Massive reddish-orange dunes dominate the stunning landscape of Rub’ al Khali or the Empty Quarter. Nestled within these majestic dunes is a fortress-like palace called Qasr Al Sarab; an oasis of luxury in the midst of tranquillity. Welcoming guests since 2009, this Anantara Desert Resort is located just 90 minutes from the hustle and bustle of Abu Dhabi but feels like it is a million miles from anywhere.
Each of the 206 elegant rooms, suites and villas at the Resort offer picturesque desert views. With earthy hues, the interiors are inspired by the simple grandeur of an old desert fortress and feature locally hand-crafted furnishings, rich carpets, embroidered fabrics and bronze chandeliers.
The Royal Pavilion Pool Villas are the resort’s crown jewels. They are the epitome of bespoke luxury and are ideal venues for special occasions, whether an intimate celebration, luxury family getaways or small weddings.
The ten villas are self-contained with a private pool, outdoor rainforest shower, sunbathing cabana, dining terrace and lawn area. Additionally, the main Pavilion offers a private restaurant, gym, lounge, spa and a terrace overlooking the desert sanctuary. Guests staying at the villas can choose to arrive in a private limousine or by helicopter.
Being set in the middle of a vast desert offers a unique range of activities and adventures catering to varying tastes and abilities, from individuals to families. Guests can choose to go on a guided sunrise or sunset camel trek or horseriding adventure through the enchanting desert. A guided desert walk is a great way to enjoy the outdoors while learning about the local history, culture, flora and fauna during sunrise, sunset, or a moonlit night.
The resort is the first and only resort in the UAE to offer dune biking. A slightly toned-down option is a dune bashing drive over some of the most imposing dunes on specially adapted 4X4 vehicles. Guests can take a four to five-hour tour of the Liwa Oasis to discover the historic Liwa Fort, a local oasis camel farm and the Salt Lake. Guests can witness a demonstration of the hunting techniques of the indigenous falcon and the Saluki breed of hunting dogs. Guests can also unwind through dawn and sunset desert yoga classes.
The Anantara Spa invites guests to lose themselves in Arabian pampering. The five lavish treatment rooms draw inspiration from local Arabic traditions and colours. It offers a variety of luxury facilities, such as a Moroccan Hammam with marble beds, Jacuzzi steam rooms with water fountains and an invigorating ice room.
The spa’s signature “Desert Fusion Massage” blends local ingredients to form the essence of an all-over body treatment. Therapeutic heat and medicinal desert wonders offer exotic deep healing. Guests can relax as smooth hot stones and a heated Rub Al Khali sand poultice are massaged, rolled and pressed over the entire body, using sweet almond oil. Special massage techniques lift away stress and fatigue, while heated minerals release muscle tension and offer powerful detoxifying benefits.
To appease the gastronomic cravings, Qasr Al Sarab offers an extensive menu of beverages in both fine-dining venues and intimate cafes. At Suhail is the upscale grill and lounge located on the rooftop where guests can relax to the stunning views of the surrounding desert. International and Middle Eastern delights are offered at Al Waha’s breakfast and dinner buffet. The poolside Ghadeer offers Mediterranean-inspired casual dining. To celebrate a special occasion in the seclusion of the dunes, the resort offers Dining by Design.