Not many expats know about this park, or so it would seem. We’ve lived 7 minute’s drive away from it for over five years but apart from having a meal in the restaurant, have never ventured further. Of course it was closed for refurbishment for two of those years; but that’s no reason to have missed this lovely resort which is on our doorstep!
Ayn Al Fayda is a very old complex and predates Al Ain’s other famous outdoor area – Green Mubazzara. At one time Sheikh Zayed’s Palace was here and it now houses the “Sheikh Zayed Palace Museum” which is packed full of photos from his childhood, the early days of the UAE through to more modern times. Opening hours are a little vague, but the beauty of this park is that there are so many different activities in one place there are plenty of alternative activities if something is closed.
The Al Ain Classic Car Museum is opening tomorrow, 30th January 2015 at 1800hrs and if you are a petrol head like me it is well worth a look. There are heritage cars – mainly landrovers – which pre-date the UAE as well as American imports which have been brought into the UAE over many years. Log on and “like” their facebook page to be kept updated!
Opening hours – Fridays 1600hrs to 2100hrs – Saturday to Thursday – 0900hrs to 1700hrs. Other times by appointment.
On the subject of motoring – there is an area within the park dedicated to offroading on Quadbikes. I had a chat with their manager, Saeed, and he tells me that they have a wide range of quadbikes and buggies with something to suit everyone from age 6 upwards. There’s a set course for children and 1700 square metres of rough ground for adults to ride around on. Quads can be hired from only 30aed for 15 minutes for kids sizes, which sounds like a cheap way to entertain your kids for a while. Adult size bikes, both auto and manual are available and their buggies are – Polaris 250cc and 800cc; Raptor 700cc; Banshee 350cc. You can rent them from 150aed for half an hour; all rentals include crash helmet hire. Opening hours are 0800hrs to 2100hrs Sunday-Thursday and 0800hrs to 2200hrs at the weekend. Weekends are extremely busy!
If you prefer equine to automotive, then why not visit the Al Bairaq Equestrian Club. I didn’t venture in here but you can call them on 050 7122929 or 050 7972275 pr visit their instagram page.
Ayn means “the spring” so you would expect to find a lot of water hereabouts – and there is plenty! As soon as you come through the retro 1970s gates of the resort, you might notice a fountain to your left (wasn’t on when I was there taking photos tho) – just behind here there is a public swimming pool area.
Moving further into the park and you will see signs for “Duck Lake” – this is an area you can rent for parties and groups and the One To One Hotel holds regular Friday evening entertainment there.
No park is complete without a boating lake and Ayn al Fayda has a massive one. Pedalos are available to rent and you can pedal yourself round a huge canal, enjoying the wonderful views of Jebel Hafeet as birds soar overhead. They weren’t open on a Tuesday afternoon when I visited but I am sure this place is open and very busy at weekends.
The final “aquatic” attraction is a ladies only pool, which is open from 0900hrs to 2100hrs, 7 days a week and offers a pool, sunbathing and shaded relaxing area. I am quite tempted to try a month’s subscription here – 350aed for a month, day passes available for 75aed.
With all that activity, chances are you will be hungry and you can find some great restaurants on the park. We’ve eaten at the lovely Zaitounah Restaurant, which specialises in mediteranean fare – prices are very reasonable and the food is good and plentiful. They also serve grape and hop beverage and are open from 1200hrs until midnight, 7 days a week.
Next door, the Glass House, which is a vast conservatory, dishes up arabic food 7 days a week; they also have a Friday buffet from 2pm to 5pm which priced at a most reasonable 99aed. Shisha is available in the adjoining garden. The Glass House is open from 0700hrs to 0200hrs. “Sandwiched” in between is the 18OZ diner which I haven’t visited personally but I believe it is a must-go for burger lovers!
Last, but not least, the One to One Hotel offers 26 hotel rooms, 57 luxury villas.