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Rahal Ranch

Dog Friendly Staycation in Abu Dhabi

Rahal Ranch
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Life on the Ranch

Rahal Ranch, Al Wathba


Now my fellow dog owners will get me, it is a nightmare to try and find a dog friendly ‘staycation’ here, especially on short notice. And ones that won’t charge you a fortune in the process. There are a couple on my list of must tries but being the last-minute lady I am, they were all either booked up or were going to burn a major hole in my wallet.

Then I stumbled across Rahal Ranch. The website offered chalet-style, no-frills accommodation on a working horse ranch which was… drum roll… dog friendly! And even better they didn’t charge any more for doggies. The price was reasonable, the pictures looked good, and the location was close enough for a one-night trip. So I contacted them via Facebook and received an answer almost immediately.

I should explain, my other half is definitely more of a 5* luxury sort of man, so this trip took a little bit of convincing. But with a fair share of puppy dog eyes and pleading that it would be “really great” to spend some family time all together (don’t judge ) he finally acquiesced. But I think what actually clinched the deal was the close proximity to the Al Wathba cycle track (which he could sneak off to on Sunday morning).

Donna, who took my booking, was so helpful and friendly and made sure I was really clear on the location. And while we were chatting, I decided to book a riding lesson, well… ‘when in Rome’. Note: all payment is in cash at the end of your trip, as they don’t have a card machine set up yet.

The Ranch was relatively easy to find and is accessible with a regular car. The accommodation is exactly as it said on the tin, this is not 5*star opulence but somewhere to rest your head after a busy day exploring and enjoying the open air. The simple chalet is fully equipped with a kitchenette, bathroom, large double bed, and a small patio seating area outside. I should warn you, the beds are pretty hard, so if you’re a bit of a comfort sleeper maybe bring something squishy to sleep on! We came with a small disposable BBQ and supplies for dinner, though the Ranch owner, Ali, kindly let us use his grill instead.

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My riding lesson was amazing, and great value for money. My instructor, Irati, was patient, good humoured and willing to push me that little bit out of my comfort zone. My noble steed, Galileo, was stunning (and also very patient) and you could tell he was very well looked after. My dogs also loved scampering round the paddocks meeting the horses, chickens, goats, and even the resident rescue Camel, Harry!

We finished the night stargazing, chowing down on BBQ food and chatting to Ali, the ranch owner, his son, and some other guests of the ranch. Ali has a led an incredible life so far and I could have literally listened to his stories all night. We were even treated to a perfect view of the Sheikh Zayed Festival fireworks to cap off the evening. Unfortunately, the weather was against us, and it belted down with rain all night so no trips to the cycle track… but oh well… just an excuse to go back!

By Lorenna White
January 2020