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Explore the striking desert dune landscapes of Abu Dhabi’s ‘Empty Quarter’ before heading to the beautiful Indian Ocean scenery of Seychelles for a week at the beach.

3 nights Rub’al Khali Desert, including breakfast; 7 nights Constance Ephelia Resort, including half board. Includes flights and transfers.

12 days from £3,246pp

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Audley Travel specialist Ludo

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calling one of our Seychelles specialists on 01993 838 250

On the beach - 8 days

Constance Ephelia Resort

Set across a peninsula with two of Mahé’s most beautiful beaches and overlooking a marine park, Constance Ephélia offers such a variety of swimming, dining and activity options you'll be hard pressed to make time to go out and explore the island.

Set on a broad headland blanketed in lush vegetation that slopes gently down to the sea, this expansive resort has rooms and villas well spaced across the hillsides and the two beaches giving guests plenty of space to relax. You can alternate between beaches, explore the mangrove forest or try your hand at anything from rock climbing and zip lining to squash and tennis. Choose to unwind in the superb spa, celebrate with live music and entertainment or enjoy the complimentary water sports equipment and go snorkelling, windsurfing or kayaking. There's a popular kids' club and play area, an on-site dive centre and with five restaurants and four swimming pools, couples and families are equally well catered for. This astounding array of activities and facilities, combined with sleek and stylish decor ensures a stay at the Constance Ephélia goes well beyond the standard resort experience.

The resort has 268 suites and villas some with private pools and butler service. All feature smart, contemporary styling and plenty of high-tech gadgetry.

Before the beach - 4 days

Rub’al Khali Desert, Abu Dhabi

Rub’al Khali, or the ‘Empty Quarter’ is one of the largest sand deserts in the world and its endless vistas of striking red sand dunes are a great complement to a beach holiday enjoying the dazzling blues of the Indian Ocean. There are many ways to discover and explore the nature, culture and history of this fascinating region from serene night walks under the stars and visits to a historic oasis to exhilarating dune bashing excursions.

Anantara Qasr al Sarab offers comfortable luxury in a beautifully secluded desert location. Set in amongst the sand dunes, the resort offers a wide range of the typical facilities and amenities you would expect of a resort at this level as well as many optional excursions and activities to help you discover more of the desert setting. Accommodation options range from desert view rooms to suites and pool villas.

Constance Ephelia Resort

268 rooms, 5 restaurants, 4 pools

Description

In a prime position overlooking the national marine park of Port Launay, Constance Ephelia enjoys exceptional views and sits within 120 hectares of lush vegetation with two of the island’s best beaches at its feet.

The range of facilities is superb with 5 pools and a choice of complimentary non motorised watersports including windsurfing, kayaking and catamarans. On land there are tennis and squash courts, a gym and even zip lining or rock climbing facilities. Or you may like to simply explore some of the forest trails on foot or by bike. Food is a focus at the resort and there are 5 restaurants and 5 bars offering a variety of cuisine and styles. Sample Mediterranean tapas and mezze, enjoy a ‘feet in the sand’ experience while dining on Asian cuisine or let the sommelier guide you through the house cellar choices at Cyann.

Rooms are located on both the north and south side of the peninsula on which the resort is set. Both sides have a beautiful beach and each has their own dining options and facilities with a golf buggy service or bikes to get between the two. Choose from spacious garden rooms, large open plan suites or expansive villas with private pool.

For families

Families are welcomed at Ephelia, and it is a very family-friendly resort. There is a kid's club for 4 to 12-year-olds that is open from 9am until 10pm. The mini club has a games room and dining room, and organises both indoor and outdoor activities, as well as excursions.

Babysitting can be arranged on request, at an extra cost, payable locally. There is also a park area with swings and slides close to the North Beach.

Our opinion

It’s hard to find a similar range of facilities at many other Seychelles resorts and when you couple that with amazing beaches and fantastic snorkelling, it’s not hard to see why this resort proves so popular with Audley clients.

Rooms

The resort has 267 rooms, suites and villas with all the facilities you would expect including air-conditioning, ceiling fans, telephone, mini-bar, safe, television, CD and DVD players, iPod connection, WIFI and even a pillow menu.

