The Travel Professionals Ltd
UAE – The Al Maha Desert Resort, Dubai
It is hard to believe that only 50 years ago Dubai was pretty much still desert, but with the discovery of oil began the building of infrastructure and a construction boom that has resulted in the urban sprawl that is Dubai today. Dubai continues to evolve with many landmark buildings and the creation of new ‘islands’ on which opulent hotels compete to be the biggest and best. However it was not the bright lights of downtown Dubai that left its impression on me, but the relaxing haven of the Al Maha Desert Resort, which is in complete contrast to the buzzing atmosphere of the city.
Forty five minutes from Dubai International Airport, the Al Maha is set within 225 square kilometres of desert, deep within a conservation area and, if you are looking for something a little different from the bright lights and buzz of Dubai, you will find this a tranquil haven where you can discover the true natural beauty that Dubai has to offer.
We arrived late in the evening after a slow meander through the reservation observing plenty of the indigenous wildlife, from Desert Gazelles to the Arabian Oryx. Gazelles almost disappeared from the desert, but a conservation project has seen their numbers increase to over 500 now. After a warm welcome, with iced fragrant towels and a cool refreshing cocktail in the hotel lobby lounge, we were shown around the hotel. The hotel itself is Arabian in style and the interior reflects this heritage with original artworks, antique pieces and traditional Bedouin inspired soft furnishings and rugs.
A short drive from the main hotel via buggies, we arrived at the entrance to the Emirates suite with a private inner courtyard and pool with a deck overlooking the most amazing views of the desert.
The hotel has 37 Bedouin suites, 2 Royal suites, 2 Emirates suites and 1 Presidential suite each including its own private pool with deck with views of the sand dunes and a fringing of lush palms. The Al Maha room rates include two activities per person per nights stay – with activities ranging from archery, falconry, camel trekking, horse riding as well as wildlife safaris and guided nature walks.
The sun was beginning to lower in the sky, so we quickly transferred by 4×4 jeep into the desert to watch the sun go down – a truly magical and romantic experience made even more enjoyable with a glass of chilled champagne. After the sunset we transferred back to the hotel for dinner under the stars!
The Timeless Spa at the Al Maha specialises in a wide range of wellness with therapies inspired from Middle Eastern and South East Asian traditions. The Al Maha can also host Meetings & Events for up to 120 delegates with its various seating layouts.