We decided to book a weekday stay prior to the Eid hols at The Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa. The name is derived from the Arabic term meaning ’gateway to the sun’. This property is perfect for people who don’t want a long drive, but at the same time it gives the impression that you are much further away from the city than you actually are, meaning that there is much more time to relax.
On arrival, we were met with a genuinely warm welcome and a cool refreshing towel which was a welcome touch, considering the high temperatures in Dubai at this time of the year. We booked their ‘Great Escape’ package which included a 50% payback voucher (used this for dining at Al Hadheera). We were also upgraded to a terrace room (from a deluxe room category) which was a bonus! I loved the artifacts all around the reception area so couldn’t resist capturing them all!
The resort modelled on a traditional Arabic Fort is well designed, creating a sense of space and openness. Sand coloured buildings, serene water features, blooming flower-beds, and palm trees create a natural, unassuming sense of luxury.
This natural yet opulent vibe continued into our spacious and elegantly designed bedroom. Beautiful dark wood furniture creates a cosiness and sense of history, but the room had all amenities: there was excellent wifi, a mini bar, nespresso machine, large flat screen TV and, in the well sized bathroom, a plethora of fab goodies (including bath salts, mud soap and all!)
After a quick nap we decided to take a stroll around this luxurious property. The resort has around three pools, including the infinity pool, which spills over as you look out onto the uninterrupted views of the desert landscape. Additional facilities include a children’s pool, a fully equipped gymnasium, a Jacuzzi and a Spa (unfortunately did not get a chance to book the spa this time around, so most definitely next time!)
Appetite piqued, we headed to dinner, wandering along walkways lined with scores of traditional lanterns that light up as the sun goes down. You also have the option of taking a golf buggy though the restaurant is only a 5 min walk from the main entrance. When it comes to food, Bab Al Shams is perhaps most well known for Al Hadeerah.
We were shown to our table, which was placed close to the main stage where the evening’s entertainment takes place. Our waiter began serving us lots of delicious Arabic starters including salads, pickles, spicy hummus (my favorite), babaganoush and flat breads for dipping. After whetting our appetites, we headed to the live cooking stations where we were spoilt for choice with kebabs, seafood, rice dishes and so on. There is no mistaking the mouth-watering aroma of Arabic cuisine as it drifts from the live cooking stations, wood-fired ovens and spit roasts.
The large scale Arabic buffet restaurant also features live shows such as falconry, tanoura dancing which goes on for a good 15 minutes. We met the dancer after the event and he told us he was from Egypt and has been practising this art since he was 3 years old! Everyone was left mesmerised with the way he handled the props and then incorporated the “light” segment! Absolutely magnificient! We also enjoyed the turkish tea served in style, henna, museum, camel and horse show, camel rides, a small museum, henna painting etc… Carpets made up for the walk way leading to the dining area with little pop-up stores selling local souvenirs, spices and all…
I thought I might struggle to find room for breakfast after our delicious buffet dinner the previous night but the sheer range of choice on display at Al Forsan restaurant couldn’t be avoided. There was a wide variety of breads, cakes and pastries including a vivid rainbow bread for a particularly bright start to the morning, fresh and dried fruits, yoghurt and cereals and the largest display of breakfast spreads! Cheeses, cold meats, smoked salmon and salads are also on offer alongside an omelette bar and a full range of cooked breakfast items.
Rising elegantly from the vast desert, this resort is definitely a must-visit!!