A desert oasis in Abu Dhabi, the Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara is an architecturally beautiful and unique hotel that captures the spirit of Arabia.
It’s a tranquil retreat in the Empty Quarter, an elegant resort in the largest uninterrupted sand desert in the world. Arrive and you’ll feel you’re somewhere special straight away – this is a place with an essence all of its own.
Step into your room and find all the amenities and luxury that discerning guests expect from a modern hotel. Whether you opt for a terrace, a balcony or choose a family friendly pool villa, you’ll find that the desert castle design and decor celebrate your surroundings, drawing on Arabic influences.
Brew up a fresh coffee then wander out to explore the gardens and gaze out at the desert. Feeling peckish? Take your pick from a tempting range of restaurants and cafes or ask the concierge to arrange an unforgettable dining experience for you – such as a private barbecue under the stars.
Every comfort has been thought of, and there’s plenty to occupy you too, from basketball and tennis, to desert adventures and stress-busting treatments in the Anantara spa.
Honeymooners who want the romance of the desert, families who love to adventure together and those seeking a unique stay.
The desert setting in the Empty Quarter, the indulgent suites and spa and the gourmet food on offer.
The 206 rooms here range from elegant garden and balcony rooms through to spacious suites and family villas, all the way up to lavishly appointed Royal Pavilion Villas.
Whichever you plump for, you’ll have a flat-screen TV, complimentary Wi-Fi, coffee machine, air conditioning, minibar and more.
Deluxe Garden Rooms have their own private terrace from which you can access the resort’s gardens, while upper floor Deluxe Balcony or Terrace Rooms have their own outdoor seating areas allowing you to marvel at the majestic views.
Anantara Suites offer a private garden terrace, separate sitting rooms, along with pillow and soap menus, plus the oversized tub and separate rain shower that all rooms enjoy.
Choose from one, two and three-bedroomed sized family villas, with their own plunge pool and a dedicated villa host. The Royal Pavilion Villas, meanwhile, are situated outside the resort. These adults-only villas are surrounded by sand, the perfect place to enjoy a bespoke meal cooked by your personal chef.
There are plenty of activities for guests of all ages, with separate clubs for kids and teens at the Qasr Al Sarab Resort by Anantara. The former is for kids aged three to 10, with games, toys and a programme of stimulating activities.
The teens club, for 11 to 18-year-olds, gives older children a space of their own with video games, table tennis, football and billiards tables.
There’s a lot for them to get their teeth into outside as well. You can rent boards and sleds at the Fitness Centre for your kids to use for sandboarding and sledding down the Empty Quarter’s towering dunes.
From October to May, both children and adults will be able to explore part of the Liwa desert on horse. Trainers will assess your experience, and both beginners and intermediate levels are catered for. It’s a unique and independent way to see the desert in a way they’ll never forget.
All food tastes better with a view and at Qasr Al Sarab, dining is a complete experience. With the exotic dunes as the backdrop, meals here are designed to be lingered over.
Open for breakfast and dinner, Al Waha is a smart-casual Middle Eastern and international eatery. Enjoy global breakfast and brunch classics alongside Emirati pancakes and the local unleavened saj bread.
For relaxed all-day dining, spend some time in Al Liwan. Refreshing salads and mezze, hearty pasta dishes and sizzling burgers make up the menu.
Ghadeer is the poolside restaurant that’s ideal for relaxed refreshments during the day, before a romantic dinner and cocktails in the evening. The signature Ghadeer sourdough pizza is not to be missed.
For a sensational fine dining experience, try Suhail, the rooftop steakhouse. You’ll be able to indulge in pan-seared scallops, Dibba Bay oysters and incredible Wagyu beef cooked on the Josper charcoal grill.
If that’s not enough, the resort can arrange desert dining experiences on request – with your own butler serving food on a candlelit carpet.
The ethos at the Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort is one of pure relaxation. The Anantara Spa has a huge menu of treatments and wellness experiences to help you achieve peace or just pamper yourself.
For the perfect treat, the Arabian Desert Rose Ritual lasts four hours and includes a body scrub, mask, milk bath, massage, facial and more. Couples can book treatments together, whether in the hammam or in outdoor spa cabanas, where the desert vistas complement the expert Thai massage. There are plenty of beauty treatments too, including manicures and pedicures.
