Set amidst pristine, undulating sand dunes in the Arabian Desert, Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa is a very special place indeed. Between May and September this year, all accommodation is undergoing an extensive refurbishment, so what better time to take a closer look at the unique hotel?
Across the United Arab Emirates, cities and towns rise up amidst arid lands and desert. Indeed, the Arabian Desert covers much of the land here, and many visitors to Dubai or Abu Dhabi will venture out on ‘dune-bashing’ excursions in 4x4s for a night of entertainment as the sun goes down. Locals will head out onto the sands too, for barbeques and celebrations of national festivals, much like Brits would treat their local park. Not so, though, with the 225 square-kilometre section of desert designated as the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve. This swathe of sand is a protected environmental area, kept pristine for endemic wildlife and much less frequented by human visitors. Yet it is here you’ll find one of the world’s more luxurious desert resorts; Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa.
Built on an oasis, with natural underground water just 30 metres below the surface, this lush patch of ground has been developed with sensitivity to its natural environment in mind. Just 42 low-rise, tented suites make up the accommodation offering, and each stands alone for the ultimate privacy. The protected nature of the desert area adds to the exclusivity of this resort. There is nothing quite like the silence of the desert to relax you completely.
Guests here can enjoy an array of desert activities, many of which draw on Emirati tradition. You might choose to ride an Arabian horse as the sun rises over the dunes, or watch and take part in a falconry display. Of course, there are creature comforts too, with an infinity pool overlooking the desert as well as the indulgent Timeless Spa, which offers Arabian-inspired treatments. Shaded, private pools are also attached to each and every suite.
Dining at Al Maha is an exceptional experience, whether eating in the excellent Al Diwaan Restaurant, taking a meal on the private deck of your suite or even savouring the very special experience of torch-lit ‘dune dining’. We recommend the latter as a great way to round off a luxury honeymoon.
With many choosing to spend a few nights in Dubai as part of a twin-centre escape to destinations in the Indian Ocean or Far East, Al Maha also provides a contrast with hotels in Dubai city itself.
“With so many long-haul flights connecting through Dubai, I always recommended a few nights in the Emirates on the way back from the Maldives or Mauritius.” says Zoe Saunders, Senior Product Manager for Indian Ocean and the Middle East at the Inspiring Travel Company.
“A stop-over in the Arabian Gulf is a great way to break up the jetlag, and extend your luxury holiday for a few days.” Saunders continues.
“Al Maha is a great choice for those who really who want an ‘away from it all’ experience in the desert, rather than heading straight into the high-tech centre of Dubai. It’s also the perfect option for a twin-centre holiday with the Emirates themselves.”
In May 2017, the resort started a soft refurbishment programme, which is due to complete in September. The work is enhancing each of the resort’s 42 luxury suites and pool decks and will add contemporary touches and technology to cater to the modern guest. While the premium restaurant and spa remain unchanged, the improved suites will only boost the ultra-luxe ambience at the resort.