For a quintessential Arabian desert adventure, look no further than this luxurious resort nestled deep within Abu Dhabi’s Empty Quarter
Grains of golden sand dance across the dunes, arabesque music fills the air and the flickering flames of the campfire lend a magical glow to the Bedouin style dinner setting. What may sound like an Arabian dream is delivered on a golden platter to travellers who journey to Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara, a resort that’s sure to earn a place on your wish list due to its unique blend of Arabian heritage, culture and luxury.
Located in the majestic Empty Quarter (the largest uninterrupted sand mass in the world), it feels a million miles away from the capital, yet is just a two-hour drive from Abu Dhabi’s Western region (Al Gharbia). If you’re feeling flash, however, you can zip there via helicopter in 50 minutes flat.
Emerging like a mirage amid the dunes, this fortress-like resort offers relaxation and adventure in equal measure. Rooms feature hand-crafted furnishings made by local artisans that evoke the spirit of Bedouin culture. Stunning desert views come as standard, so you feel fully immersed in your surroundings at all times.
There’s so much more to do than gaze at the shifting sands, however, thanks to the extensive line-up of experiences that make the most of the landscape’s rugged beauty. From traversing the dunes atop a camel to zooming over the sand in a four-wheel drive and learning more about the region’s fascinating heritage during the falcon and saluki show, your passion for adventure will be fired up here. There’s ample opportunity to try something new, from off-roading at your own pace on a fat bike to renting a sandboard (it’s Arabia’s answer to snowboarding), and taking the kids on an educational walk to learn more about local fauna.
After a day of activity, Anantara Spa calls you to unwind with a soothing treatment. A highlight is the Moroccan hammam, although the desert fusion massage combining hot stone and Liwa sand massage techniques is something out of the ordinary.
Dining against a desert backdrop never gets old. For the most Instagrammable views, head to The Sunset Lounge for drinks. Next, make your way to Al Falaj for a traditional dining experience. Get comfortable on the floor cushions and let the hypnotic sound of the qanun unwind the mind as you tuck into delicious Middle Eastern grills under a blanket of stars.
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