Looking for a quick escape from the hustle and bustle of Abu Dhabi city life? The desert is calling.
Here in Abu Dhabi, we’re fortunate enough to be surrounded by some of the world’s most breath-taking natural wonders and luckily, nature and luxury go hand-in-hand on this side of the world, creating the ultimate staycation option in the form of an upscale desert retreat.
Take a break from the skyscrapers and head out into the dunes for a glamourous change of scenery - only this time, it’ll be minus the long drives as Abu Dhabi and Al Ain are home to some of the most beautiful desert hotels in the UAE.
Spend your days indulging in alfresco spa treatments and your nights swimming under the stars on a weekend trip with the family or a romantic getaway for two with a little help from our specially curated guide to the best desert hotels in the capital…
Anantara Qasr Al Sarab, Abu Dhabi
As one of Abu Dhabi’s most impressive hotels, expect to indulge in all the finer things of the desert at Anantara Qasr Al Sarab. Tucked between stunning orange dunes, the resort was voted the most-insatgrammable hotel in the world in 2019 due to its traditional Arabian charm and luxury offerings. The secluded hotel is made up of 140 rooms, 14 suites and 52 pool villas and also offers a Royal Pavilion out in the desert (each with a private pool) for those looking for an extra special stay.
Prices vary. Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara, The Empty Quarter, www.anantara.com/en/qasr-al-sarab-abu-dhabi.
Jumeirah Al Wathba, Abu Dhabi
Set on the edge of metropolitan Abu Dhabi, Jumeirah Al Wathba is where luxury meets relaxation. The hotel’s designs are heavily inspired by Emirati and Bedouin culture and it boasts around 100 rooms and sites. When you’re not making the most of the spa or indulging in a desert dining experience, there are plenty of things to do – from falcon shows and horse riding lessons to camel race track tours. There’s never a dull moment.
Prices vary. Jumeirah Al Wathba Desert Resort & Spa, Al Wathba District, Abu Dhabi www.jumeirah.com/en/hotels-resorts/abu-dhabi/jumeirah-al-wathba-desert-resort-spa (02 204 4444)
Telal Resort, Al Ain
Situated in the outskirts of Al Ain, this five-star resort in Remah Desert is decked in traditional Arabian designs. You’ll even find desert gazelles roaming around the place as well as beautiful backdrops of the desert that was once home to the nomadic Bedouin tribes of the Emirates. In terms of accommodation, the resort has everything from deluxe double bedrooms to three bedroom palatial villas.
Prices vary. Telal Resort Al Ain, Al Ain, www.telalresort.ae (03 702 0000).
Tilal Liwa Hotel
This hotel is located on the edge of the Rub Al Khali (also known as The Empty Quarter) which is the largest uninterrupted sand desert in the world. It adheres to traditional Arabian design and interiors and boasts 111 rooms and suites as well as having a host of desert activities on offer. We’re talking camel riding, quad biking, sand boarding and dune bashing as well as cosy bonfire nights under the stars.
Prices vary. Tilal Liwa Hotel, Madinat Zayed, Zayed City, Abu Dhabi www.danathotels.com/zayedcity/tilalliwahotel (02 894 6111)