Tropical Garden Room

Set in the gardens, these 48m2 rooms have a simple décor, balcony and bathroom with shower only.

Junior Suite

The Junior Suites have an upgraded décor to the Tropical Garden Rooms and are a more spacious 62m2 with terrace. They are situated on the south side of the resort.

Senior Suite

The large Senior Suites offer 80m2 of space set over two floors. Each suite faces the sea, although they do not all have uninterrupted sea views, and each has a spacious outdoor terrace. They are situated on the north side of the resort.

Family Villa (2 Bedrooms)

The Two Bedroom Family Villas offer spacious and luxurious accommodation for a group of adults or a large family. They have a pool and outdoor dining area in a courtyard and are a great option for a family holiday on the Seychelles.

Beach Villa (1 Bedroom)

For those that want to really splash out on something luxurious then the Beach Villas offer the ultimate beachside accommodation. Situated on North Beach they are stylish and spacious with a private pool and a private butler on hand to ensure you have everything you need. The One Bedroom Villas offer 240m2 of space.

Spa Villa

There are ten large, 330m2 Spa Villas which are suited to those looking for some serious pampering. Each sleeps a maximum of two and has a private pool. The bathroom has both a bathroom area and also treatment area. So if you don't feel like wandering down to the spa it will come to you.

Family Villa (3 Bedrooms)

The luxurious Three Bedroom Family Villas are an ideal option for large families or a group of adults. They are very spacious, with three bedrooms, a pool and outdoor dining area in a private courtyard.

Beach Villa (2 Bedrooms)

The large and luxurious 2 bedroom Beach Villas are a spacious 370m2 and a great choice for families or groups of adults. Set on the northern side of the island they are the closest accommodation to the beach. Each as a private a private pool and a private butler as well as a dining pavilion.

Hillside Villa (1 Bedroom)

Overlooking the Port Launay Marine Park, the 120m2 Hillside Villas have their own pool and have been built around the granitic rocks with views down to the ocean. These villas are tucked away and private, ideal for those looking to hide away in luxurious surroundings.

Hillside Villa (2 Bedrooms)

These 220m2 2 bedroom villas are set on the granite rocks of the hillside and look down over Port Launay Marine Park. With their own pool, a private setting and beautiful views, these are an ideal luxurious hideaway.

Pictures of the rooms

Activities, diving & excursions

The resort has an excellent range of facilities.

There are several swimming pools, some located in the main South Beach area, as well as in front of the suites, so there is plenty of space.

Non-motorised watersports such as pedalos, catamarans, windsurfing and kayaks, are included in the cost of your stay and there is a fully equipped gym, tennis court and a squash court.

There is a small reserve with giant tortoises, which are fed daily at 4pm, while for those seeking adventure, there are zip-lining and rock climbing activities available in the forest. There are also forest walking trails to explore either on foot or by bike.

All daily activities are listed on your in-room entertainment system and we recommend booking in advance.

There is a PADI-certified dive centre at the resort, and courses can be arranged on request.

Food & drink

There are five restaurants and six bars at Ephelia, offering a wide range of choice and variety for guests. Unlike many other properties, guests staying on half-board here are free to eat dinner at whichever restaurant they choose. Please note, however, there is a supplement to pay at Cyann fine dining restaurant.

Three of the restaurants are set along the south beach.

Helios serves casual lunches of Mediterranean dishes with a large wood-burning oven.

Adam & Eve is a Chinese restaurant with an open kitchen offering a selection of noodles, rice dishes and Dim Sum.

On the north beach, the fine dining option, Cyann, has beautiful views over the Port Launay marine park while Seselwa offers à la carte dishes, many of which are Creole, and fresh seafood grilled in front of guests.

Each restaurant except for Corossol has a bar area and, in addition, there is the Kabana Bar on the north beach which serves drinks and snacks during the day as well as the main Zee Bar located close to Corossol which has an evening happy hour with either a band or a DJ providing the music.

Spa Facilities

The wonderful spa village is set in tropical gardens with 18 treatment rooms, a sauna, thermal pool and yoga pavilion.

