- Detailed Review
- Facts & Amenities
If you were lost in the Rub’Al Khali and stumbled across the Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was a mirage, or an ancient city lost to the sands of time. Imagine stumbling up a colossal dune and uncovering a fortress emerging from the sand, surrounded by crystal clear pools. This is no mirage or ruin, rather an oasis of luxury in the centre of the planet’s largest contiguous sand desert.
Lucky you for stumbling across this scene straight from Arabian Nights, for this is truly a hotel built on grandeur. No expense was spared (some $5 billion) on creating this oasis about a two hour drive from Abu Dhabi. And it shows. Each of the large, subtly decorated rooms boast soaring views of the dunes, the suites from their terraces. For true indulgence, look to one of the 52 villas, each with a private pool, particularly the majestic Royal Pavillions, formerly reserved for royal guests only. The wonderful architecture, evocative of the fortresses that dot the Arabian Peninsula, grants this hotel a sense of mysticism, one that’s only enhanced by the stirring, dramatic surroundings.
This is a destination for adventurers and those seeking palatial pursuits alike. Explore the surrounding desert by day on a camel, dune buggy or fat bike, or engage in more traditional pastimes like archery. Once you’ve exhausted yourself (or not, if you’re here to relax), you can scrub away the sand in the traditional hammam, or opt for more contemporary spa treatments. For sustenance, the dining options focus on traditional Arab, Bedouin and Mediterranean fare, with a smattering of Western and Thai meals available. While there are five restaurants to choose from, the highlight is more the setting than any specific dish, with Bedouin camp dining available, or even the opportunity to dine privately amongst the dunes.
Despite, or perhaps as a result of, the seclusion there is a true sense of community here, as the 400 strong staff live together on site. They take great pride in maintaining their beautifully appointed hotel (it would be a challenge to find a spec of sand in any of the interiors), as well as guiding guests through the many activities available among the dunes.
How to get here
2 hours by road from Abu Dhabi International Airport
206 rooms & villas