From the moment you turn off the main highway to Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa, you feel like you are a world away from the hustle and bustle of Dubai.
There are still plenty of attention-seekers looking for photo opportunities however, but at this remote desert eco-enclave, it’s the oryxes and gazelles ambling around who are seeking to strike a pose with you against the backdrop of the russet sands.
Along with animals dotted around the grounds, greetings come from the resort’s team, who are kitted out in safari-style uniforms to remind you that you are in the heart of Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve.
Only 45-minutes away from Dubai, Al Maha seeks to lure city dwellers with not only the promise of a short travel time, but also a generous summer package that includes full access to the Timeless Spa’s facilities. Setting a theme of doing as little as possible during our experience, we’re transported there by buggy.
An incredible head and shoulder massage follows, the mood being set perfectly by a lavender-scented candle designed to aid sleep. Designed with a holistic approach to promote health from the inside to outside, day guests can enjoy one of the spa’s 60-minute treatments for an extra charge.
As part of the summer wellness offer, the all-inclusive desert resort’s Al Diwaan Restaurant serves a three-course lunch. Each dish has a particular health benefit and what’s on offer switches up regularly, but the baseline is to enrich body and mind.
Activities on offer (for an additional cost) include archery and the fitness centre, however if you’re visiting for the day and keen to raise your heart rate for no additional cost, then go for a few laps of the beautifully landscaped outdoor pool.
If you’re lucky enough to extend your day out to a stay over, each of Al Maha’s canvas-draped 42 bungalows can claim exceptional desert views and their own private pool. They all truly deserve the luxury label of the resort, yet keep up an authentic Bedouin feel, with trinkets and drapes reminiscent of a much older Dubai.
Given the choice and unlimited budget, for sure we’d be booking into the Presidential Suite. The most luxurious accommodation in the resort sleeps up to six guests and is available to hire throughout the year – if you can afford the current AED 19,700 asking price, which does include spa treatments and a bottle of bubbly.
Even if you decide to do absolutely nothing but seek happiness, relaxation and the most professional service, Al Maha really does hit the bullseye on all accounts.
Dubai Week was a guest of Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa. Desert Conservation Reserve, Al Ain Road, Dubai. 04 832 9900. al-maha.com
Pool package with lunch AED 340 per person (inclusive of VAT, fees and service charge), payable in cash or by credit card charge at the resort. Package includes entrance fee; full day access to the main pool and spa facilities; three-course lunch from a set menu at Al Diwaan Restaurant. AED 655 with a 60-minute spa treatment.