VIP jet, private island and safari experience… Photographer Ghalia Abbas takes us behind the scenes of the most luxurious staycation in the UAE

Emirati photographer Ghalia Abbas took to the skies with Lightfoot Travel for a staycation with a difference. She flew by private jet to an island in the Gulf, which is home to an array of luxury beachside villas that you can claim as your own for the weekend.

UAE's Most Glamorous Staycation

UAE's Most Glamorous Staycation

Sir Bani Yas island near Abu Dhabi was once the home of Sheikh Zayed Bin Nahyan, and it was here that he created a nature reserve to help protect the UAE’s most endangered animals. This means that when you wake at Al Yamm Villa Resort by Anantara, you have the chance to see turtles, dolphins and dugongs making a splash along the shoreline.

UAE's Most Glamorous Staycation

UAE's Most Glamorous Staycation

When you’re not busy watching the marine life, you can take out a 4WD, and drive through the Arabian Wildlife Park and spy Arabian oryx and Arabian Rock Hyrax. The park covers half the island and now includes ostriches, cheetahs and giraffes.

UAE's Most Glamorous Staycation

UAE's Most Glamorous Staycation

Abbas shares some of her snaps and shows us how the UAE has taken staycations to the next level once more. For Abbas, the highlight of her trip was an afternoon tea with a difference: “For me it was the afternoon tea in the bush. The African inspired set-up was absolutely beautiful. Hats off to the chef for the delectable assortment of afternoon tea treats.”

UAE's Most Glamorous Staycation

UAE's Most Glamorous Staycation

To book this VIP staycation yourself, speak to your Lightfoot Travel Designer

Suggested Itineraries

Ultimate South Africa For Families

South Africa Madikwe & the Waterberg Cape Town South African Winelands Africa

  • Enjoy family time together at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront
  • Go on ‘family-friendly’ wine and chocolate tastings in Winelands
  • Indulge in a traditional South African barbecue in Middlevlei
  • Embark on bug walks, safari tours and horse riding at Ants Nest
  • Spot elephants, leopards, lions, rhinos and African buffalo in Madikwe Game Reserve

When to go:

J F M A M J J A S O N D
ideal length 9 nights

Wild Adventure in Costa Rica

San Jose & the Central Valley Costa Rica

  • Enjoy a rafting trip into the heart of the Pacuare Rainforest

  • Explore the Arenal Volcano and surrounding cloud forest

  • Marvel at the diversity of Costa Rican wildlife

  • Sail the Papagayo Gulf on a luxury sailing and snorkelling trip

  • Relax on the beaches of Papagayo Peninsula

When to go:

J F M A M J J A S O N D
ideal length 11 nights

Wild Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan Safaris Cultural Triangle Southern Beaches Sri Lanka Indian Subcontinent

  • Visit the Royal Botanical Gardens and trek through tea estates
  • Meet elephants at Udawalawe National Park
  • Go on a nighttime turtle watch at Rekawa
  • Search for the elusive Sri Lanka leopard at Yala National Park
  • Enjoy whale and dolphin watching on Sri Lanka’s south coast

When to go:

J F M A M J J A S O N D
ideal length 13 nights
Destinations Featured in the Article
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque at dusk (Abu-Dhabi, UAE)

United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates is one of the world’s most glamorous destinations. Experience traditional Abu Dhabi and marvel at futuristic Dubai on a luxury vacation with Lightfoot Travel.

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