REVIEW: Overwater pool villa at Anantara Mina Al Arab Hotel, Ras Al Khaimah, UAE

REVIEW: Overwater pool villa at Anantara Mina Al Arab Hotel, Ras Al Khaimah, UAE

Sea overlooking the mountains at Ras Al Khaimah

When you think of overwater bungalows, you would usually think of the Maldives or perhaps French Polynesia. However, the Anantara hotel brand is now bringing them to the UAE, which is perfect for those who don’t want to be stuck on an island to try one. 

Staying in an overwater bungalow has definitely been on my bucket list for a while, so I was eagerly anticipating the opening of the Anantara Mina Al Arab in Ras Al Khaimah, which had only opened in January 2024. 

This was a press visit in February 2024 with the accommodation and most food being complimentary. 



Sea overlooking the mountains at Ras Al Khaimah

The hotel is situated in Ras Al Khaimah, one of the Emirates situated north of Dubai. The good news for those who like a drink is that it is not a dry Emirate. If you have ruled out Dubai for being too busy and glitzy (or too expensive), Ras Al Khaimah is very different. For me, it feels similar to Muscat in Oman.

It is known as the nature and adventure Emirate, and there are no skyscrapers here, and I’ve yet to see a traffic jam. If you are looking for relaxation or want to push the envelope of comfortable temperature months, then this is the place to go as being more northerly, it tends to be a couple of degrees cooler in the summer than Dubai. 

If you want to find out more about what Ras Al Khaimah has to offer, you can read this article. 



The hotel is situated in the Mina Al Arab development, where the Intercontinental is also situated. You can fly direct into Ras Al Khaimah with Qatar but the flights are usually considerably more. The hotel is around 45-60 minutes from Dubai airport, and a taxi is around 45-60. I recommend the Careem app, as there is no Uber in Ras Al Khaimah. Careem allows you to order a normal taxi or rideshare. 

Car hire is also cheap at around 35 a day, although you do need an International Driving Permit (which you can get easily from a UK post office). If you decide to hire a car in Ras Al Khaimah, I would recommend Thrifty and avoiding Hertz like the plague. We had booked through Hertz, but they did not show up with the car or answer their phone for hours. When we went into the office, they were unbelievably rude and tried to say the payment had failed. This was completely untrue, as they had not tried to take payment at any point. Then, 5 hours after the original time the car should have been delivered, they were messaging us trying to deliver the car after we had told them we didn’t want it! The hotel concierge recommended Thrifty, and we had no issues with them. They collected the car from the hotel within about 10 minutes of us calling them and were polite and helpful. 



The hotel’s entrance feels very Thai, as you’d expect, since that is where the brand originated. As you drive up, it is fairly unremarkable, but as you enter the lobby, it has a serious wow factor. The high vaulted ceiling, beautiful chandelier, and sweeping view of the resort give you a sense that this is somewhere special. 


We were invited to sit down while we checked in and were given a refreshing welcome drink. A few basics about the hotel were also explained to us.

If you are staying in an overwater bungalow, you can get a buggy service to go around the resort, as it is a bit of a walk to some areas. We were taken to the villa by buggy, which was situated almost at the end of the walkway, and our luggage arrived shortly after.



The overwater bungalow

Photo by Anantara

If the lobby wowed me, the room was on a whole different level. The first thing that strikes you is how completely private it is (unless someone paddles up in a canoe!). As you walk into the room, you are greeted by beautiful views of the water and mangroves as far as you can see. 

The first room you enter is the living and dining area. Everything in the villa is controlled by panels, including all the blinds/curtains, which I loved.

Guest bathroom

As well as a separate guest toilet with an automatic tap, seating and dining area, there was also a wet bar with plenty of bottled water and tea and coffee making.

There was even a proper wine fridge as well as a normal fridge with a minibar.

The highlight was definitely the outside, with a very private terrace with its own heated pool, daybed, and two chairs. 

One of the views towards the beach – notice how private it is from the room next door.

The day bed was our favourite place. We loved lying in it both during the day and at night, listening to the birds in the mangroves. You could also spot quite a bit of wildlife as well as multiple birds, including fish and crabs, from the deck. It was also a great place for a morning coffee before breakfast.

One of my only minor criticisms of the room is the lack of a proper table outside. We ordered room service for breakfast, but with only two tiny tables, it was not really suited for eating outside. Since this is something easily rectified, hopefully, they will change this. 

Beach towels were thoughtfully provided for the terrace, too. 

The bedroom was spacious, with a desk suitable for working and a huge, incredibly comfortable bed. We loved how you could slide the doors open so we could listen to the sounds of the mangrove in bed. We both loved the large vaulted ceiling, which was reminiscent of Thailand and could be lit up. 