Rub’al Khali Desert, Abu Dhabi

Location: Rub’al Khali Desert

Rub’al Khali, or the ‘Empty Quarter’ is the largest uninterrupted sand mass in the world covering an area roughly equivalent to France, Germany and Spain combined. The area is renowned for its dramatic scenery of sand dunes, some rising over 250 m (820 ft) in height. The stunning landscape of this fascinating area is constantly changing with sand dunes moving at an incredible rate, blown by the wind.

Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara

Accommodation: Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara

The Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort is located around a 1 hour 30 minute drive from Abu Dhabi, right in the heart of the Liwa Desert, which is one of the largest stretches of sand deserts in the world. The hotel really does offer something completely different; as you drive along the desert, it looms up out of the sand like an Arabian mirage. The property is aesthetically pleasing and built to admire the views of the sand dunes stretching across the miles of desert.

There are over 200 king or twin rooms and private villas, all decorated in an Arabian style with earthy tones, chandeliers and Middle Eastern fabrics. They offer either a terrace or balcony, as well as en suite bathrooms with bathtubs and rain showers. Further amenities include coffee machines and complimentary Wi-Fi access.

In terms of communal facilities, there's a Middle Eastern inspired spa and a free-form swimming pool, a fitness centre, three tennis courts and a kids club. Guests can choose to dine in the Middle Eastern restaurant on site, or in the property's steak house.

A variety of desert activities can be experienced from here, such as sand dune walking, dune bashing, desert sailing and archery.

Itinerary

Day by day

Day 1

Board your flight to Abu Dhabi. On arrival you are met by our representative and taken by private vehicle to Anantara Qasr Al Sarab in the desert, a journey that takes about one and a half to two hours.

The luxurious Anantara resort has a stunning and secluded location in the Rub'al Khali Desert.

Day 2

Today you are at leisure to do as you wish. The resort has a great range of complimentary facilities and amenities including a large pool and a spa. However, the real highlight is the range of optional excursions and activities for experiencing the desert. Why not start with a guided desert walk learning more about the culture and nature of the area?

Day 3

Another day at leisure. Four wheel drive safaris into the desert are available as are exciting dune bashing excursions. Alternatively discover some of the ancient sports of the area such as falconry and archery.

Day 4

You will be transferred back to the airport today by private vehicle in time for the four hour 40 minute flight to the Seychelles.

On arrival, you will be met by our representative and transferred by private vehicle to Constance Ephelia. This stylish resort offers a wealth of activities to keep you busy over the next week although with two of the island's best beaches on your doorstep, if you wish to simply relax, you're also in luck here.

Day 5

Your first full day at the resort and you might like to make the most of the excellent snorkelling opportunities off the beach. Or explore one of the forest trails running through the national park on foot or by bike. If you're looking for a little more excitement there's rock climbing and zip lining at the resort as well as a wide variety of watersports.

Day 6

If you'd like to get out and explore, a boat trip out to some of the other islands is a great way to spend the day while you're in the Seychelles. Or perhaps you'd prefer to head over to Victoria, the capital city.

Days 7 - 10

At leisure.

Day 11

Today you will be collected from your hotel for the private road transfer back to the airport in time for your overnight flight home.

Day 12

Arrive home.

Start planning your trip with Audley


Tailoring your trip

This itinerary is designed to give you a flavour of what is possible.

  • We can tailor this trip to suit your specific requirements

  • Any aspect of the itinerary can be altered, from excursions to accommodation

How to book

Contact a Hidden Beach specialist

Whether you wish to plan your trip around this itinerary idea or you have other ideas, please do get in touch by phone or online. If using our online form, a destination specialist will contact you by phone to discuss your requirements.

Discuss your requirements

Our destination specialists have the first hand knowledge required to put your plans into action. They can answer your questions, offer suggestions and advice to suit your tastes and budget.

Refine your itinerary

Your specialist will carefully design your trip, creating a detailed itinerary which will be sent to you. Your specialist will answer any further questions you have and refine it until you are completely happy.

Confirm your trip

Once you are satisfied with all the arrangements, we ask you to complete a booking form and pay a deposit of 15% of the total cost of your trip.

Stay in touch

Even after booking, you'll undoubtedly think of more questions. Feel free to call your specialist at any time. The same specialist will handle your trip from start to finish.

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