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Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa

Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa

Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa

Dubai, Asharq Al-Awsat- In the heart of Dubai’s desert, 45 minutes away from Dubai International Airport, lies al Maha Desert Resort & Spa, a gateway for all those who seek comfort, relaxation and an excellent standard of service.

Away from bustling city-life and after the journey to the al Maha Desert Resort along the desert path, visitors are received by graceful Arabian Oryx that stroll around the entrance of the resort.

Tucked away from the fast-pace cosmopolitan city of Dubai, the only indication of the outside world is the cars that bring guests to the resort. The culturally diverse staff is available on arrival to serve their guests with cool drinks in the frankincense-scented reception from which there is picturesque view of the desert. Access to the personal suites is through electric-powered buggies due to the nature of the resort.

Renowned architect, Rashid Taqui, has added a romantic feel to the resort, making it a perfect location for newly-weds and couples celebrating an anniversary. The suites are in the form of a tent from the outside, and within, the ceiling gives the impression that one is in a real tent. The lights are dim and the Arab-style furnishings are inspired by genuine Bedouin life. The suites come with king-sized bathrooms and attention to detail is astounding from the hand-made furniture to the Bvlgari amenities.

A step outside of the suite, guests will find their own exclusive swimming pool, the temperature for which can be adjusted by a member of staff. The staff-to-guest ratio is 3:1.

My early morning wake-up call consisted of the sounds of birds and outside the terrace, a herd of Arabian Oryx gathered. The resort has environment protection standards in place and the area around it is a safe haven for many animals, birds and endangered plants.

The professional staff is hospitable and one feels at ease as senior and junior staff members call you by your first name and explain the available activities, such as horse-riding in the desert (at 5.30am to avoid the midday sun).

At 7.30am, a desert pursuit begins in four-wheel drives with an experienced team where one can enjoy the scenic dunes. In addition, there are other activities such as falconry, walking or archery.

In the evening, as the weather cools, one can enjoy camel treks with another group of guests for two hours. These elegant camels take their guests to the best spot to enjoy the sunset as they sip natural juice and eat fresh fruits served by Namibian and South African guides who are experienced in the field of wildlife.

It is highly-recommended that guests, especially couples, experience a “dune dinner”, whereby staff will take you and your partner to a stunning location to enjoy a traditional Arabic dinner. Dishes are chosen beforehand and couples are left alone under the glow of bright stars to enjoy the cuisine.

The Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa is amongst the world’s leading resorts. As well as a private pool, guests can enjoy various treatments at the Timeless Spa, which uses products made from dates and frankincense. A range of facials, a full-body massage, or an Indian head massage is just a sample of what is available. I was fortunate enough to experience the 90-minute Timeless Signature Body Treatment which involved the feet and hands being immersed in soothing wax.

The spa features a marvelous hall inspired by the overall décor of the resort. After experiencing one of the treatments, guests can swim in the outside pool that should be used in the late afternoon when the water is warmer and the intensity of the sun is much lower. An open buffet that serves healthy food is also available. Moreover, there is an indoor Jacuzzi that overlooks the stunning desert landscape.

Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa radiates comfort and luxury. It is characterized by its serene ambiance and high-quality service. The general-manager of the resort informed me that the resort depends on word-of-mouth for marketing rather than elaborate local and international advertising campaigns. He added that Europeans, especially German, British and Italian visitors return frequently to the resort, followed by the Arabs. Many citizens from the United Arab Emirates visit the resort in their private vehicles to enjoy some of the activities and to relax away from their homes and the pressures of everyday life. Children below 12 years of age are not allowed access to the resort.

On return to the suite, it is not unusual to find an Arabian Oryx standing outside the door. It is a peaceful animal, however, guides warn against getting too close to the Oryx to take pictures or approaching a female Oryx with her calves.

The al Maha adventure begins at the moment you arrive. The star-filled night sky, the antique lamps, the buggy that drives you to your suite, the female members of staff with their traditional Arab clothing, the small wooden door at reception, the aroma of frankincense, the beaming smiles of the staff and the surrounding natural environment together make al Maha Resort & Spa the unique and exhilarating experience that it is.

For reservations, visit: www.al-maha.com