Explore the striking desert dune landscapes of Abu Dhabi’s ‘Empty Quarter’ before heading to the beautiful Indian Ocean scenery of the Seychelles for a week at the beach.
3 nights Rub’al Khali Desert, including breakfast; 7 nights Constance Ephelia Resort, including half board and excursions. Includes flights and transfers.
12 days from £3,745pp
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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.
This stylish resort has a beautiful location with two of the best beaches on the island as well as a marine park.
It is hard to match the range of facilities and dining choice offered by the hotel anywhere else in the Seychelles. Although it is the largest resort in the region, the extensive grounds, access to two beaches and the number of different dining and leisure options mean you can easily find space to relax away from other people if you wish.
The 267 villas and suites have been beautifully designed with a range to suit all needs from spacious Junior Suites to multi bedroom Family Villas great for families or secluded hillside villas perfect for a luxurious hideaway.
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 among 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
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 five pools and a choice of complimentary non motorised water sports 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 five restaurants and five 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.
Families are welcomed at Ephelia, and it is a very family-friendly resort. There is a kids' 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.
Constance Ephelia is located on two of Mahé’s most beautiful beaches in a secluded location on the northwest tip of Mahé.
The resort overlooks the marine park of Port Launay, rich with turquoise waters and superb snorkelling along the coastline. Two stunning crescent shaped beaches are easily accessed by all guests, one on the northern side of the headland, and one to the south.
It is a 45 minute drive from the international airport, and 30 minutes from the capital Victoria. The resort is set in 1.2 square kilometres of lush vegetation sloping gently up from the sea. In the heart of the property is a mangrove forest which has been carefully preserved due to its importance to the marine ecosystem.
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.
The resort has 267 suites and villas with a stylish design and all the facilities you would expect including air conditioning, ceiling fans, telephone, minibar, safe, television, CD and DVD players, Wi-Fi and even a pillow menu.
Tropical Garden Room
Set in the gardens, these 48 sq m rooms have a simple decor, balcony and bathroom with shower only.
The Junior Suites have an upgraded decor to the Tropical Garden Rooms and are a more spacious 62 sq m with terrace. They are situated on the south side of the resort.
The large Senior Suites offer 80 sq m 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 240 sq m of space.
There are ten large, 330 sq m 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 370 sq m 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 has a private pool and a private butler as well as a dining pavilion.
Hillside Villa (1 Bedroom)
Overlooking the Port Launay Marine Park, the 120 sq m 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 220 sq m 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 water sports 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.
Corossol is the main buffet restaurant with chef stations featuring a range of tasty international cuisine including a grill, pizza oven, and an Asian station with a wok and tandoori oven.
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.
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.
Day by day
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.
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?
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.
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.
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 water sports.
Another day at leisure. You could take this opportunity to visit the nearby islands of La Digue or Praslin.
This morning you will be collected from your hotel and transferred to the jetty to board a catamaran for a sailing trip around the Saint Anne Marine Park. Enjoy the variety of marine life, with plenty of snorkelling stops in the crystal waters and a barbecue lunch on board before returning back to Mahé.
Today you will be collected from your hotel for a private, guided tour of the island. Explore the capital, Victoria, and visit the extensive botanical gardens. You will also enjoy panoramic views from a viewpoint in Morne Seychellois National Park and visit the Takamaka Rum Distillery as well as the adjoining restored plantation house of Plaine St Andre. Your tour also includes a visit to the spice gardens, a local artist's gallery and a stop at a beautiful beach cove for refreshments.
Days 9 - 10
Today you will be collected from your hotel for the private road transfer back to the airport in time for your overnight flight 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.
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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.
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