Stunning transformation in Ruwais


FAR AWAY from the hustle and bustle of the UAE’s busy cities, in an area named Ruwais, lie two hospitality properties that are ideal for those who want to break away from the everyday. The five-star Danat Jebel Dhanna Resort and mid-range Dhafra Beach Hotel lie side by side on the beach, each in the middle of a major transformation.

We speak to Renjith Chandran, Cluster General Manager of Danat Jebel Dhanna Resort and Dhafra Beach Hotel, about what makes the two NCT&H properties click with guests and what lies ahead for the individual businesses.

“Danat Jebel Dhanna Resort and Al Dhafra Beach Hotel have planned several new activities, promotions and experiences worth exploring such as diving, deep-sea fishing courses, and boat trips to the Blue Hole – a recently discovered treasure trove of marine life. In the Al Dhafra region, it will be the latest addition to the attractions at Danat’s facilities.

“The hotels will also offer all-inclusive accommodation for vegetarians as well as all-inclusive packages for children. The benefits do not stop there at Al Dhafra Beach Hotel, in addition to being the first pet-friendly beach resort in Abu Dhabi, the recently renovated swimming pool that opened this year,” Renjith Chandran said.

In Danat Jebel Dhanna Resort, a new spa is in the final stages of opening. Planned to accommodate 10 treatment rooms, this spa will have a dedicated entrance, a Moroccan bath and some of the most talented therapists in this side of the world.

“We will reinforce diving and marine-related sports activities. Both properties are a safe haven for kite surfers. We have many kitesurfers coming from Abu Dhabi and other parts of the UAE to surf on a unique open beach, about five kilometres away from the resorts, called the Shipwreck Beach.”

Close to Sir Bani Yas Island, the world’s leading sustainable tourism destination dominated by the Arabian wildlife Park, with its roaming giraffes, cheetahs and gazelles, the properties offer different options for outings. It is 17 km away from the 7th Century Church and Monastery, Ruwais.

“We are also planning to have a kite-surfing school, a diving school, for children from 14 years onwards starting this year. We are also planning on an on-property petting zoo,” he says.

“It's all about the children now, all about families. It's about engagement, how we engage the kids so the parents have a peaceful stay. We were a corporate restored before, some 70 per cent of our guests were corporate, working in the oil and gas industries. We have learned from the pandemic and now we are in the midst of repositioning this place as a leisure destination within the UAE for perfect vacations.”

To balance family activities with entertainment, the resort is also looking to open an outlet with evening shows, beach horse riding and dancing. It is also being promoted as a great place for workcations to invite longer-term stays. What is perhaps not very well known about the property is that it is frequently visited by high-level delegations from the UAE.

“While international markets are showing signs of recovery, we have many regular guests coming back and staying for 10 days or two weeks over. Due to the distance from the city, we don't expect a big hype in international market, we are still relying on staycations within the country and GCC travel from Bahrain, from Saudi Arabia, from Qatar because this is a place for a short break on the way to and back from the UAE.

“The trends are encouraging. We are experiencing at the moment that people who booked for a night, easily extend for another two nights when they get here. We are also adding charging stations for electric cars as this is the future. We have only two charging stations for the road travellers. Soon we will have four or six charging portals – these will be displayed in all of the GCC for electronic cars.”

With Doha less than 320 kilometres from the Ruwais properties, the hotels well have high occupancy during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 football season. This is from guests in the UAE as well as international travellers, the cluster general manager tells us. There will be special plans around the football season, related promotions and activations.

“Ultimately, our key focus is customising the experience based on guest needs,” Chandran tells us.