By Natasha Hatherall-Shawe
For many of us, a summer of staycays begins as we choose to explore all the Emirates has to offer, whilst juggling work, the heat and kids off school. Not all of us jet off for the whole summer you know!
We chose Mysk Kingfisher Retreat which is set on an island off the east coast of Sharjah in Kalbā. Not only did it involve a boat ride to get to the hotel, which kind of made me feel like I was “almost” off to The Maldives, but it’s a very unique conservation area filled with birds, gazelles, turtles, crabs and more in a stunning habitat. The island is for guests only, who all have their own private luxury tents and pools, and as wildlife fans, it offered an exclusive experience we were excited to try.
The day before we even arrive, we receive a WhatsApp message welcoming us from our very own butler. He explained all about arrival, boat timings and offered us the chance to book in for dinner and excursions. This boded well and we were excited before we even left out home.
Kingfisher is approximately 2 hours from Dubai, and it was a really pleasant drive through the mountains with stunning scenery as we came through the other side to glimpse the Indian Ocean in Kalbā. On arrival at the dock, we parked our car and entered the branded resort tent which was complete with refreshments to wait for the boat to take us to the resort. The boat is only a short 5-minute journey to the Island where you are taken straight to your accommodation and checked in the comfort of your own tent.
The accommodation at Kingfisher is all private tents with private pools of varying sizes. Now if like me the word “tent” scares you, fear not as these are gorgeous huge tents with air conditioning and all the usual hotel facilities including a lovely bathroom.
There are so many amazing things to say about the Kingfisher Retreat resort as, despite the fact it was baking hot, and would be wherever you go this time of year in the UAE, it was such a unique and special experience for couples and families alike. We loved it for its privacy and honestly, in our 3 day stay, we barely saw anyone apart from when we went to eat breakfast or dinner. That said, you can choose to eat in your tent if you really wish to have a break from it all and any human interaction.
At sunset the entire beach seemed to move, and much to our surprise/shock, we realized it was packed with white crabs all marching across the shore. I have honestly never seen so many crabs together and whilst I had no desire to get up close and personal, it was one of the most spectacular things I have ever seen. So, crab sunset is definitely a must-see, even if from a distance.
Food wise, we were impressed too. Mysk Kingfisher Retreat has one restaurant called Al Qurm which serves healthy and organic food. It includes a fresh and evolving menu of international and local foods in a buffet and set menu. We tried both options during out stay and everything was delicious and they had a whole vegan menu too.
Price wise, Kingfisher Mysk is not cheap, but that said you’re not paying for a typical hotel staycay. It’s an experience with activities rarely found here in The Emirates. 1 bedroom tents with plunge pool start from AED 2,000 per night during summer season.
We can’t recommend it enough as a lovely experience, filled with memories, so do check it out.
For more information visit: https://myskhotels.com/en/our-hotels/kingfisher-retreat/