Sir Bani Yas Island applauded

An island resort off the coast of Abu Dhabi has been named among the world's hottest hotels in a prestigious list

Anantara Desert Islands Resort and Spa on Sir Bani Yas Island, developed by Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC), has been included in the annual 2009 Hot List of Conde Nast Traveller - one of the world's premier travel magazines.

The Conde Nast Traveller Hot List is a definitive guide to the world's hottest new hotels with thousands of hotels around the globe competing for a place on the top 70 list.

Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, chairman of TDIC, said: "For the world's foremost travel magazine to honour Desert Islands Resort and Spa just six months after opening is proof that TDIC is setting a new benchmark for tourism in the UAE and region."

Originally the island was the private retreat and royal nature reserve of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the late ruler of Abu Dhabi and president of the UAE.

Sir Bani Yas is one of eight natural islands in the first phase of TDIC's Desert Islands destination project.

Spanning over 87 square kilometres, Sir Bani Yas Island is a nature-based destination with 2.5 million trees and plants, lush mangroves and a vast range of animal, bird and marine life.

The island's game park is home to thousands of free-roaming animals including hyenas, giraffes, cheetahs and the Arabian Oryx, which has been classified as extinct in the wild since the early 1970s.

The first phase of the island's destination development has now been completed, with the Desert Islands Resort and Spa launched in October 2008.

In March 2009, four-weekly flights were added to the air service from Abu Dhabi International Airport to the island.

Later in 2009, construction of four lodges on Sir Bani Yas will start, along with construction of a 250-seat conference centre and a Desert Islands Diving and Sports Fishing Centre.

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