When I was told by my daughter who spends time in Dubai, that for two nights we would be in the desert, I mused, thinking I’d be in a tent.
Okay, I thought rationally, I could do 48 hours in the sand and whatever ants and animals were around. However, after passing great sculptured-like sand dunes of golden and red sands with tuffs of wild grass here and there, off the well paved four lane highway, and a 2 1/2 hour drive from Dubai, my adventurous spirit, often well hidden, come out.
From a distance, Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort, it look liked a beachside playground for kiddies who had skilfully built sand castles.
But there was no sea to wash this fickle edifices away when the tide came in. However, the nearer we got, the more majestic and magical this property appeared.
The 206 room five star resort with luxury suites and villas was beyond anything I could have imagined. Here, on the Liwa Desert (also known as as the Empty Quarter), we passed over a bridge filled instead of water beneath, was sand. The entrance wirh Moorish styled lanterns filled archways was where we were greeted by a staff member who served us a refreshing yogurt drink and wonderful, thick, fresh dates.
Asked to wait in the all white bar was certainly not an inconvenience. The check-in was civilized and fast. and we were shown to our room where our luggage awaited us.
The following days, that longed for pampered and stress-free feeling was omnipresent after days in bustling Dubai. This hotel also had a beautifully designed spa although that said, the facial, about $200, just wasn’t up to snuff as I needed to ask for the deep cleansing. This was the only misstep in this entire experience…not bad.
Our spacious suite overlooked a garden and pool, and since there are no guest rooms in the main building, there are 25 buggies that, with only a click of the zero on the phone, these wondrous machines were outside awaiting to take us anywhere on this vast property. But within hours, I discovered an arch filled tunnel which lead us, in just a few minutes, to the main building.
Everything was well thought out and easy, just what a guest wants at a unique destination
Archery, one of the main sports in the Emirates (there are 7 in the UAE) is one of the popular activities as is falconry. That said, it is the early morning desert walk that was the perfect way to feel, touch, and sense the sand. There was a degree of difficulty navigating the fine sand which looks so deceptively easy.
And surprisingly was the great the variety of flowers and the sounds of the birds, a cookoo clock of sorts, had us on our feet by 6.30AM. I’m no Lawrence of Arabia, but I could see the attachment one could develope as I watched the color of the sand with its shadows go to various golden hues and aware of the constant movement of the dunes during the night and day.
The difficulty was leaving the room and our terrace. I was smitten with our suite, The Garden Suite, which had all the earmarks of an Arabian room but modernity came in the form of an espresso machine and good coffee wi fi, a great oval tub, a wide counter with double sinks and enough room for toiletries and cosmetics a separate shower and gratefully a lime stone, not slippery marble flooring.
(I’ve experienced wet marble bathroom floors when I slipped and fell, banging my head into unconsciousness in a sleek, chic, newly renovated Italian hotel’s bathroom). The supply of towels, were rolled for displaying the touch of visual interest and here just seemed like a natural instinct.
Beamed and tatami decorated ceiling, a Moorish-styled alcove for the head board, the wonderful Moroccan styled chandelier which threw great designs when turned on in the evening and created wild designs.
As for the food, from the enormous choice at the breakfast buffet which we always had el-fresco to our choice of Arabic meals at lunch and evening, we were delighted that we could go ‘native’ . In fact, one evening the chef, knowing our preferences created a surprise and delicious Middle East meal. Nothing seemed too much at Qasr El Sarab.
And suddenly it was late, and as if by some movie magic, every evening there was a marvelous picture perfect sun set. In this oasis, I felt content and yearned to return to my villa in the desert..some tent !!!!!