Hotel Review

Staycation Spotlight: Anantara World Islands Dubai Resort

A Maldives-style escape off the coast of Dubai.

The World Islands development has been garnering curiosity and shrouded in mystery for as long as we can remember. Sure, you can take touristy day trips to Lebanon island, but you haven’t been able to stay the night anywhere – until now.

Anantara World Islands Dubai Resort, the first upscale resort on the archipelago of 300 artificial islands off the coast of Dubai sits on the archipelago’s 142,000-square-metre South America island, offering a Maldives-like escape without having to set foot on a plane.

The journey to paradise starts on the east crescent of Palm Jumeirah at Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort. Here, all check-in procedures are completed to ensure that guests can head straight to the pool, beach or confines of a luxury waterfront villa once they arrive on the World Islands.

A picturesque 15-minute boat ride from Anantara The Palm’s private jetty brings guests to the tip of South America on the artificial archipelago that looks like a world map when viewed from above. The arrival journey rewards guests with stunning Dubai skyline views, where the slender silhouette of the Burj Khalifa takes prominence. Setting foot onto the island, barefoot luxury is immediately encouraged. It’s a place where two kilometres of isolated beaches meet sun-kissed luxury within tropical-inspired private accommodations.

Dubai view
Island living

Seventy guest rooms, suites and private villas unfold across 13 categories of accommodation, all marrying island luxury with contemporary comforts. The Anantara One Bedroom Garden Villas hug the sandy shoreline, flanked by slender palm trees and inviting turquoise waters. With privacy and personalised service paramount, this island paradise seemingly has it all. 

If you have had the pleasure of visiting the Maldives, you’ll know precisely what to expect from Anantara World Islands Dubai Resort. The accommodation makes you feel like a chic castaway, thanks to the use of natural materials throughout the space, which help to bring a sense of the outside in. Limber struts of wood afford the ceiling a lofty triangular design, whilst spinning ceiling fans and plush sofas take the villa from a plush sleeping area to a relaxed living space.

Privacy is paramount – on the terrace, you have your own private plunge pool hemmed in by panelling and surrounded by a comfortable day bed. From the outside, each villa resembles the prow of a Viking ship. A monolithic wooden and thatch structure juts out as if attempting to launch itself into the Arabian Gulf.

World Islands
A culinary journey around the world 

Food lovers can choose from the resort’s four restaurants and bars that promise everything from fine dining to laid-back bites. Guest visiting the Indo-Arabian venue Qamar, can enjoy stunning sea views while dining beneath grand chandeliers and ornate colonnades or on the outside deck beneath the stars. Here, guests are met with the fragrant aroma of spices as the mashrabiya-clad wooden door swings open to reveal a grand dining room punctuated with Arabic lanterns and shiny wooden tabletops. A dash of rosewater for good luck and a cup of Arabic qahwa sets the meal off to a memorable start, where curries and kebabs are the choice dishes. 

You can’t be on the World Islands without experiencing truly global dining destinations. Anantara World Islands Dubai Resort also features a casual lobby café called Grand House and Mediterranean-inspired al fresco restaurant Helios. This all-day-dining restaurant close to the main resort pool offers a daily breakfast buffet combined with appealing à la carte options like crab eggs Benedict and caramelised French toast. At night the restaurant transitions into a place for intimate Greek eats with the glittering Dubai skyline as a backdrop. As for those looking to stargaze with a cocktail in hand, the aptly named Luna bar offers a daily happy hour. 

Tropical treatments and restful recreation 

When it comes to recreation and leisure, the Anantara signature spa boasts treatment rooms, in-room treatments and spa cabanas on request. The small but serviceable spa doesn’t have quite the same impact as some of Anantara Spa’s other global locales (think: Tivoli Sintra Hotel in Portugal, where the Anantara Spa is situated within a converted pigeon house). However, the one-hour Hawaiian Lomi Lomi massage is relaxing. Using a blend of five natural herbs including lavender and peppermint, combined with long massage strokes from the therapist’s forearms – it’s the perfect way to ease oneself into the relaxed pace of island life. 

Guests also have the opportunity to enjoy yoga classes, water sports, a padel court and the Tuk Tuk Kids’ Club, offering arts and crafts, climbing frames and a splash pool.

A series of bespoke activities can also be arranged at an additional fee. These include dining by design inside an air-conditioned glass bubble, Hamacland floating lounge and a private cinema under the stars.

Bubble Dining
Is it all island vibes or is there trouble in paradise?

The guest experience at Anantara’s most recent opening is pretty much faultless. From the private butler service, luxurious island living and delightful dining to the complimentary buggies to ferry travellers around. Yet, the island currently feels a little barren. However, once the landscaping is established, the feeling of a verdant jungle paradise will be achieved. But, for now, Anantara World Islands Dubai Resort is a desert island in every sense of the word.

Thai-born luxury hotel brand Anantara has a reputation for connecting travellers to genuine places, people and stories while providing heartfelt hospitality in exciting destinations. Anantara’s collection of luxury hotels includes Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara situated deep in the dunes of Abu Dhabi’s Rub’ al Khali desert, Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort perched in Oman’s Hajar Mountain range and Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara, found within the confines of the Arabian Wildlife Park on Sir Bani Yas Island.

Anantara World Islands Review

Anantara World Islands Dubai Resort offers the ideal beachfront retreat for families and couples. When it comes to swoon-worthy luxurious living grounded in luscious locales – there is only one choice. 

GO: Visit for reservations and more information.

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David Tapley - Editor-in-Chief
As the editor-in-chief for one of the region’s most fiercely local lifestyle publications, David Tapley is a self-proclaimed Hip-Hop aficionado, championing all things, food, travel, street art, and streetwear across the UAE and KSA.

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