With nods to the region’s Arabian village heritage, this fort-style resort combines traditionally indulgent Emirati hospitality with modern facilities
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City | Desert | Natural world
Enjoying a picturesque desert location, Bab Al Shams is a chance to escape Dubai’s city bustle with a low-rise resort surrounded by rolling dunes and natural desert landscape. It also recalls the region’s heritage with courtyards and walkways host to fountains and shaded areas. The result is a true oasis with plenty of sunset views, best mixed with an obligatory sundowner cocktail. You won’t be surprised to learn that its name, translated from Arabic, is ‘Gateway to the Sun’. It’s also just a 40 minute drive from Dubai’s city centre and its airport meaning you’re never far away from that famed, urban opulence.
Throughout the resort’s 113 well-appointed rooms – spread carefully across 16 clusters of low-rise buildings – guests are treated to the best in rustic Arabic chic. Balconies invite in the view while dark wood furnishings, desert hues and rich fabrics lend the hotel a real sense of place; rain showers, complimentary internet access and satellite TV bring you back into the 21st century. For some added luxury, consider upgrading to either a Terrace Room for desert views or a suite for private sun terrace vistas and living area comforts.
Prime among Bab Al Shams’ dining experiences is the superb Al Hadheerah restaurant. Set some 300m away from the resort, intimately tucked away among the sand dunes, it’s a heritage village recreated from natural stone, rock walls and sunken seating areas. And it’s all animated by belly dancers, henna artists, camel shows and Bedouin horsemen. Of course, authentic Middle Eastern cuisine features heavily; think live grills, spit roasts and wood-fired bread ovens. Back at base, there’s everything from Indian tandoor restaurants and Arabic delicacies to pizzerias and family-friendly buffets.
The resort’s centrepiece is undoubtedly its infinity swimming pool, offering a stunning contrast to the adjacent desert. The swim-up pool bar is a particular highlight. For further relaxation, book into a treatment at the Satori Spa where a range of treatments are available as well as a steam room and sauna that can be privately reserved. If you’re feeling a bit more active, perhaps take a horse or camel caravan ride over the dunes or go a little faster with a 4WD tour out to visit a local gazelle and oryx watchtower. There’s also a well-equipped gym complete with archery centre, table tennis, croquet and putting green. For little ones with even more energy, there’s also a kids club. It’s ideal for when you want to enjoy a quiet drink from one of its rooftop lounge, featuring cigar collections, snacks and even views of the daily falcon show.
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