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Playing to Abu Dhabi's natural strengths, the Qasr al Sarab is situated deep in the dunes of the fabled Empty Quarter, the largest sand sea in the world.
And make no mistake, this isn't the scrubby, scrappy desert that some of Abu Dhabi's neighbours major in, rather somewhere where sand dunes rise majestically hundreds of feet into the air. It's a pretty spectacular setting, and as a result, the hotel's 206 rooms all have beautiful views over the dunes.
Facilities at the resort include a huge freeform infinity pool overlooking a valley and wadi complete with Arabian oryx. Needless to say, the Qasr al Sarab is a fabulous destination for children, who have their own areas of the huge pool, and also a well run Kids' Club catering to children of all ages. Grown ups can enjoy spa treatments at the Anantara spa, yoga sessions, cooking classes and tennis on floodlit courts.
But it's away from the hotel is where the fun really begins, as guests get to explore the desert and learn about various skills developed by the ancient desert inhabitants, such as archery and falconry. The hotel can arrange desert walks and mountain bike tours as well as camel trekking and dune bashing in 4x4s. Something for children of all ages, basically.
Once you've built an appetite with all that exertion, the resort has various restaurants: Suhail (named after a star the Bedouins used to navigate through the desert) serving international cuisine with the emphasis on French flavours; Al Waha serving Middle Eastern cuisine, and Al Ghadeer, which specialises in lighter meals and Mediterranean flavours. Elsewhere, the Al Liwan lobby lounge is the place to enjoy mint tea, strong Arabic coffee, pastries and dates.
Why we love it
Travel writer Wilfred Thesiger chronicled the harsh existence of the desert Bedouins in this region, the fabled Empty Quarter, but latter day guests can count on far more luxurious accommodation at the Qasr al Sarab resort than that enjoyed by Thesiger on his travels.
Eleanor, Original Traveller