Jebel Dhana, a cut above the rest

ABU DHABI — A few months ago, Thomas and Silke Scherer went to their travel agent in Stuttgart, Germany, looking for the most special holiday of their lives. They’ve found it in Jebel Dhana, the remotest of resorts in the UAE.


Silvia Radan

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Published: Sat 4 Aug 2007, 8:40 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 1:48 AM

Jebel Dhana

“We arrived here five days ago and everything is exactly as it is projected in the brochure,” says Thomas, while relaxing by the pool with an exotic fruit cocktail and a book. This is not only their first trip to the Gulf, but also the first one as a married couple.

“Actually, this is our honeymoon holiday and we both think that we’ve made a wonderful choice,” adds Thomas.

Officially known as Danat Resort, the tourist complex in Jebel Dhana is one of the most secluded in the country. About 300km west of Abu Dhabi, Jebel Dhana is cut off from the urban mainland. There is nothing around it – no cities, no forts, no shopping malls, no tourist attractions... just the sea waters, the desert sands and a few inaccessible rocky mountains.

‘We don’t get bored here’

“We don’t get bored here,” says Thomas, explaining that they came to Jebel Dhana to relax. Both him and Silke are planning to rent a car and go on a trip to Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Since they are here for a fortnight, they are in no hurry.

The five-star Jebel Dhana resort, which is part of Danat Hotel Group, opened three years ago. The reason for its remote location is the “pure beach destination.”

Sun, sea and sand

According to Manoj Kanwal, general manager of Danat Resort at Jebel Dhana, the three main ingredients that made this faraway resort successful are sun, sea and sand.

“Whether for a short break or a long holiday, people come here to relax. They are not interested in sightseeing, shopping or other similar activities. They just want to enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the sea,” says Kanwal.

He also points out that although the hotel offers trips to Abu Dhabi and Dubai, less than 10 per cent of the guests opt for these excursions. “They enjoy the sea excursions that are organised almost everyday,” he says, adding, “We have fishing trips, snorkelling and, until recently, excursions to Sir Bani Yas Island.”

For now, Sir Bani Yas is being closed for redevelopment, but the general manager hopes to take his guests again to the natural reserve island by the end of this year.

60 per cent occupancy

The hotel has 109 rooms and despite the low, hot season, there is 60 per cent occupancy. “The majority of people coming here are tourists, although there are a few corporate guests as well. A lot of expats as well as Emirati families come here for weekends from as far as Dubai and the Northern Emirates, as well as Abu Dhabi,” Kanwal says.

The resort is offering its guests a package that is probably hard to resist. “The summer sanctuary” promotion, which will run until the end of Ramadan, costs Dh449 a night for a double room, provided the booking is for a minimum of two nights. In effect, this means two nights for the price of one, as usually a double room costs around Dh900 per night,” Kanwal points out.

“As for our international guests, they are mostly from Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the United Kingdom,” says Kanwal, also adding that the hotel works very closely with the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), which promotes the resort internationally.

By afternoon, most of the hotel guests gather around the swimming pool. “If I was to come back here, this is what I would come back for: the swimming pool and the ocean,” says Barbara, while having her face sprayed with cool, refreshing water by one of the hotel’s staff. She has come from New York on both business and pleasure. “What I really don’t like here is the surroundings. This area needs some developing,” complains the American lady.

Indeed, ADTA and the Western Region Development Council have big plans for development in the area. For now, though, the closest town is Al Ruwais.

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