The place, a destination tucked in between two destinations, is where you’d want spend a getaway yet still be close to anywhere.
If you’re into bird-watching, or polo, or hidden beaches for a weekend of great outdoor activities with its white sand set against the turquoise sea, Ghantoot it is.
Located only 20 minutes from Dubai or about 40 minutes from Abu Dhabi, Five Continents Cassels Ghantoot Beach Hotel & Resort is that destination in between destinations often overlooked by visitors, and by some extent, local residents as well because it is so tucked in—which is great because this means you can have the place to yourself.
Ghantoot, as a trip planner would put it, is where you’d want to spend a getaway yet still be close to anywhere—be it Abu Dhabi’s Ferrari World theme park or Dubai’s JBR The Walk.
Wrote one adventurer who had been to the place, “You are rarely joined by more than a handful of people; the loungers are so spaced out. For peace and quiet that can turn into fun and frolics, Ghantoot is your beach.”
Now if that doesn’t give you a close-enough picture of how it is in Ghantoot, then you may likewise find it interesting to note that some areas of the place are great to see cream-coloured Coursers, Pacific Golden Plover, pipits, Pied, Desert and Isabelline Wheatear, and Caspian Plover.
A group of bird lovers has said it is always worth a stop at Ghantoot for Grey Hypocolius around November to April. “This is currently the only site in the country the birds are seen with any regularity,” said Tommy Pedersen in his site, “UAE Birding: The eastern hotspot of the Western Paleartctic” on www.uaebirding.com
Pedersen said Grey Hypocolius birds, which look quite similar to a Southern Grey Shrike or bulbul, often provide mere fleeting views, “Be patient and listen for their quiet Wigeon-like whistle. Flocks may perch up prominently in late afternoon when they come in to roost,” he said.
According to the website, some 160 species (including escapes) have been recorded since December 2009. Pedersen said common residents are Grey Francolin, Rose-ringed Parakeet, White-cheeked Bulbul and Red-vented Bulbul, Indian Silverbill.
Other birds regularly recorded are the Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse flying over in mornings, Song Thrush, Desert Whitethroat, Eastern Orphean Warbler, White-throated Robin, Black Redstart, Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin and Southern Grey Shrike.
Ghantoot Racing & Polo Club
Of course, there’s more to Ghantoot than birds and beaches. The place is home to the Ghantoot Racing & Polo Club, which just recently concluded the HH President of UAE Cup 2013 which was participated in by five teams across the Gulf.
The tourney was a 16-goal handicap (open) governed by the current rules and regulations provided for by the Hurlingham Polo Association. The new polo season is slated to start around mid October this year.
Set in 300 hectares of lush grassland, the club has eight world-class polo fields, stables for over 300 top-class ponies and a 2,000-seater grandstand equipped with VIP entrance, media facilities and business centre.
The club’s colonial-style clubhouse includes dining facilities with outstanding views of the polo field as well as a swimming pool and fully equipped gymnasium.
Over the years the club has played host to the royal family, visiting kings and famous personalities. The club is famed to be among most prestigious and exclusive polo clubs in the region.
The Ghantoot Racing & Polo Club was established 1994 and is a private, royal venue sprung up around the vision of the late President, HH Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Today, it is run under the patronage of his son H.H Sheikh Falah Bin Zayed Al Nayhan.
Ghantoot Marina & Resort
Ghantoot, one of places to visit in Dubai, is also home to the Ghantoot Marina & Resort, a unique and welcoming marina environment whose members have access to every hotel facility, including private beach, gym and swimming pool. The marina has 300 berths that can accommodate vessels up to 55 metres in size.
The marina, which has a natural and serene setting, has been described as a “barefoot” facility rather than a “high heeled” one, and is adjacent to a resort hotel.
Nestled in a calm natural environment, away from the city’s polluted air, Ghantoot Marina is the perfect destination to dock your yacht.
The warm welcome which is extended to you upon your arrival and the friendly faces of the staff are Ghantoot Marina’s most distinctive characteristic. Clean waters and natural surrounds combined with simplicity of life will make you feel among friends.
The facility has wi-fi access, fueling services, round-the-clock on-site crew support, a marina rescue boat, on-site maintenance operator, boat-cleaning services, emergency towing, jump-starting and assistance with maneuvering, electricity and water.
Fishing derbies are also held at Ghantoot Marina & Resort with prize catches including Tuna, Hamour, King Fish and a lot of bottom fish species.