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Al Maha Desert Resort 5.0

Dubai, Emirate of Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Secluded location in the middle of the desert 
  • Beautiful suites with private infinity pools and handcrafted furniture
  • Free access to an upscale spa offering beauty and relaxation treatments
  • Fine, organic dining at Al Diwaan, plus cocktails al fresco
  • Heated infinity pool with striking desert views
  • Bright fitness center with resort and oasis views
  • Kids under 10 are not allowed (a con for some!)
  • Two free desert activities per day
  • Free basic Wi-Fi and daily breakfast
  • Wildlife and water conservation program

Cons

  • 50-minute drive to downtown Dubai

Bottom Line

With gorgeous Bedouin-style architecture in a desert oasis, Al Maha sets the bar for Dubai luxury. With 42 standalone, intimate suites featuring top-notch amenities and services; a heated infinity pool; an upscale spa; and fine dining on-site, the property is arguably one-of-a-kind. It may not be ideal for those looking to explore the sights in central Dubai, but Al Maha offers a unique experience for couples and families with older children (kids under 10 are not allowed).

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Scene

A unique property tucked away amid dunes and desert bushes

First opened in 1999, Al Maha is still one of Dubai's most luxurious hotels. With a location in the middle of the desert, the property offers a unique experience for well-heeled travelers looking to see a Dubai that feels a world away from the massive skyscrapers and the constant city buzz. Nights are starry and quiet, and onyx and gazelles can be spotted roaming the grounds. The beautiful Bedouin-inspired architecture -- with tent awnings, earth tones, and wood accents -- blends perfectly with the breathtaking desert landscape around it. The main building houses the lobby, a beautiful, bright space with high coffered ceilings, a mix of classic European and local furniture and decor, and ornate Arabian chandeliers. Adjacent are the library, the restaurant, and the cocktail terrace, all featuring a similar decor style. Each suite is housed in a separate structure, with Emirates Suites being in a more secluded part of the resort, and featuring a large private courtyard for added privacy.

The resort, entrusted with the protection of one of the last remaining wells in the area, uses part of the turnover to fund desert conservation projects.

Location

In an oasis a 50-minute drive from downtown Dubai

Al Maha is located in the middle of the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, the Emirates’ first national park. This unique locale -- in a secluded desert spot far from the hustle and bustle of the city -- is great for those looking to experience a different Dubai, but travelers eager to see the main attractions may want to note that the resort is a a 50-minute drive from the city center. There is nothing around the hotel but for gorgeous dunes, gazelles and onyx, which can be seen roaming the grounds. The hotel offers a wide array of desert activities, so guests will have access to more than a pool and a spa during the stay.

Rooms

Beautiful suites with infinity plunge pools and top-notch amenities

The hotel offers 42 suites, all housed in standalone units surrounded by bushes, and completely independent from neighboring rooms. This allows for a rare level of privacy, and an intimate feel hard to come by in a city hotel. Every unit features huge sleeping quarters equipped with super king-size beds, and huge bathrooms with walk-in showers and separate soaking tubs. As with the rest of the resort, suites are built and decorated in an upscale Bedouin-inspired style, with beautiful antiques, lots of wood accents, and haima tent ceilings. All suites feature a huge deck complete with an infinity plunge pool overlooking the desert. Larger suites have a separate living area, bigger pools and decks, one or two extra rooms, and full kitchens.

Features

Free desert activities, an infinity pool with views, a fantastic restaurant, and a spa

The hotel offers a wide array of desert activities -- including horseback riding, wildlife drives, camel trekking, and sunset cocktails at the dunes -- so guests will probably find something to do outside of the resort every day. Two of these activities are offered free of charge to all guests daily. The property also offers free access to an upscale spa complete with a hydrotherapy area and treatment rooms. Al Diwaan is the hotel’s fine dining restaurant, serving organic international cuisine in a large space with coffered ceilings and large windows overlooking the desert. Above the restaurant is the terrace, offering a solid drinks menu, and stunning views. The fitness center is small but clean, well-equipped, and bright, with large windows overlooking the oasis. Although each room has its own private pool, the resort offers a larger one featuring padded loungers, striking desert views, and a shaded area with sofas. Butler service, and free basic Wi-Fi and full breakfast are also available.

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Address

Dubai - Al Ain Rd, Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, Murqquab, Emirate of Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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