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Best Secret Islands on Earth

Desert Islands

Courtesy of Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara

United Arab Emirates: Desert Islands

The roaring traffic sounds of Abu Dhabi, 150 miles to the east, is replaced by the sound of lapping waves on this cluster of Arabian Gulf islands. Sir Bani Yas—with its wadis (dry riverbeds), mangroves, and Christian monastery excavation site—has the only hotel. Luckily, you’re in for a treat: Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara (971-2/801-5400; anantara.com; doubles from $383) includes 64 Arabian-chic rooms; the hotel will plan everything from kayaking trips to game drives through the nearby wildlife park.

T+L Tip: For dinner, try the steamed crabs in an oyster-mushroom sauce at the hotel’s restaurant. —Vinita Bharadwaj


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