The reason we Paynes moved to Al Ain was because we discovered this hotel a few years ago and then came twice a year ever since, then finally decided to move to this country as we like it so much!
We’ve stayed at this hotel 11 times so far, ranging from 2 to 15 nights at a time.
We come because the service is beyond anything we’ve experienced anywhere else: way better than the likes of the Peninsula in Hong Kong, or the Atlantis and Jumeriah Beach Hotel in Dubai.
The hotel looks fabulous…
…and it has a terrific range of facilities which surpass those of other hotels we’ve tried.
Here’s part of one pool…
Kid’s Club inside area…
The outside area of the Kid’s Club…
And here’s a 1-minute video I took on a cloudy day one July when it was 50 degrees, and 110 per cent humidity – though still quite bearable to sunbathe in, surprisingly (we had got used to the heat after nearly a year in Al Ain)…
The manager, Patrick Antaki, is a stickler for detail, and comes across as obsessed with giving superb customer service.
Here’s me with Patrick at a fair they held a while back with Bucking Bronco and tug of war…
I have been so amazed by the service that I’ve grilled the staff as to their philosophy, and also talked to Patrick about it.
Here are a few bits of information which may give you an idea that this is a hotel worth visiting…
If you are on the beach and you want, to take this to an extreme, a glass on beetroot and spinach juice, then the staff are trained to say “Yes, I can get that for you. It will just take a little time.” (Of course, this drink is not on any menu.)
The lifeguard staff by the pools are rotated every 30 minutes or so to ensure that their concentration is 100%. (In other hotels, lifeguards can be at one post for hours at a time.)
If you see a member of staff walking by, and you ask for something, they make it happen. There is no “please go to reception and ask” etc attitude. They really go the extra mile.
They make it a priority to learn guests’ names and greet them accordingly.
The staff are well paid, have their own gym, have a 24-hour lounge, get involved in inter-hotel tournaments, take part in events like a vertical marathon: running up the stairs of the hotel from the bottom to the top.
If a member of staff gets married in their home country, management make an effort to find employment for that partner in the hotel.
When a member of staff had kidney failure at the age of 29, all the staff chipped in to pay 70,000 dirhams for his hospital treatment.
When the tsunami destroyed homes in Sri Lanka, the hotel helped pay for the rebuilding of 7 of the homes of the families of some of the staff members.
Patrick reads most of the comment cards that people leave behind. The bad ones are displayed on a noticeboard for all staff to see. The person who made the complaint is rung up and invited to visit again.
Patrick told me, “If you treat people like kings and queens, they come again and tell their friends.”
Patrick relates a whole series of stories which show his philosophy. “One man, who had stayed with us a few times, decided to try one of our competitors, who offered him a lower price to stay there. Within several hours the man rang Patrick up and said, “I don’t care how much you charge me, just get me a room in your hotel because my wife is giving me hell here.”
I spoke with one of the other guests at the hotel who told me this story: “We got stuck in this hotel when the volcano in Iceland erupted and so many flights were cancelled back to the UK. We had friends who were staying at hotels in Dubai, and some of those hotels put the room rates up much higher, which made their prolonged stay that much more expensive. This hotel, the Al Aqah, offered us special deals, free meals and free drinks. That’s the way to treat guests.”
Although, on average, this hotel is 150AED or more per night than the other hotels in the area, their occupancy level is far higher: a testament to the power of supreme customer service.
We Paynes have stayed in many hotels including the Atlantis and the Jumeriah Beach Hotel, and the service at these hotels is way behind that which we experience at Al Aqah.
Al Aqah offers some very special deals at times. The best rates we got were last July when we came for 3 nights and got free breakfast and evening meal included. We had such a wonderful time that we stayed an extra night before we drove back to Al Ain then caught a flight back to the UK for several weeks.
If you have a Garmin satellite navigation device, or the Tom-Tom app on your iPhone, enter N 25°30′ E56°21′ to be directed to Al Aqah Beach Resort, which is metres away from the other hotels on this short strip of beach.
Go to this article for photos taken from 2 balconies of the pool area, nearby hotels etc.
This article shows images from our 10th anniversary celebration at this hotel.
This article shows photos of the journey from Al Ain to Fujairah.