The fitness centre includes the latest gym equipment, free weights, aerobics classes and expert trainers who can offer guidance and support. Personal trainers can create a unique regime for you, while you can start the day in the perfect way with sunrise yoga sessions. Those who prefer to take it easy in the morning can join in at sunset.
At the Qasr Al Sarab, all of the villas have their own private plunge pools, the perfect way to cool off from the desert heat.
The free-form and spacious outdoor pool is outstanding. Take to the water and you’ll still have views of the billowing sand dunes that surround you before you relax on sun loungers in the shade of palm trees or parasols. It’s open for early risers at 7am and closes at 9pm for those wanting an evening swim to round off their day.
It’s a family friendly area but also one ideal for couples and honeymooners to relax in. Those looking to be a little more active can register to join aqua aerobics classes.
The swim-up pool bar has a range of refreshing salads and snacks, pizzas, burgers and soft drinks, as well as a signature mojito menu.
Nestled in the Empty Quarter, guests can enjoy the serenity and peace of this desert retreat and the hotel can arrange a variety of activities for you too.
With the sun-kissed beauty of the desert all around you, the hotel helps you to make the most of this incredible location.
Organised desert walks will let you discover the Rub’ Al Khali, something that’s particularly enjoyable at night under the moonlight. For something more high-octane, go desert driving in a 4x4. You’ll see indigenous animals and plants on a desert safari, before letting loose on an exciting dune-bashing session.
To see the desert in a different way, those over 14 can take a fat bike into the dunes, with various treks available. The fat bike has been specially designed to cope with the rigours of sand dunes.
Elsewhere in the resort you’ll find the gorgeous pool, tennis courts that are open all day and floodlit at night, and a basketball court perfect for friendly games. Those looking to recapture the flavours they sample during their stay can take an outdoors Emirati cooking class and return home with a new skill.
The resort stands alone in the desert, some 125 miles (200 kilometres) from Abu Dhabi - with its seclusion being part of the hotel's appeal. You can drive there in around two hours to experience the likes of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the delights of Yas Island and the fun of Warner Bros.™ World Abu Dhabi.
Of course, you can choose to stay local to the resort - there are plenty of activities nearby centred around the desert. Gallop through the dunes on a horse or enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go camel trekking. With sunset, sunrise and family treks available, you’ll experience a unique slice of Arabian life.
You can also travel out of the resort to get a real understanding of desert life, with a falcon and saluki show that demonstrates hunting techniques. Or plan a visit with informative guides to local camel farms, a falcon house and Arabian horse stables.
There’s more to the dunes of the desert than just sand. Hop in a 4x4 and discover indigenous flora and fauna in an exhilarating experience. Whether it’s dune bashing or a starlit dinner, all kinds of safari are available.
Horses play a prominent part in Emirati life, with majestic Arabian horses available for you to ride. Whether it’s a gallop along a sun-kissed beach or a trot through the parched, undulating dunes, horse riding in Abu Dhabi is truly unforgettable.
To see a different side of the nation’s abundant nature, travel into Abu Dhabi to explore the tranquillity of Mangrove National Park. Home to unique birds and animals, it’s a gorgeous and vital ecosystem with plenty to see and do.
After touching down at Abu Dhabi International Airport, Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort is 125 miles (200 kilometres) away. If you’re hiring a car at the airport, it’s about a two-hour drive.
Taxis from the airport will be metered, however some drivers will prefer you to pre-book the trip. A comfortable alternative is to arrange a private transfer through Etihad.
Many of the desert-based activities such as dune bashing, falconry exhibitions and camel and horse riding incur a local charge. The resort uses experienced guides to accompany guests and ensure their safety. The hotel also has numerous free and inclusive activities.
Abu Dhabi has sunshine throughout the year, although there are seasonal variations. As a rule, it’s better to dress lightly in the day, with sun hats advisable when out of the shade. However, the temperature can drop at night so it’s better to pack longer dresses and trousers, as well as light jackets.
The hotel and its restaurants operate a smart casual policy. In other words, you can dress down but must also cover up. In eating areas especially, make sure to cover your swimwear. Dress tends to be smarter in the Suhail steakhouse.
Gaze out at the Arabian Gulf from this luxurious resort. There’s blue water everywhere you turn, from luxury pools to the delights of the beach
This five-star resort sits on the edge of the desert in Al Ain, beautifully straddling the divide between urban and Bedouin life.
In close proximity to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and with its own private beach, this hotel is tailor made for a perfect Abu Dhabi experience.