Located just an hour outside of Dubai, a vibrant city in the United Arab Emirates, known for luxury shopping, ultramodern architecture and a lively nightlife, you’ll find the quiet desert escape of Al Maha Resort & Spa. This luxury collection hotel is located deep within an enchanting dune landscape in the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve. After driving through miles and miles of nothing but sand dunes as far as the eye can see, you will reach the gates of Al Maha Resort, nestled in an enchanting palm oasis, worlds away from the hustle and bustle of city life. It’s time to take a deep breath, relax and unwind because you have just stepped into a magical, desert paradise where your only job is to let your cares fade away on the warm desert breeze.
My Experience At Al Maha Resort
This was my first visit to the Middle East so I was beyond excited to explore a little of the United Arab Emirates. My friend Misha and I traveled through Thailand for two weeks, and were flying home through Dubai, so I decided to use the stopover to spend one night in the desert and two nights in the city. But as soon as I arrived at Al Maha Resort I found myself wishing I was staying longer.
There are 43 luxurious tent rooms, all with private pools overlooking the desert. The rooms are spread out across the property, connected by small golf cart paths, so when you are at your villa you feel like there is no one else around. Our room was spacious and I especially loved the high tented roof, and the vibrant Middle Eastern decor. If you want to visit the restaurants or spa, you simply call the front desk and they will send a friendly member of the hotel staff to pick you up in a golf cart. You can also walk, but it is very hot, so I recommend using the golf cart service.
Al Maha Resort Cons
There is really not much to complain about when it comes to this peaceful, 5-star resort. The only problem we encountered was that my friend got sick the evening of our stay and there was no doctor on site to help her, and the nearest hospital was over an hour away in Dubai. By the morning she was a lot better, so we chalked the illness up to something she ate or drank in Thailand, or on our flight to Dubai (since we ate all the same food at Al Maha and I did not get sick), but it was scary that it would take over an hour to get to the nearest hospital. So I would not recommend staying here if you have young children or a serious medical condition, as it will take a long time to get medical care in the event of an emergency. And if you take medication, be sure you have enough of your prescription for the duration of your stay, before heading out to Al Maha.
Al Maha Resort Highlights
You might be wondering what you do all day in the middle of the desert? There is actually a lot to do and see! You can visit the spa and have a luxurious treatment, swim and bask in the sun at your own private pool or the spa pool, watch the Arabian Oryx and the Gazelles who wander freely around and through the resort, listen to the peaceful, happy sound of the birds chirping all day long, and of course you’ll want to enjoy delicious international and Arab cuisine, and cocktails at Al Diwaan Restaurant, Hajar Terrace Bar, or in the privacy of your tent. Romantic sand dune dinning is also available, which I would love to do if I return with my hubby!
But the highlight of my stay at Al Maha Resort was a sunset camel ride through the sand dunes. All guests are offered 2 complimentary activities per day including: falconry, archery, desert tours, camel trekking, wildlife drives, horse riding, dune bashing, nature walks, private desert picnics and sunset gatherings. We began our camel trek in front of the spa and made our way out into the desert reserve where we stopped to have sundowner drinks in the sand dunes. I have to admit I felt bad about that fact that the camels had to have muzzles on because they spit and bite. I also felt bad that they had some of us riding two people per camel, but I was quickly reassured by one of the guides that a camel can carry up to 900lbs!
I can’t explain the feelings of calmness and peace I experienced sitting with my feet in the sand, in the middle of nowhere, watching the sun set over the quiet desert landscape. The serenity and tranquility of this place is intoxicating. I highly recommend spending 2 or 3 nights at Al Maha where you can truly get away from it all, and escape into a magical desert wonderland.
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Have you been to Al Maha Resort or another desert escape? Please share your experience in the comments section below!