2014-opened luxury hotel on private white-sand beach
Decadent rooms have balconies, Illy coffeemakers, and sea/creek views
High-end bathrooms with rainfall showers and Molton Brown cosmetics
Eight bars and restaurants include beach setups and gourmet seafood
Two outdoor pools and terraces galore
Full-service GOCO spa with pampering treatments and fitness center
All-inclusive packages available, plus a kids' club with kiddy pool
Function spaces, business center, and a full concierge
Free shuttles to Dubai Mall
Free parking and property-wide Wi-Fi
Immediate area empty, and journeys to Dubai are long
Fee for in-room coffee pods
Spa off limits to kids under 16 (pro for some)
Guests find poolside music repetitive
Bars and restaurants limited during Ramadan month
The clue is in the name at the 2014-opened Ajman Saray, A Luxury Collection Resort, where a beachfront location is private and tranquil, but Dubai itself is far. Decadent sea-facing terraces around two outdoor pools lure travelers outdoors, while polished interiors with warm palettes have Arabian accents. The 205 rooms and suites are similarly elegant, outfitted with serene hues, bathtubs and separate showers, and furnished balconies. All-inclusive drinking and dining packages, a full kids' club, and lovely spa attract leisure couples and families, but luxury here comes at a price. Travelers seeking a more competitively priced beachfront experience should consider the Ramada Beach Hotel Ajman.
Fancy hotels in Ajman are gaining popularity for their Dubai-level luxury without the price tag, and the Ajman Saray fits the bill. A private beach with shorefront bar and restaurant enhance the resort feel here, while elegant interiors showcase Arabian flair. Sultan archways and Moroccan lanterns have contemporary accents from backlighting amid creams, rubies, and woods, and Mashrabiya motifs are traditional in bright lounges and restaurants. Although not nearly as bustling as Dubai, there are a good number of restaurants and shops, and Ajman's developing Corniche is nearby. Alongside the private beach, guests are generally satisfied with offerings on-site, which include varied drinking and dining, a kids' club, and sensual GOCO Spa (the only one in the Emirates). Despite fountain-flanked courtyards and glossy marbles, the vibe here is easygoing, although poolside music is reportedly repetitive. Nearby hotel parties have disturbed some guests, but otherwise, it's peaceful. Note, bar and restaurant offerings dwindle during Ramadan month (throughout the region).
Beachfront Ajman location, a 40-minute drive from Dubai
The hotel occupies a scenic spot overlooking the Arabian Gulf, and its private beach gives little incentive to explore sands farther away. Immediate service roads are empty and somewhat gritty, although the Al Zahra shopping mall and several eateries are within a 15-minute walk. The vibrant Ajman Corniche's shops and restaurants are a six-minute drive, or 35-minute walk, but desert heat here steers guests into taxis, which are cheap. Free shuttles run to Dubai, or it's a 40-minute drive for its malls, and world's tallest Burj Khalifa building. The Ajman Chamber of Commerce is virtually next door, while the 18th-century Ajman Museum is eight minutes by car. Allow 30-minute drives (without traffic) for Sharjah and Dubai International Airports.
Large rooms and suites with floor-to-ceiling windows and swish bathrooms
All with furnished balconies facing the creek or sea (in upgraded categories), contemporary rooms have classic elegance. They have hardwood or carpeted floors, teal or jewel tones in throw pillows and bed runners, oversized headboards, and luxurious bedding and upholstering. Deep-wood furniture is intricately accented by carvings, stacked stone, or hanging lamps, and discreet panel artwork. Starting at 419 square feet (39 square meters), the entry-level Superior Rooms are spacious, and offer standard phones, desks, satellite flat-screen TVs, iPod docks, Illy coffeemakers, kettles, and minibars, as well as seating areas, wardrobes with safes, ironing facilities, slippers, and robes. All bathrooms have swanky mosaic tiling, walk-in rainfall showers, separate tubs, and crested mirrors, plus upscale Molton Brown cosmetics, and hairdryers.
The 24 Suites begin at 861 square feet (80 square meters) and have living rooms and dining areas. These turn palatial in upgraded Suites offering offices or vast balconies, and Suite bathrooms directly overlook the ocean via sheer glass. Free crib fittings come standard. Surprisingly and on the downside, there's a fee for in-room coffee pods.
Private beach and outdoor pools, varied bars and restaurants, and lush spa
Rock jetties sheltering the beach give it a bay feel, and although not the largest, it's private. Its loungers, umbrellas, and dining options continue on decked terraces around two outdoor pools, which front the shore. Parasols here shade loungers and cabanas amid manicured lawns and palms, and al fresco dining terraces turn romantic in evenings, when pool areas are lit up. Five restaurants include all-day buffets at Vista, where Western, Asian, and Middle Eastern breakfasts are sumptuous. All-inclusive packages cover meals here, plus a la carte offerings in the resort's other outlets. Alongside dedicated bars, restaurant decor fits menus, so expect bleached woods and nautical accents at fish and seafood eatery Safi, while Moroccan restaurant Mejana exudes Moorish charm from archways and deep reds.
While a colorful playground, kiddy pool, and supervised activities at the kids' club keep little ones occupied, adults can indulge at the GOCO Spa, where chromotherapy showers and top-of-the-range amenities extend to pampering treatments, plus a hair salon and fully equipped, 24-hour gym. Seven meetings rooms are available, alongside a swish ballroom and business center. Shuttles to Dubai are free. On-site parking and Wi-Fi throughout are free.
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