As much as we love Abu Dhabi, sometimes it’s nice to get out of here; as they say, a change is as good as a holiday… even if it is only for a weekend!
Fortunately, just shy of two hours from the city, Tilal Liwa Hotel lays amongst the dunes of the Rub al Khai desert. This Arabian hideaway is a welcome respite from the hussle and bustle of the city, offering the perfect combination of relaxation and adventure for a weekend away.
The entrance of Tilal Liwa gives a modern nod to Arabia and opens out onto a beautiful (and air conditioned) deck with views out over the property and desert. Once we were handed our room card, we couldn’t resist wandering down to our room via the deck and courtyard – the gorgeous pool was what caught out eye when we were initially checked out the Tilal Liwa Hotel and it didn’t disappoint!
Our room was generously sized and opened directly out onto a little private courtyard which continued to the garden (a welcome sight in the desert!). We had absolutely everything we needed for a relaxing weekend away; a large, comfortable bed, crisp linen, satellite T.V (with a good variety of channels), complimentary water and an incredibly well stocked mini bar.
The air-conditioning in the room was strong enough to let us open the door and enjoy a touch of fresh air. We enjoyed sitting back and enjoying the sound of the local birdlife, something that all too often, we don’t get to hear in Abu Dhabi.
The 111 rooms of the Tilal Liwa frame the beautiful swimming pool – the jewel in the crown of this hotel. With the Arabian sun beating down on the pool all day, it’s a good thing the pool is cooled to the perfect temperature for a midday dip. Dozens of loungers and hammocks also line the pool and there was no shortage of guests keen to soak up the sun whilst relaxing.
Outside of Ramadan, I can imagine just how nice it would be to sit with a fresh juice at the side of the pool, however the time of year during our visit prevented food or drinks being served outside. There was a secluded bar tucked just around the corner though so don’t let visiting at this time of year put you off – it really made very little difference to our weekend.
Our package included full board which, even during Ramadan, was fantastic! We were provided with a delicious cooked breakfast, lunch and dinner each day. Each meal was served buffet style, with the addition of freshly cooked eggs and pancakes/waffles for breakfast. Lunch was fantastic with a combination of Asian, Middle Eastern and Western options on offer, whilst dinner was similar but with a more significant focus on Arabic food. Iftar (the equivalent of dinner, served to break the fast during Ramadan – learn more here) began at 7.20pm (when the sun set) and was vast and equally tasty.
It’s not all about food at Tilal Liwa though; here you can choose to be as active or relaxed as you like. Our levels of energy didn’t quite extend to the gym, but for those of you with an interest in health and fitness, there was a remarkably well appointed gym, along with saunas and steam rooms. Guests can book themselves into the onsite spa for a massage or facial whilst the kids are entertained by the hotel staff in the kids club.
For those with a little more energy to expel, there is plenty to do out in the desert! Mountain bikes are freely available for the whole family and a number of additional activities are on offer at surprisingly reasonable prices. We got up close and personal with one of the many local camels and had a blast on the quad bikes, zipping up and down the dunes.
Sand boarding, horse riding, desert safaris and more; it feels like Tilal Liwa have thought of practically everything!
Packages vary but many include activities so be sure to check with the hotel to see if any of these offerings are included in your stay.
The Tilal Liwa Hotel represents excellent value for money whilst delivering attainable luxury in a memorable location. Less than two hours from Abu Dhabi City, a visit to the hotel is a glorious hideaway for expats and travellers alike. Whether you’re an expat looking for a weekend getaway or a visitor seeking out a more traditional Emirati experience, the Tilal Liwa Hotel is sure to fit the bill.
Thank you to Tilal Liwa Hotel for hosting us. As always, all thoughts are our own.
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