Page update - Sep 30, 2022
Several dozen hotels in the UAE offer the all-inclusive system. On this page, let's find out what to expect from the Emirati all-inclusive? What food, drinks, services are included in the accommodation price? And most importantly, what unpleasant surprises await tourists? Is the AI in the UAE worth the money they ask for?
There are no generally accepted norms of the all-inclusive system in the UAE, unlike in Egypt, Turkey, or Tunisia. The set of the services is different from hotel to hotel.
Let us explain again and in more detail. According to the experience of hotels in Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia, we understand that the all-inclusive system implies three meals a day, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, snacks during the day (and sometimes even at night). And there are hotels with exactly this set of services in the UAE. But! There are hotels, and there are many of them, where the phrase "all-inclusive" implies a narrower set.
Here is a striking example in the Emirate of Ajman. There are the Ramada Hotel & Suites (in the photo near, click on the photo to enlarge to full screen) and Ramada Beach Hotel. These two hotels provide inexpensive all-inclusive, but there is no alcohol in the package. Moreover, they do not sell alcohol even in bars in these hotels. Many tourists are very amazed by such a situation.
At many 3 and 4-star hotels the phrase "all-inclusive" should be read as "breakfast + lunch + dinner and nothing more". Soft drinks at the bar may be included or not. The cost of vacation in such hotels is not high - from USD 1200 to USD 1700 for a week for two persons.
If we talk about expensive 5-star hotels, we can find a full-fledged all-inclusive with a chic buffet, snack bars, bars on the beach and near the pool, and good quality alcohol. But the cost of the vacation is higher - from USD 2,500 to USD 4,000 for 7 days for two persons.
Conclusions! Buying a tour with the all-inclusive system in the UAE, be sure to read the hotel reviews of tourists who have already been there. Read the reviews and look for exactly what is included in the AI and what is not.
Find your flight
There are not many all-inclusive hotels in the UAE. In the Emirate of Dubai there are about a dozen. This is a modest figure, considering that there are more than a thousand hotels and guest houses in Dubai.
The all-inclusive system is mostly popular in Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah emirates, where there are dozens such hotels. Ras Al Khaimah offers the lowest prices. In Abu Dhabi, there are two dozen hotels that support AI, but the prices are high.
Meals vary greatly from one hotel to another. Most often, they prefer to cook Pan-european cuisine. You can meet the masterpieces of local Arabian cuisine only in the expensive five star hotels.
There are neutral dishes that are usual for everybody: pizza, pasta, rice with vegetables, no extravagances cooked meat and fish, vegetables, fruits.
Please note that in the UAE it sometimes happens that soft drinks, coffee or tea at lunch and dinner must be paid separately. Be careful, ask about the terms at the reception or the hotel guide.
You can sometimes read in the hotel descriptions, "Locally produced alcohol is included". This phrase sounds crazy, because the production of alcoholic beverages in the United Arab Emirates is strictly prohibited by law. Naturally, all the alcohol is imported. In the Emirate of Sharjah, the sale of alcohol is prohibited by the local law, except at Duty-Free at the Sharjah airport.
The cheapest beer for hotels in UAE comes from Australia, its quality can be described as "average, you can drink it".
Inexpensive wine comes from Australia and New Zealand, the USA, Italy, Spain, and France. Wine on all-inclusive is a real lottery - can be excellent, and can be awful.
Spirits are from all over the world. Whiskey from the U.S., Britain, Ireland. In all-inclusive hotels, the price does not always include spirits. It sometimes happens that only beer and wine are in the package, but spirits are not. Be awake! Recheck the terms before buying the tour or hotel booking.
The extra services are probably the most valuable in the all-inclusive in the UAE. We will talk about it in detail.
All-inclusive almost always imply a free shuttle bus to a beach. Inexpensive hotels in the UAE are usually far from beaches, sometimes up to 5 kilometers (8 miles), and the free shuttle bus is extremely valuable for tourists. It can be hard to get to a beach by public transport, and it is expensive to take a cab there and back every day. Read more in our review "Taxis in the UAE" for details. Usually, the bus runs every 1.5-2 hours, making 4-5 runs a day.
Some hotels arrange transfers to popular tourist areas, such as Dubai Mall in Dubai or Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. Such transfers are free for all-inclusive tourists. Usually the bus runs two times a day.
If the hotel is near the beach, tourists can use the sunbeds, umbrellas, and beach towels for free. Unfortunately, there are very few hotels on the first line in the UAE. For the complete list, see our review "First line hotels in the UAE". The all-inclusive system offers the use of gyms, sports equipment and sports facilities.
Find your hotel
1. As there is no common set of services in the all-inclusive system in the UAE. Read the reviews of tourists when choosing a hotel. From the reviews you will find out what exactly is included and what is not. It is not recommended to look for information on the official hotel websites, it may be outdated.
2. If you need a large amount of alcoholic beverages during your vacation then the UAE is a bad option. Alcohol may not be available in inexpensive hotels, and the tour to the five-star is very expensive. Fly to Tunisia as the alcohol there is high quality and much cheaper.
3. Before using any service, be sure to clarify whether it is included? This is especially true for drinks at the mini-bar, which are almost always for a fee.
4. Calculate whether it makes sense to buy the all-inclusive tour? It may be cheaper and more interesting to take a tour with only breakfast and eat at a nearby restaurant? To help you to understand the prices we offer our detailed review "How much money to take to the UAE".
5. If you are vacationing with the full-fledged all-inclusive then do not go out of the hotel while drunk as there is a serious responsibility for this. Read our reviews "Alcohol in the UAE" and "What is not allowed in the UAE".
Have a nice vacation in the UAE, and read our interesting and helpful pages about this country (see the list of the pages below).
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