Everything apart from the air conditioning could be controlled from the bedside, such as the lights and the curtains. There was also charging and sockets next to the bedside as well as plug-in mosquito repellant. 

Next to the bedroom was a sizeable dressing room with a dressing table and mirror, perfect for hair and make-up. This room also led through to the hall by the front door which was useful when they delivered the bags. 

Turn-down was performed every night with some lovely gifts placed in the room, such as chocolates, lip balm and a pillow spray. I love a good turn-down gift, so this was great to see. 


The bathroom was also spectacular, with beautiful views and a door straight onto the terrace, which is perfect if you wanted to jump straight into the shower after being in the pool. There was an automatic blind that came down if you need privacy from the terrace. 

There was a large bath tub for soaking and enjoying the view, twin sinks, a large walk in shower and toilet/bidet.

The shower was so big you could have had a party in there and I liked that there were plenty of shelves for all your own toiletries. 

It also concealed a surprise as there was yet another door to a very spacious outdoor shower. There was a handy washing line here so you didn’t have to spoil the terrace with drying swimwear. 

Toiletries were a mix of Anantara’s own brand and Bulgari au th blanc. I liked that there was a selection of different fragranced soaps presented by the bath and bath salts. My partner absolutely loved the Bulgari toiletries, but I found them slightly masculine for me, although it is a unisex fragrance. All the toiletries were in large sizes that were fixed in place. 

Other room categories

Deluxe Garden Terrace room

If you can’t stretch to an overwater bungalow, even the entry-level rooms are luxurious and spacious. Rooms start with the Premier Room which is on the second floor and has a balcony. The Premier Garden terrace is on the ground floor and is the same size but with a more spacious terrace rather than a balcony. Next up are the Deluxe categories with the same two options. This would be my choice if you don’t want a villa.

Deluxe Garden Terrace room
Deluxe Garden Terrace 

The category also includes some pool and beachfront rooms, deluxe suites, and garden terrace suites. There are also more than one category of overwater villa. Ours was an overwater pool villa, but there is also a Peninsula Sea View Pool Villa, which is larger but only overlooks the sea, a two-bedroom villa and the Two-bedroom Royal Villa, which is enormous and has a much bigger pool. 


Beach and pool

There is one sizeable main pool at the hotel, which is situated next to the beach. Next to it is also a small children’s pool. It was very quiet the day we were there as it was quite cloudy and windy.

Jalabar pool restaurant

There are plenty of loungers and behind them a good number of daybeds with shade. Staff will set up a bed with towels for you and bring you a cooler with chilled water.

The pool was a little shallower than I would have liked for serious swimming, but it was well heated and nicely designed. 

Pool at night

If the beach is more your thing, then you won’t be disappointed here. Again, there were plenty of loungers and daybeds on the golden sand beach, although I found it odd that the circular daybeds had no cushions. I thought maybe it was due to the weather, but we were told they did not have any cushions, which would have made the rattan base rather uncomfortable. The shoreline is gently shelved, and the water is calm, so it is perfect for a dip. The beach was also just the right depth, so you didn’t have a long traipse over the sand to get to the sea.

If you are in an overwater bungalow, there is also a private beach for the villas, which is a bit closer. 

Walkway from villas to private beach


Food and drink

If you just want to stay at the resort rather than venture out, there are three main restaurants to choose from. However, there are a number of restaurants between 5-10 minutes taxi ride away. Taxis are easy to get and cheap. 

Sea Breeze

This is an all-day dining restaurant that also serves breakfast. In the evening, they have regular theme nights so that those on longer stays have plenty of variety.

As well as the buffet for breakfast there was an a la carte menu.

I went for the salmon on toast, which was tasty with good quality smoked slamon, but the solitary stick of broccoli was rather random! We were also offered a choice of smoothies at the table. 

The buffet was beautifully laid out and had plenty of choice. There was everything from Arabic dishes to cooked breakfast and salads. 


Anantara Mekong outside. Photo by Geoff Robinson

This is the Asian restaurant which has a beautiful, slightly quirky design. I particularly loved the romantic tables over water. 

The food here was excellent, with a good choice of dishes from Thailand, Vietnam and China. I started with a Som Tum salad from Thailand, which was authentic and not too spicy (I’d asked for medium). I had the seafood stir fry as my main which had a beautiful mix of prawns, scallops and squid with a fragrant dressing. The shrimp fried rice was also a highlight, served wrapped in a leaf with plenty of large juicy prawns.

