After our long Eid weekend plans were shattered at the last minute, we frantically started looking for hotels in the UAE where we haven’t stayed before so we could salvage the weekend. It didn’t take long till we had our eyes on the The Oberoi Beach Resort, Al Zorah in Ajman, an emirate that is often overlooked and overshadowed by its glitzier sisters, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and even Sharjah.
Al Zorah in the hotel’s name refers to a natural mangrove area in Ajman known for its long, white sand beaches, azure lagoons, and, believe it or not, lush greenery. The entire area is currently being developed into a major tourist destination with The Oberoi Beach Resort being the crown jewel.
Looking at the pictures and reviews of The Oberoi Beach Resort and the fact that it is about 30 minutes away from Dubai made it an easy choice for the long weekend.
The hotel has 113 villas and rooms, with all rooms boasting private balconies and all villas have private pools. The spa was still being built while we were there but if it is anything like the rest of the hotel, it certainly seems very promising.
As is the case with other reviews, I won’t bore you with the factual details about the hotel which you can find on their website. However, I will list the things I believe make it a a great place for a staycation.
1. Staff and service excellence: If I will vehemently recommend The Oberoi Beach Resort, Al Zorah to anyone, it will most likely be because of their staff who are exceptionally professional, friendly, and helpful. Special kudos to the pool staff who braved the extreme heat and humidity during our stay to make sure everyone is hydrated and has a mango popsicle in their hands! But seriously, everyone from the valet parking to the reception to the restaurants is just genuinely nice and obviously know what they are saying and doing.
2. Food: As I mentioned above, the area in which The Oberoi Beach Resort, Al Zorah is located is currently being developed, which means that you do not have many options to eat in the near proximity of the hotel unless you venture to downtown Ajman, which I will talk about later. On one night, we opted to stay at the resort and try the Aquarium restaurant, and it was hands down the best seafood meal I have ever had in the UAE. We had the scallops, calamari, and sea bream all of which were cooked to perfection. The sauce used with the scallops was just too good to describe. And what better way to end dinner than creme brulee and tiramisu — sinfully delicious! Breakfast is served at the hotel’s other restaurant and is comprised of all the things you’d expect at a 5-star hotel. However, the presentation is unique, and there is a great variety of hot courses, not to mention the largest collection of fruit jams that I have seen at a UAE hotel. For a different breakfast, try the hotel’s aloo paratha which is just packed with flavors.
3. Explore Ajman: While Ajman may not have the same glamor as Dubai, it is packed with hidden gems when it comes to food and architecture, making it a while worthy place to explore while staying at The Oberoi Beach Resort, Al Zorah. For instance, did you know that La Villa Cafe in Ajman serves a killer milk cake that is guaranteed to make you want to come back every weekend? And did you know that Ajman is home to beautiful mosques like the one below?
4. Surroundings and activities: The hotel’s location at the center of the Al Zorah area means you can enjoy a wide range of activities from watersports, including kayaking, kite surfing, jet skiing, paragliding, deep sea fishing, sail boat cruises and others. Golfers can enjoy Al Zorah’s 18-hole championship golf course. The resort is also a bird watcher’s paradise, home to almost sixty species of birds. Too lazy for sports? The hotel has you covered with a whooping 85-meter pool and one of the best beaches that I have seen in the UAE — I mean just look at that water!
5. Interior Design and Rooms: The interior design of the hotel is done so well to the extent that I actually asked who designed it just so I could see more of their work (it is Pierro Lissoni by the way!). The resort is divided into three platforms that run parallel to the ocean and each building is carefully positioned to guarantee superb ocean views from all areas of the resort. The main hotel building is composed of separate buildings connected by light walkways, with shallow water pools that extend over the inner courtyard where the main restaurant and amenities are situated. The hotel’s 3-bedroom villas are composed of pure, interconnected volumes covered in smooth white stucco and contain a combination of protected terraces and large openings facing the ocean. The 2-bedroom villas are formed by deep cantilevering slabs that float over the ground floor to create a series of shaded internal and external living areas. The restaurants follow the same pattern as the rest of the hotel with a beautiful design and perfect natural lighting.