On initial arrival you must leave your vehicle at the front gate where you are collected by one of the field guides in a 4x4, the journey is then approximately 10mins to the resort where we were greeted and checked in by the friendly staff. The lobby area is not particularly grand but traditional and this is the theme of the entire resort – the traditional Bedouin rugs, pottery, art and iron work adorn the walls of the tent style suites of which there are 40 in total. The suite has its own private plunge pool and sun deck (although due to the tent structure you have to move your sunbeds to the very edge of the deck to actually catch some rays) with dining table and chairs. As with most hotels coffee, tea and water is complimentary but it’s worth noting how much we appreciated the quantity of water provided – I like this since I always seem to find myself asking for more water but there was no need here. The temperature of the room was set at 21 and was perfect -the A/C making virtually no sound at all. The super king bed is incredibly comfortable – we had some great night’s sleep- the curtains didnt provide total blackout but it didnt seem to matter. The bathroom is well designed with a ridiculously large luxurious bath. It’s all set up to create a very private and intimate setting – ideal as a couple looking for some respite from Dubai.
On our first night we dined in the restaurant, the food was good, I was a little concerned having read a couple of reviews which slated the food but it was on the whole excellent. What was a little disconcerting – considering the fact it was not necessary to make a reservation for dinner – was how incredibly quick the food arrived after ordering – we spoke to the French chef (apologies I didn’t get his name) who explained that they’re able to do this with some of the dishes by cooking in advance and vacuum packing for up to 3 days – sounds a little odd but it certainly seems to work!
Visiting during Ramadan, at the hottest time of the year we saw virtually no other guests during our stay, we were told there was 40% occupancy but it felt like less, on 2 occasions we had the entire restaurant to ourselves. We participated in 3 activities but could have done up to 6 which would have been included in our package. We enjoyed doing different activities such as archery, this brought a different edge to the trip – we particularly liked the sunset camel ride where, after trekking for around 20mins we came upon a bar with a waiter (Ariel) in the middle of the desert who served us sparkling wine and fruits – wonderful!
We visited the pool at the spa but didn’t use the spa – the pool is lovely – slightly warmer than the suite pool. The entire resort is extremely well maintained and is very clean (other than the odd animal droppings but this can’t be helped!)
All of the staff we met were extremely friendly and courteous, unfortunately we did notice quite a few mistakes with orders at mealtimes, including being given the wrong bottle of wine with dinner and subsequently being charged more than what was expected – this was quickly rectified upon check out. We didn’t have lunch in the restaurant, instead choosing to dine in our room – we were particularly impressed with this – both with the quality and the presentation of the food. We also had the Sri Lankan menu delivered to our room for dinner one evening – this was excellent and stayed piping hot thanks to the ingenious copper/terracotta serving pots. Apparently one can pay an additional AED 550 service charge to have a waiter for the meal but we certainly didn’t think this was necessary.
The (mostly South African) team of field guides were extremely knowledgeable and happy to answer all of our questions. The aspect of the resort being set within a conservation reserve with Oryx and beautiful Gazelle roaming around is amazing – they came quite close to our suite at times which was great – there’s more wildlife to be encountered if you know what to look for and you’re provided with binoculars for this purpose.
What’s notable about Al Maha is the overwhelming sense of peace and tranquility, it certainly was not difficult to relax here – I kept having to remind myself that we were still in Dubai – it felt a million miles away from home!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Exclusive hotel designed to resemble a traditional Bedouin encampment - set within a 25-sq.-kilometer desert conservation reserve. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Al Maha Desert Hotel Dubai
- Al Maha Desert Dubai
- Al Maha Desert Resort
- Al Maha Resort