman

Located 2,000 meters above sea level in the Hajar Mountains, Alila Jabal Akhdar hotel is a haven for adventure travelers, nature lovers and those seeking a retreat from the scorching desert of the Gulf when temperatures rise.

The name Jabal Akhdar in Arabic stands for ‘The Green Mountain’ in reference to the surrounding scenery which hugs the entire property. The hotel offers stunning views from the 5-star Juniper Restaurant which features a menu inspired by the ‘golden age of Arabic cuisine’ and evolved to capture the influence of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean trading through the ages.

This decadent mountain lodge also offers a world-class spa that blends ancient Asian massage and healing techniques with modern relaxation, meditation, and physiological care. The spa offers a Vichy shower room, Jacuzzis, steam room, and more. Placing a strong focus on wellness, the hotel features picture-perfect pools, sunrise yoga and stargazing, among other activities. Outside of the resort, guests can go on epic treks, canyon walks and cave explorations.

Sofitel Zallaq Thalassa Sea & Spa, Bahrain

Overlooking the Arabian Gulf on Bahrain’s west coast, this 5-star luxury hotel in Bahrain boasts the only Thalassa Sea Spa in the GCC. The hotel has 262 elegantly appointed rooms and suites, each with a private balcony, the latest technology, and chic furnishings. This luxury beachfront resort offers an unparalleled view of the Arabian sea from all of its room categories.

The spectacular seawater spa blends French art de Vivre with traditional Bahraini elegance. The thalassotherapy spa complex offers a vast array of seawater-based treatments, including hydrotherapy, massage and wellness. Restore your inner energy with individual thalassotherapy treatments, wraps, massage, and relaxing or stimulating sessions in the indoor heated seawater pool.

Set admits a manicured garden with swaying palm trees, the inviting outdoor pool draws you to its shimmering blue waters, and you can swim to the pool bar for a refreshing cocktail or spend the afternoon lying under the shade.

There is also a beach club with a fitness facility, steam rooms, tennis and squash courts, and golf sessions for the avid golfers with the first eco-friendly golf ball in Bahrain that dissolves into water becoming fish food! Bahrain International Airport and Manama city are just a 30-minute drive from Sofitel Bahrain, and the hotel is just 5 km away from the Bahrain International Circuit.

By Hermoine Macura-Noble
The first Australian English speaking News Anchor in the Middle East. She is also the Author of Faces of the Middle East and Founder of US-based 501c3 charity – The House of Rest which helps to ease the suffering of victims of war. For more from our Contributing Editor, you can follow her on Instagram, here.

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