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Vida Beach Resort Umm Al Quwain – staycation review

Words by Rob Chilton

Umm Al Quwain adds a star signing to its tourism team

Tucked away in the northern corner of the United Arab Emirates, Umm Al Quwain is perhaps not glaringly obvious for folks seeking a staycation. Its population is the smallest of the seven Emirates and could fit inside Old Trafford, while in the square-kilometre league table, this Emirate is the second smallest. Umm Al Quwain doesn’t like to shout. But with a shiny new Vida hotel proudly within its borders, Umm Al Quwain now has a solid gold reason to stand on the rooftop and announce its presence to the tourism scene of the UAE.

Pool bar at Vida Beach Resort

This peaceful resort has all the style of its sister properties in Dubai’s Downtown, Creek Harbour and Emirates Hills, but crucially, it also has a beach. Gently lapping waves, a sunset, soft sand and comfortable beach armchairs all add up to holiday heaven at Vida Umm Al Quwain Beach Resort.

It’s boutique and cosy in atmosphere, but that doesn’t mean small and cramped. There’s plenty of space around the hotel’s stunning infinity pool that is the heartbeat of the hotel. Palm trees line the edge of the pool to add a pleasingly straight-lined Zen to the place. A pool bar at one end with high stools lends a European vibe to the pool area, although we’re still trying to decipher the slogan ‘I refuse to sink’ written in wicker shapes that adorn one wall. Maybe it got lost in translation but, hey, it makes a good conversation starter over drinks at the bar.

Light and spacious lobby

Gazing out at the infinity pool led one guest to suggest it felt like Miami, while another insisted it felt like high-class holiday apartments in Portugal – either destination a favourable comparison. We felt there was something Greek going on, perhaps down to the gleaming white and turquoise colour scheme that drifts through the interior and exterior of the hotel. If Covid restrictions are making you crave European holidays, then Vida Umm Al Quwain Beach Resort might be the answer.

Next to the main hotel building and its sunlit lobby are a line of about eight beach chalets, each for two adults and two children. A patio filled with tasteful wicker furniture, two sun loungers, a sofa and a central stone table leads down a couple of steps to the beach and more sunbeds. From your patio door to the water’s edge in 30 paces? Marvellous.

Origins restaurant does a seriously good shawarma

In keeping with the hotel’s laidback nature are the staff such as Hayman, Iran and Don, cool and friendly guys in chinos and white Puma sneakers who talk like normal people and not in that robotic language taught in hospitality schools that so many brands insist upon. Calling up for room service, the phone was answered swiftly and the order was taken first time with no mistakes. Delicious boxes of food were delivered inside 25 minutes – we recommend you try the chicken shawarma, the beef burger and the kale and quinoa salad for a filling and flavourful lunch after a morning on the beach.

For those with children, the kids club is a must. Warm and welcoming staff are delighted to see you and your children and lay out numerous toys and games while parents won’t be able to resist a quick game of Air Hockey. A playground just outside the club has climbing webs and frames, plus a rock climbing boulder with foot- and hand-holds for adventurous youngsters. And around the corner from the playground is a kids pool and a splash pad.

Cool, unfussy design is a Vida trademark

It’s such an easy place to spend a weekend. Nothing is difficult, everything is within easy walking distance – it all just fits together. Fifty-five minutes from The Dubai Mall, this cool beach resort is another gold star in Vida’s impressive UAE portfolio and a serious asset to Umm Al Quwain’s tourism scene. You’ve been to Ras Al Khaimah, you’ve done Fujairah… now it’s time to check out the UAE’s smallest Emirate up north.

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