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Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa

Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa

Combining traditional Emirati elegance and modern opulence, Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa provides an oasis of indulgence in the heart of the protected Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, located just a 45-minute drive from the city. The 42 spacious Bedouin-style villas all come with a pool for your personal use as well as a private concierge and a private field guide to lead your twice-daily adventures. You might go on a walk through the desert, ride a horse or a camel, try your hand at falconry or take a wildlife drive to see the once-rare Arabian oryx — previously thought extinct, the oryx is now plentiful in the reserve.

Inside the villas, you’ll find elegant hand-made furniture and small touches that recall traditional desert style, like lattice work on the windows and hand-loomed textiles that might be a gift from the royal family. The villas are thoughtfully spaced out so that even when they are all full, the resort feels remote and uncrowded.

All meals are eaten in the resort’s Al Diwaan restaurant, which features an organic menu that blends local and international dishes.

Our rating: First Class

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Rooms

The 42 Bedouin-style villas are spacious and decorated with handcrafted furnishings and traditional fabrics. Each one has a private temperature-controlled pool and its own concierge as well as a private field guide for exploring the desert. Some villas offer seclusion, tucked in among the flourishing trees, while others provide sweeping views of the surrounding dunes. Inside, you’ll find all the modern amenities including a flatscreen TV, Wi-Fi and air conditioning as well as thoughtful touches such as binoculars for wildlife spotting.

Location

The resort is location a 45-60-minute drive inland from Dubai’s bustling city hub, set within a natural oasis in the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve. Many of the villas are hidden in the shade of the many trees and bushes and you will likely see the Arabian oryx roaming free around the resort. The reserve’s team work hard to reduce the effect of human life on the delicate ecosystem.

Food and drink

The resort’s main restaurant, Al Diwaan, serves meals and light bites from breakfast until evening. The menu features organic food that blends both local and Western cuisine. You can also enjoy private meals in your room, on your personal deck or among the dunes. Watch the sunset with an evening cocktail on the Hajar Terrace bar, where you’ll have panoramic views across the reserve. Please note that smart casual clothing is required for dinner — no jeans or sandals allowed.

Families

Please note, children under 11 years are not allowed at the hotel.

Facilities and activities

Two daily activities are included as part of your stay at the Al Maha, offering a chance to explore different facets of the Bedouin way of life. Each villa has its own private concierge as well as a private field guide for exploring the desert.  Both sit with you upon your arrival to discuss your preferences, from what food you’d like to eat to what sorts of things you’d like to see and do. Options include desert walks, horse and camel rides, falconry lessons, wildlife drives and sundowners in the desert. Over 120 different species of birds visit the resort at different times of year and binoculars are provided in the rooms.

There is also a state-of-the-art gym and a spa with four treatment rooms and an outdoor pool, where you can enjoy holistic treatments that reflect the local culture.

Our opinion

We love this luxurious resort for its combination of seclusion and style as well as its location just outside of Dubai’s city hub and its exceptional range of desert activities.

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