53 top weekend getaways

Beach huts or extreme sports on your ultimate 72-hour break Comments

© ITP Images
View slideshow
  • Picture 1 of 2

31 Petra, Jordan
Though inundated with tourists, this UNESCO heritage site is still worth a visit. Archaeological attractions such as The Treasury (which featured in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade) and the Urn Tomb never fail to take your breath away. Tip: step off the main paths to escape the tour parties and explore on your own. Rooms at the Petra Hotel (+962 3 21 57 393) start at Dhs441 per night.
Getting there: Fly Dubai flies direct to Amman from Dhs865 return, including taxes. www.flydubai.com.

32 Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
If you’re male and/or a married a couple (unmarried women can only enter on a business visa), you might be interested in checking out the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which offers a few surprises by way of its opulent buildings and hotels. The Ritz-Carlton (+966 1 802 8020) is currently offering a three-night suite package, which includes airport pick-up and drop-off, from Dhs4,407 per room for three nights.
Getting there: Fly Dubai flies direct to Riyadh from Dhs640 return, including taxes. www.flydubai.com.

33 The Chedi, Muscat, Oman
The Chedi (+968 2452 4400), one of the region’s most exclusive beach resorts, offers 4x4 excursions, big-game fishing, diving and more. The resort has a spectacular beachfront, swimming pools, a fine arts gallery and a fitness centre – we reckon everyone should stay here once. Rooms start at Dhs2,241 per night.
Getting there: Fly Dubai flies direct to Muscat from Dhs405 return, including taxes. www.flydubai.com.

34 Wadi Rum, Jordan
Jordan’s biggest wadi is a major tourist attraction; you might well recognise its harsh red landscape from classic films such as Lawrence of Arabia and, um, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Head to Bedouin-style camp Bait Ali (www.baitali.com, +962 79 554 8133), which offers a range of extreme sports from quad biking to ballooning.
Getting there: Fly Dubai flies direct to Amman from Dhs865 return, including taxes. www.flydubai.com.

Travel time: One to two hours by CAR

35 Ajman Kempinski
Well-appointed rooms overlook one of the best private beaches around. What’s more, the hotel boasts its own licensed bowling alley and a pretty good Italian restaurant. Rooms start at Dhs936 per night.
Sheikh Humaid Bin Rashid Al Nuaimi Street, Ajman, www.kempinski.com (06 714 5555).

36 Banyan Tree Al Wadi, Ras Al Khaimah
Hide away from the world in your very own pool villa, while watching free-roaming gazelles and Arabian oryx nearby. You can also give falconry a go on the deck, or simply mooch up to the Moon Bar roof terrace, where you can unwind peacefully under the stars. Rates from Dhs2,225 per night.
Ras Al Khaimah, www.banyantree.com (07 206 7777).

37 Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi
If you’ve ever wondered what sort of venue you can build for Dhs11 billion, this is the answer. The beach and pool areas, as well as the Anantara Spa, are outstanding, and the restaurants (such as Hakkasan) will make you feel like royalty. Book into a Coral room from Dhs1,755 per night.
Ras Al Akhdar, Abu Dhabi, www.emirates palace.com (02 690 9000).

38 Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, Abu Dhabi
Bordered by the exclusive beachfront area of Ras Al Akhdar on one side and the Corniche on the other, Jumeirah at Etihad Towers is perfectly located to get the best out of the capital. Prices start at Dhs975 per night if you quote the promo code ‘weekending’.
www.jumeirah.com/enhotels-and-resorts (02 811 5888).

39 Musandam, Oman
Dive, snorkel or just sunbathe on this overnight dhow trip that sets off from Dibba every Friday at 8.30am. All meals and soft drinks are provided, as is transport from Dubai (the bus leaves Al Boom on Al Wasl Road at 6am). Prices start at Dhs1,100 for snorkellers and Dhs1,200 for divers with their own gear; add Dhs100 if you need to rent kit.
Al Boom Diving, Al Wasl Road, abdiving@emirates.net.ae (04 342 2993).

40 Qasr Al Sarab, Liwa
The five-star Anantara Desert Resort is every bit as secluded as it sounds, located in the world’s second-largest desert. It offers activities such as desert walking, falconry and camel treks, as well as relaxing in the enormous, in-room stone baths. Alternatively, enjoy a cool drink as the sun sets over the dunes. Rates from Dhs1,400 per night.
Liwa, www.qasralsarab.anantara.com (04 886 2088).

By Oliver Robinson
Time Out Dubai,

Add your review/feedback

Subscribe to Travel newsletter

Prove you're not a robot:


User reviews:

Posted by: AK on 20 Feb ' 12 at 12:25

What visa do you get to go to Riyadh? As I've heard that there is no tourist visa as such..

latest issue TIME OUT KIDSOut now!
latest issue EATING OUT GUIDEOut now!