JET SETTING ACROSS THE UAE AND OMAN

No 3-hour pre departure arrival at the airport. No long queues at check-in. No crowded terminal and no long security and immigration queues!!

Its comfortable convenient and a luxury experience!

PRE DEPARTURE RATING

GI Aviation's private jet is comfortable and bright. The jet's interior has leather upholstered reclining seats and plenty of leg room.

PRIVATE JET RATING

(Really loved it!!!)

The highlight for me 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.

DINING RATING

A nature and wildlife safari on a resort gets hard to beat but if you're interested in something more the Anantara resorts on the island don't fall short on activities. From stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, snorkeling and yachting at sea to nature walks, mountain biking, culture and history tours, falcon shows, and archery on land. The resort has something for everyone.

ACTIVITY RATING

I just loved the private charter holiday experience. Not only do you save a lot on time, but it is a relaxing and enjoyable way to travel in the region and contrary to popular belief it is affordable.

PRIVATE CHARTER HOLIDAY

What I loved

MAY 2018

I've always wanted to get on a private jet and fly away to a dream destination.  A few days ago, that is exactly what I did. Lightfoot Travel has partnered with GI Aviation, and Anantara Hotels and Resorts in the UAE and Oman to take you on a private jet journey through the deserts and islands of the UAE to the green mountains of Oman. Each private charter journey is especially crafted to your liking, promising a bespoke holiday.
 

My luxury journey started upon arrival at the Falcon Aviation lounge, a boutique private terminal at Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai, where I was greeted by the friendly staff and offered light refreshments, tea and coffee as I waited in their VIP lounge. It's so nice to not have to worry about flight boarding times or to not have to rush to the gate at the other end of the airport so you don't miss your flight. The reason we go on holiday is to relax and de-stress. and this is an awesome way to kick start it.

Travel Info

Lightfoot Travel is a luxury travel company with offices in Singapore, London and Dubai. It is made up up of a team of experienced travel designers who can tailor make any holiday for you anywhere in the world.

With a passion for travel these experts will seek only the best for their clients.

Lightfoot Travel have partnered with GI Aviation and Anantara Hotels and resorts in the UAE and Oman and have designed a new

private charter holiday.

A sample 7 day itenarary could take you from Anantara Qasr Al Sarab, deep in the deserts of Liwa, to Anantara's Al Baleed resort in Salalah, Oman and from then on to Anantara Jabal Akhdar before returning to Abu Dhabi.

Anantara have two hotels and resorts in Oman and seven in the UAE, with a further 2 coming up in Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah by 2020.

When the flight was ready to board, we were escorted through security (super-easy and super-fast).  I exited the terminal, where several luxury cars were ready to transport our group to the jet (yes it feels good to be pampered). Luxury aside, I think the convenience, comfort and privacy is what would attract most to flying on a private jet and GI Aviation's Pilatus PC-12 promises affordability too!

We were greeted by our captain and first officer and stepped onto this sleek jet. The plane is incredibly comfortable, with ample leg room, leather upholstered reclining seats, window seats for every passenger, a refreshment cabinet and a toilet. I buckled up, reclined into the seat and we took off to the skies. Of course I couldn't stop clicking away, as we flew along the coastline from Dubai to Abu Dhabi where a myriad of blues were visible in the Arabian Gulf below. The best part about flying from Dubai to Sir Bani Yas was that I didn't have to drive for four hours to get to my destination!

After a short 50-minute flight we landed at Sir Bani Yas Airport where we were welcomed by the Anantara team. After a super quick security check we were ready to begin exploring this large island.

The first stop was the safari and we hopped into our large, sand-coloured 4x4. Our knowledgeable guide told us about the island and its history as we drove past the stables and through the gates of the wildlife park where the animals roam freely.

 

To help conserve endangered animals, this nature reserve was established in 1971 by Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the former ruler of the UAE. Today, Sir Bani Yas is home to 13,000 animals with a variety ranging from species of deer and antelope to giraffe and cheetah. Many of these animals, like the Arabian Oryx for example, were moved to Sir Bani Yas to prevent their extinction. Successful breeding and conservation have allowed their population to grow. As well as wild animals, Sir Bani Yas is home to 200 species of birds. We spotted a beautifully unusual bird, the 'crested crane', which happens to be the national bird of Uganda and appears on it's flag. It is a beautiful, long necked grey bird with a bright yellow crown. With so many wonderful creatures to spot I didn't know where to point my camera. I was super excited when our guide spotted a couple of Cheetahs resting behind some trees. Looking much larger than I had anticipated the fast creatures were resting a slight distance away and didn't seem to care much about us (thankfully!)

After the safari, we were taken to an archaeological site where a 7th century Christian monastery was unearthed. Who knew that monks once resided on this remote island? Our guide informed us that the resort offers a 'Culture and history tour' of the island for those interested.

After exploring the inner parts of Sir Bani Yas, we headed towards the eastern coast where Anantara has built its Al Yamm Resort. In Arabic 'Al Yamm' means the sea and the resort is aptly named as 30 ocean and mangrove view villas are dotted along the coast.  It was definitely cooler by the sea. According to our very knowledgeable safari guide, temperatures are lower on the island due to the sea breeze that cools off the temperatures when the mercury rises in the cities.

The beaches are kept relatively untouched here on Sir Bani Yas. A long stretch of white sandy beach separates the sea from the mangroves which are frequented by many birds such as flamingos. The island is truly a wildlife magnet.

We stopped for lunch at Olio, a Mediterranean restaurant at 'Al Yamm' where we took in the sea view as we enjoyed a delicious lunch.  Crisp salads and pastas were on the menu. I was especially happy that 'gluten free 'was also on the menu and thoroughly enjoyed my vegetarian gluten free pasta!

After a lovely lunch the adventure continued. More surprises lay ahead as we were driven to Al Sahel, another lovely property by Anantara on the island. I think for me this was the highlight. A gorgeous afternoon tea was set up under a canopy of trees in the grasslands, where peacocks grazed, and the sound of the wilderness set the perfect ambiance and mood. I felt like I had been transported to Africa!

Al Sahel has 30 luxury tented style villas facing the grasslands which allows the animals to get quite close to the villas. If you enjoy animal spotting and sounds of nature then Al Sahel would most definitely be for you.

After a day full of excitement and adventure, it was sadly time to leave. Where did the time go? We were driven to the local airport on the island where we said our goodbyes and got back onto the jet.

It was time to sink into our comfortable seats, recline back and reflect upon our day as we flew up and over Sir Bani Yas Island.

Just 50 minutes later it was almost sunset and the views over the coastline were stunning as we descended back towards Al Maktoum International Airport. Who knew you could get so much out of a day out in the UAE? The short private jet flight there was really worth it. It saved time, I felt pampered and got to enjoy an exciting day out exploring the UAE. I think I could really get used to this!

GHALIA'S  TRAVELS

Beach Front Villas

AL YAMM