The Al Maha Luxury Collection Resort - Desert of Dubai
Just one hour South of Dubai you will find the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve. This reserve was created to preserve some of Dubai's natural wonders. (and they didn't find any oil, so what else to do with a desert?)
The cool thing about this reserve is that there is a luxury hotel in the midst of it: The Al Maha Luxury Collection Resort & Spa.
Designed to resemble a Bedouin encampment, the resort is really uncompromising luxury. You feel like Lawrence of Arabia, like a guest of the sheikh at an oasis. Unlike said Lawrence, we didn't opt for the horse to get there, but rather booked a Jeep from the hotel to take us from the city to the resort (I didn't want any problems with a normal taxi not finding the way or having problems with the rough dirty road in the end). It was a seamless experience and after about an hour we already enjoyed tea and fruits in the nice lobby while checking in.
This resort comprises only of villas/tents, which all have their own pool and are quite secluded from the neighbors. Getting around is either by foot or golf cart (with driver).
Adding to the Nature Reserve-feeling were the free roaming Arabian Oryx. Which, interestingly enough, were re-imported from South Africa, because they were already extinct in the Emirates.
Checkin was quick and we had a very short cart ride to our own tent. The size was really like a big suite and had a large terrace with private pool. From the bathroom, to the fitting interior design and the Nespresso machine: we loved it! (it had a fitting price tag, though: 600 USD per night - but still the cheapest choice in this hotel)
Despite the nice atmosphere and passable taste of the food, I will remember one thing more than any other about dining at Al Maha: the price! I am not afraid to pay good money for good food, but here you are paying 2-Michelin-star-prices for mediocre food. I guess it's expensive to get the raw materials shipped out to the desert for a handful of guests, but still...
We had our breakfast in the room and it was really nice.
Included in our room rate were two desert activities per day. We chose the Jeep ride through the desert and the camel sundowner.
Before an activity starts, there is a nice little buffet with Arabian delights waiting for the group in the lobby. The tour guides have been knowledgeable and friendly. The camel ride to a sand dune for watching the sunset (while having champagne) was a group activity and the Jeep tour through the resort was only us and the guide. He also took us to the camel stables and the falcon cages.
Pool and Spa
What an amazing pool in the desert. We loved it as much as our private pool. The spa building was opposite to the camel tour starting point, which was fun to watch from the lounger. I can't comment on the massages of the Timeless Spa, since we didn't book any this time.
|Hotel||Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa|
|Brand||Luxury Collection from SPG|
Staying in the Al Maha Resort is a wonderful experience. The friendly staff, the feeling of a secluded oasis in the desert and the fun activities. I probably wouldn't stay a week, since it will get quite boring I reckon. But for one to three nights it's worth the high price.
After having spent the night in the desert the Sultan summoned us to his city palace...to be continued