When thinking of UAE, the association with luxury immediately comes to mind. We all have images in our head of palm islands in Dubai or downtown Abu Dhabi. After all, the rest of the country is mostly desert, right? Well, in that desert lie some of the world’s most exclusive resorts. The neighboring country Oman is also opening up for tourists and is gaining in popularity over the recent years. So why not consider going there as well? The two countries can easily be combined as well. You can stay a few days in the UAE and head to Oman for the second part of your journey. Along with my top choices in the UAE, I picked two resorts in Oman of which I think they would give you memories you’ll never forget. Read along to find out which desert resort in the UAE and Oman are among the world’s best.
Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara
On the outskirts of Abu Dhabi, the world’s largest sand desert – the Empty Quarter – beckons. Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara rises up from flame-colored dunes like a mirage, inviting adventure in the most luxurious of styles. Imagine how amazing it would be to dine under the desert skies. One of the coolest activities you can do there is to traverse the Rub’ al Khali by camelback! Unwind with hammam and desert rose rituals at this relaxing Abu Dhabi resort. Every room opens out onto a balcony or terrace, but the pool rooms come with a private butler! Admire endless dunes from your personal oasis. For the most exclusive of stays, reserve a Royal Pavilion out in the desert.
Al Wathba, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa
As of March 1, 2020, Jumeirah Al Wathba Desert Resort & Spa will no longer be managed by Jumeirah Group and the hotel will no longer be part of the Jumeirah Group portfolio. Instead, it is now part of the Luxury Collection by Marriott and rebranded as Al Wathba, a Luxury Colleciton Resort & Spa. an intimate retreat suffused with natural beauty and serene tranquility. The boutique resort’s 103 guest rooms and villas feature timeless local details, traditional artwork, and Arabesque accessories, alongside a range of dining destinations showcasing the dunes to panoramic perfection.
Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa
Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort and Spa in the Dubai emirate is a private, guest-only oasis nestled among the lush palm groves, emerald canopies and iconic sand dunes of the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve. The hotel offers secluded tranquility and iconic vistas of the sweeping plains and Hajar Mountain massif. Here you can take an unforgettable horse ride, camel trek or nature walk. It’s also possible to do a signature desert safari or practice the distinguished arts of archery and falconry. In short, the resort can help you with the most exclusive excursions. Villas at Al Maha feature private swimming pools with majestic dune and mountain views.
The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert
Experience the beauty of the UAE desert at the Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah Resort, set within the Al Wadi Nature Reserve. Just north of Dubai in the Al Wadi Desert, The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah invites guests to connect with nature and culture amid the beauty of a 1,235-acre protected preserve. Similar to Al Maha and Al Wathba, the resort’s ‘Experience Concierge’ can arrange a desert trek on camel- or horseback, a private archery lesson or an evening of stargazing. The luxury villas are inspired by Bedouin architecture and feature private outdoor pools and breathtaking desert views. Staying at this resort is an unforgettable experience and to top it all, The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah can create an itinerary that speaks to your interests and curiosities.
Shangri-La’s Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa
This resort is technically located along the Oman coast so not exactly in the desert. However, the desert and rugged landscape is never far off in Oman. Overlooking 500-metres of stunning coastline, Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa is spread across 2 distinct wings that are connected in their Arabian spirit of hospitality: Al Waha, “The Oasis” and Al Bandar which means“The Town.” While Al Waha is ideal for families, Al Bandar is the heart of the resort, catering to business and leisure travelers alike. A wide array of amenities makes for an unforgettable stay, from thrilling watersports to a lazy river and kids club, a secluded spa and diverse dining options. The hotel features a total of 460 richly furnished guest rooms and sumptuous suites reflecting quintessential Arabian style. Many of the rooms showcase extraordinary views of the azure Sea of Oman!
Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort
A bit further inland, about a two hour’s drive from Muscat, lies Anantara Al Jabal al Akhdar Resort. It is one of the highest located luxury resorts in the world. Here you can escape to cooler climates. Located on the fabled Green Mountain, elevated luxury reveals dramatic canyon views at Al Jabal al Akhdar. Here you can truly feel on top of the world! Needless to say, spa and hammam facilities are available at this Oman resort. Stargaze from the viewing platform where Princess Diana once stood or traverse the surrounding desert in search of adventure. Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort offers Omani splendor in the most breathtaking of natural settings. All rooms look out onto the dramatic canyon, from their spacious balconies.