I’ve done a fair amount of traveling around the world to wonderful hotels and resorts – but this one tops them all. Recently, while on a boutique tour around the world with A. Lange & Sohne, we had the delightful pleasure of staying at the Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa. Sadly – only for a couple of days, but it was enough to truly experience luxury in the Arabian Desert.
From the moment one enter the warm, natural elegance of the authentic Bedouin resort – built within the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve – an enriching experience unfolds. The main building features several luxurious rooms for relaxing and learning about the history of the area. The indoor-outdoor restaurant offers dining by day on the desert’s edge, or by night with lights, stars and moon above. But it is outside the main lobby building where
the adventure unfolds. Each of the resort’s rooms is an individual “tent” – an adobe structure secluded from every other of the 42 “tents” in the encampment. A walkway winds throughout the property, with individual walkways leading to each door. Once inside each tent, luxury awaits. Every suite is appointed with rich dark furniture, including antique Arab artifacts, a marble tile bathroom and more. The entire tent (with tent-like ceiling) features walls of glass, for unending views.
Double doors from the sitting area open onto a private infinity pool with patio on both sides and a breathtaking view of the desert. The pool is warm and serenity immediately engulfs you. Rooms are even equipped with artist easels and supplies for those who want to try their hand at capturing the impossible on paper (I tried; couldn’t do it).
Because the resort is located on a conservation reserve (45 minutes from the city of Dubai), wildlife is abundant. I was greeted by a beautiful gazelle when I arrived at my tent – one of many of these Arabian antelopes I got to see during my few days there. Also roaming the property are Arabian Oryx, which are being bred back from the brink of extinction within the reserve.
So, what does one do in the desert, if not swimming in the private pool? The spa is gorgeous and healing, the walks are wonderful and the resort offers Arabian horse riding, camel trips into the desert at sunset for an early dinner in the dunes (definitely recommended, though maybe wear boots, as the scorpions like to come out at night), and 4-wheeling on the dunes at daybreak. Experiencing the serene desert on a dromedary camel was enlightening and offered a truly timeless peek into tradition. The juxtaposition of the ancient-like camel ride, against the dune driving in the morning
left indelible marks in my memory. To my knowledge, nothing else like this resort and its side-trip exists, and while it is a trek away (pardon the pun) – it is an experience not to be missed.