Ramadan tents tried and tested

Today is the 15th day of Ramadan, meaning that we're already half-way through the holy month, and Eid Al Fitr (the three-day festival after Ramadan) is two weeks away. So if you are yet to sample the evening activities on offer, there's no better time than now.

There is plenty to do, from visiting art galleries to hanging out at a coffee shop. And as with every Ramadan comes the return of the Ramadan tent. This Arabian institution is so popular that most are jam-packed every night. But which ones should you go for Emirates Business tried and tested a selection, and brings you its verdict in no particular order.

1 ATLANTIS RAMADAN TENT

Atlantis The Palm

As expected, the world-famous Atlantis hotel doesn't do things by half, and the same goes for its Ramadan specials. Popular with both UAE nationals and expats, its tent offers great deals for small or large groups. Plus, if you want something more private, there are also booths available on the beach with a dedicated waiter service.

The menu is simple and sticks to traditional offerings, such as mixed grill dishes and melted cheese sandwiches. The service is fast, and the food comes in generous portions. Additionally, there is a huge variety of drinks and shisha on offer.

Highlight: The shisha comes in a variety of flavours and is well-prepared

Suhour minimum spend: Dh75 per person

Where: The Palm Jumeirah, Dubai

Call: 04 346 1111

2 AL BARZA TENT

Jumeirah Beach Residence

Set up by Dubai Properties Group, this JBR tent is so popular that most weekends are already fully booked until the end of Ramadan. And it's easy to see why, thanks to its beachside location, and chilled out atmosphere.

Thankfully, we managed to try it out and it doesn't disappoint. The menu is a huge plus; rather than just the usual Arabic types of appetisers and sandwiches, a big selection of North African dishes are also available. To wash it down, choose from soft drinks, fresh juices or hot beverages. The entertainment is pretty much the norm, but Al Barza is more about getting together with family and friends rather than watching TV or playing cards.

Highlight: The North African menu

Suhour minimum spend: Dh75 per person

Where: JBR, Dubai

Call: 050 107 9834

3 LAYALI EL HILMIYA TENT

Le Royal Méridien Hotel, Abu Dhabi

One of the capital's best Ramadan tents this year has to be Layali El Hilmiya, which apparently took a month to construct.

Well worth the effort we think, as this is the first time we have ever come across a tent with a swimming pool and palm trees inside it. The tent is set up in the gardens of the hotel, so it was constructed around the gardens' landscape. Of course, the pool isn't for swimming at the moment, but it makes for great decor.

Plenty is on offer throughout the night. The food is fabulous, thanks to the selection of fine Arabic fare. For entertainment, there's an oud player and backgammon, cards, and shisha to make a memorable outing.

Highlight: The pool inside the tent is a great, quirky idea

Suhour minimum spend: Dh25 per person

Where: Sheikh Khalifa Street, Abu Dhabi

Call: 800 101 101

4 DIWAN AL KHAYAL TENT

Jumeirah Beach Hotel

If you are looking for ambience, it doesn't get better than the Diwan Al Khayal. Located on the hotel's beachfront over-looking the Burj Al Arab, this tent truly captures classical Arabic style, providing an authentic experience. The food and activities are good, too.

A wide variety of Lebanese delicacies are available for both iftar and suhour, plus there are plenty of drink and shisha varieties. For those looking for a bit of entertainment, there's traditional Arabic music playing every night, plus you can also play backgammon or cards.

Highlight: The tent's souk, located at the entrance, features a range of Middle Eastern souvenirs that make for great presents

Suhour minimum spend: Dh80 per person

Where: Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai

Call: 04 406 8999

5 THE COVE TENT

The Cove Rotana Resort

Fancy a weekend break? Why not head to The Cove Rotana Resort, and celebrate Ramadan in style. Located in Ras Al Khaimah overlooking the Arabian Gulf sea, the five-star resort – which opened its doors to the public this year – offers a choice between hotel rooms and villas for housing families or a group of friends, as well as 600 metres of private beach.

The resort's Ramadan tent is a definite highlight. Overlooking the resort with its spectacular views, the air-conditioned tent is open from iftar time until 2am every day. Plenty of entertainment is offered throughout the night, but Rotana's highlight is the food, which is fresh and delicious, plus there is also a grand selection of beverages and shisha.

Highlight: Try any of the Arabic dishes

Suhour minimum spend: Dh35 per person

Where: Ras Al Khaimah

Call: 07 206 6000

6 DIFC RAMADAN MAJILS

Dubai International Financial Centre

This luxurious and elegant tent features both iftar and suhour menus, so perfect if you work in or around the trendy Burj Dubai or DIFC area. Catering is provided by Jumeirah Hospitality, so there is a host of scrumptious dishes.

Our favourite items on the menu included the range of cooked cheeses, as well as hot sandwiches. As for the drinks, there's plenty to choose from, but the Moroccan tea is recommended. The DIFC Ramadan Majlis also caters to large groups of 20 people or more (so great for a Ramadan work outing), and you can also host your private iftar or suhour party.

Highlight: Without a doubt, the location is splendid

Suhour minimum spend: Dh35 per person

Where: Emperor Hall, DIFC

Call: 04 362 2225


Best of the rest

Dubai Festival City Tent

InterContinental/Crowne Plaza DFC Prices start from Dh35 Call: 04 701 1128

The Dubai Mall Ramadan Tent

Waterfront Promenade Prices start from Dh35 Call: 055 287 9897

Ramadan @ the Peregrine Garden

One&Only Royal Mirage, Dubai Dh40 per person Call: 04 399 9999

Ramadan by the Beach

Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Prices start from Dh45 Call: 02 695 0517

- Sheraton Abu Dhabi Hotel & Resort

Corniche Road, Abu Dhabi Prices start from Dh25 Call: 02 677 3333

Layali Tent

Le Méridien Al Aqah, Fujairah Dh75 per person Call: 09 244 9000

 

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