5 Best Desert Hotels in the UAE

Most travelers predominantly associate Dubai hotels with beachside resorts or high-end urban hotels, but luxurious desert resorts are also a great option for many visitors to Dubai.

Similar to Dubai, Abu Dhabi hotels also allow guests to make the most of their visit by providing them with a unique opportunity to experience the authentic allure of the desert. 

The desert dunes of Dubai and the greater UAE hide some of the most luxurious and spectacular desert hotels and resorts in the world. Here are our recommendations for the five best hotels in the UAE where the desert takes center stage.  

Bab Al Shams Desert Resort and Spa, Dubai

Seemingly removed from the world, Bab Al Shams Desert Resort and Spa is located within a stone’s throw of the Al Qudra lakes of the Al Marmoom Conservation Reserve. A mere 45 minutes from Dubai International Airport, guests of the resort can expect dramatic sunsets between the dunes where wild animals such as foxes, gazelles, and numerous types of birds can often be observed. 

Constructed in the manner of a traditional Arab fort, the resort features courtyards, fountains, and gardens against the backdrop of an impressive desert panorama. The little ones will also be occupied by the activities offered in the playground while parents can take in the desert dunes from the resort’s excellent infinity pool. 

 

Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort and Spa, Dubai

Still within the Conservation Reserve 45 minutes away from Dubai, another modern guests-only oasis awaits. Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort and Spa serves as a luxurious bubble for guests to unwind amidst its sheltering palm groves, emerald canopies, and timeless sand dunes. 

This 5-star desert retreat offers 42 impeccable suites with private swimming pools overlooking the orange sand dunes, dotted with tufts of greenery. If you’re fortunate enough, you may just observe herds of gazelles and oryx making their way through the desert. 

Guests may take part in horseback riding, camel trek or a slow-paced nature walk. Archery and falconry are also available for guests to take part in. On the wellness front, the desert hotel provides comprehensive spa services complete with treatment rooms, and saunas, along with massage and fitness facilities.

Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara, Abu Dhabi

The Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort is situated about a 2.5-hour drive away from Abu Dhabi. The relatively long journey is actually part of the appeal since the fortress-like resort stands in the middle of the Liwa desert, far removed from the hustle and bustle of the city. 

The palatial oasis exudes incomparable tranquillity that reflects millennia-old Arab tradition surrounded by towering sand dunes. The Qasr al Arab desert resort features 140 rooms, 14 suites and 52 villas, a spa with hammam, and a sizeable pool. 

Guests can enjoy an extensive collection of desert activities, ranging from camel trekking and horseback riding to dune bashing, archery and falconry. Its five restaurants serve oriental, Mediterranean and international dishes complete with options for dining in the desert. 

Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah

Set within the Al Wadi Nature Reserve just north of Dubai, the Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah invites guests to connect with nature and culture by way of desert camel or horse trek and nights of desert stargazing. 

Offering Bedouin-inspired villas in place of traditional tents, a stay in this luxury desert retreat means availing oneself of a private pool, a deck overlooking the desert, a spacious lounge area and a bathroom with floor-to-ceiling windows complemented with breathtaking desert views.

The Ritz-Carlton Ras al Khaimah draws inspiration from the desert and provides guests with wellness and treatment menus involving exotic oils, spices, and hydrothermal suites. 

Mysk Al Badayer Retreat, Sharjah

In the deserts of Sharjah, guests may immerse themselves in an authentic Arab culture atmosphere at the Mysk Al Bayader Retreat. Away from the bright lights of the city, the desert hotel invites guests to relax and rejuvenate in serene surroundings inspired by the style of the nomadic caravans of old. 

Guests may choose between a classic room or a modern tent with a private pool depending on their preferences. The hotel has a restaurant and a lounge bar, perfect for enjoying the remainder of the day. As with other desert hotels featured above, Mysk Al Badayer Retreat also pampers guests with a spa and wellness service, a fitness area and a swimming pool.

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Steve has been living in Saudi Arabia since 2013 and writing about Saudi rules, regulations, guides, and procedures since then.