We finished with mango sticky rice, which had beautifully ripe mango and a selection of different kinds of rice. I would have loved a little more coconut cream, but then there is never enough for me! Service was friendly but could have been more polished and definitely quicker. However, the hotel had only been open a few weeks and that is to be expected at this point. The management are committed to delivering the Anantara high standards of service at the hotel. 

Beach House

This is the beachside restaurant, which is open for casual lunches as well as dinner. It features Mediterranean cuisine and a lovely terrace overlooking the beach.

We were offered the chance to try some of their best dishes and were not disappointed. We were actually surprised by the elevated fine dining here as we were expecting something a little more basic from a beachfront restaurant. However, the food was extremely good. 

I started with a ceviche, which was delicate and refreshing with its tiger’s milk marinade. Next came a beautifully sweet crab salad with green apple and cucumber. 

My favourite course came next with beautifully seared scallops with romesco and gremolata sauces. 

My partner also enjoyed his calamari, particularly the saffron garlic dip. Next up were generous prawns with a South American influence and tender steak, which were also faultless. 

The dessert was incredibly light with a Tres Leche mousse-like cake that was like eating a cloud with a vanilla flecked custard poured over the top.


Other dining and drinks options

Looking towards reception and Waves cafe with the Lobby bar above on the right.

There is also a cafe called Waves near reception for more casual dining such as wraps, sandwiches, pizza, burgers and poke bowls along with cakes and coffee. It is open in the evening as well as the day.

If you don’t want to venture far from the pool, Jalabar is set by the pool and features a good choice of dishes and drinks. I went with the fish tacos, which were delicious.

If you just want a drink, the Lobby bar has an outdoor terrace and has a great selection of cocktails and drinks.

They also serve snacks like sliders and skewers as well as an exceptionally wide choice of teas, iced teas and coffees. 

Cocktail in the lobby bar


Spa and wellness

Anantara spa

Anantara is known as a well-being hotel brand, so I was looking forward to trying their spa. The spa features a range of locally influenced treatments as well as traditional Thai options. Products are by Voya and Babor. It has seven treatment rooms including two couples’ suites with separate relaxation areas for men and women. There are also single sex saunas, steam rooms and whirlpools. 

We were greeted with cold towels and a delicious cold signature cinnamon spiced tea. 

We went for a couples massage in a couple’s suite. There are some special couples experiences available too, such as the Mina Al Arab Rose Romance, which features a candlelit bath, scrub and rose-scented massage. 

Being a seasoned spa-goer, I would never request a firm massage in Thailand or anywhere with Thai staff, as generally, firm usually means very firm in my experience. I did warn my partner not to ask for a firm, which he ignored. Well, he lived to regret that! I, on the other hand, had a lovely, relaxed massage, only slightly spoilt by the noise of him groaning as the petite Thai lady pummelled him to within an inch of his life. 

The hotel also offers yoga in the morning too. 


Anantara Gym. Photo by Geoff Robinson.

My partner is a big gym buff, and as some people have requested more info on hotel gym, he will be providing his expert opinion on any gyms at hotels we visit together. The gym was sistauted near reception and the spa with great views out across the water.

Anantara Gym. Photo by Geoff Robinson.

Geoff’s Gym View “A compact but well-equipped gym, with very helpful staff,  and everything you need to train to maintain during your stay from weights to cardio. There is even a stair machine, which you don’t often see in hotels”. Personal training is also available. 

Anantara Gym. Photo by Geoff Robinson.


Other activities and kids club

Water sports such as boats, kayak and paddleboards are available in the resort.

The kids club is open for children 4-12 years old. 


Prices and how to save money on your stay

Prices for a Premier room start from a very reasonable 168 a night in low season and a Peninsula villa from 1081. However, you can save money in a number of ways. Firstly, you can join the Anantara loyalty program, which is part of GHA Hotels and called Discovery. This gives a discount, and you also collect money credit (up to 7%) that you can spend on future hotels. 

Secondly, the Anantara will be part of Virtuoso shortly, which will give extra benefits such as upgrades and breakfast. These rates will be bookable through our luxury agent partner GTC. 

Finally, there are a number of special offers on the Anantara website which are worth a look on this page.



This new resort is absolutely stunning and the location on the edge of the mangroves is great for nature lovers with the abundance of wildlife. The villas are the ultimate romantic relaxing retreat and I would certainly go back again. The beautiful design of the rooms and thoughtful touches make them worth splashing out on. 

There is plenty on the resort to keep you busy and enough places to eat that a week could pass by without running, getting bored of the restaurants. However, the location is close to plenty of other restaurants if you want to to something different. 

If you want to visit an Anantara closer to home, have a read of our review of the Anantara Algarve.

Like this:

Like Loading…