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“Once in a lifetime trip.. read on!”

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Al Maha, A Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Murqquab
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 13 March 2009

If you are reading this review then I'm sure you have read many others and all speak very highly of this resort. I will be no different in my praise of the resort, however I will point out any improvements or shortfalls it had as I'm in the process of completing my brand and customer service research and studies.
Truly it is a wonderful place, Al-Maha desert resort will have you captured from the moment your designated field guide and guest relation coordinator welcome you to the moment they wave you goodbye. It has the personalized service which has won it awards and hearts of the guests that have stayed over the years.

It was my first trip to Dubai with my wife after we just got married and naturally I wanted it to be a special trip, so I didn't tell her where we were staying (makes for a fantastic surprise when you're being driven through the desert and your wife has no clue where you're going or if you've gone mad!). We were warmly greeted by our field guide and coordinator and offered cold drinks (very hot in May.. sweltering in fact), they explained how everything worked, where everything was and gave us the low down of our stay. We were then taken to our suite in a golf buggy and our luggage arrived soon after. We were also given a card and a bottle of bubbly (non-alcoholic as we don't drink) to celebrate our wedding which was a nice touch.

The suite was very nice, a small entrance area which leads to the large bathroom with shower and a large bath, also leading to the bedroom which is very nice, spacious and through the glass doors overlooking the exclusive pool and desert. We stayed for 3 nights and enjoyed each one thoroughly, there are 2 activities that you can do per day ranging from falconry, archery, 4x4 driving to wildlife drives and camel riding. I can recommend getting as many in as possible to get the full taste of the desert and what the resort has to offer.
The stay is full board and the restaurant offers quite a variety of choice, the staff are very friendly and helpful but the restaurant can sometimes get very quiet with couples trying to whisper to each other! The evening meals outside are particularly nice overlooking the desert.

We decided to have a few treatments at the spa, although pricey I highly recommend it, very nice layout, excellent facilities and the treatments were very good, the resort prides itself on hand-picking the very best staff from around the world.. and after I spoke to some of the therapists and where they came from I must admit, they're not far wrong.

The gym facilities are for a better word.. lacking, a small room and not very much equipment, however it will only be used by those die-hard fitness regime guests as you're hardly going to this resort with your program in mind. The steam room and sauna are excellent, I would highly recommend using them even though it was sweltering (40c) I used the facilities in the evening when the desert cools down quite a bit so it worked a treat.

To round off overall I would highly recommend this resort, it is a once in a lifetime trip for most due to the price, my only cons were pretty minor, the bedroom was somewhat dusty with cobwebs in corners, needs to be cleaned a little more. It also can get uncomfortable with the mosquitoes when the door gets opened, also ants and small geckos but nothing too serious.

Upon completion of the trip I had a short meeting with the General Manager, I did tell him I would review the resort so here it is. As neutral as I could make it!

  • Stayed: May 2008, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank BrandConsultant_MNB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 20 February 2009

Stayed in this resort - it's really an amazing place to be. Beautiful rooms with perfect design, very spacious with lots of various extra. Most I liked complimentary aged jerez, which you can enjoy on a sunset at private swimming pool. Really a great place to be, make sure once you stay there go various desert activities, driving or walking on sand dunes is an exciting experience. At the same time - it is so quiet around, you really relax and rest from busy city noises.

Overall - little overpriced (compared to other similar boutique hotels for example in South-east Asia), but it is such a beautiful setting of the hotel, very few hotels are like that and once you decide to spend these money - it will really worth it.

Also restaurant is absolutely great, as well as spa!

  • Stayed: January 2009
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Thank Northern_Reflections
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 February 2009

We went to Al Maha courtesy of Emirates airmiles (the advantage of being a frequent flyer) to celebrate our engagement and thought Valentines Day would be the perfect time. As I booked this year, I have set my fiancé the challenge of exceeding it next year but he is going to have to work very hard! It is the perfect place for a romantic getaway and most people seemed to be in couples.

Thanks to the person who suggested on Trip Advisor that you request suite 11. We did and suite 11 was the one that we got. It looks out over the water hole (don't expect to see animals there though) but more importantly it has an uninterrupted view over the desert. Some of the other suites particularly at the back appeared to look over other suites. It is also totally private so you don't need to get your cossie wet!!

The suite itself is stunning and the pool is heated so you could use it at anytime of day or night. I could have spent the whole 2 days in the pool and on the patio but there is so much else to do and we were only there 2 nights.

There is one field guide for every couple of suites, who takes you on the trips. We did the falconry which though an early morning start is well worth it. We did the wildlife drive which if I am honest was nothing special as you see the Oryx and gazelles wandering around the resort. It was however, useful to hear about how the desert was formed etc. The camel ride is fun. Someone on trip advisor says this is touristy, well yes it is done in a group but still well worth it. The 4X4 is popular and also great fun. We were lucky that there was only 2 of us in the car but some of the others had 4 people which I suspect was a little more uncomfortable. If you suffer from travel sickness definitely try and get the front seat.

One thing that is not hugely advertised is the desert picnic. (We did that on our first night having been to the Fairmont for a champagne brunch for 3 hours at lunchtime - also well worth it if you have the time and the money 550 Dirham). For the picnic, you are taken out in a 4X4 to a site where torches are set up with cushions around a table laid for dinner. More food than 2 people could possibly eat including meze, fish, steak, chicken, cakes, fruit and cheese, plus of course a chilled bottle of wine (you order and pay for that separately). It was so romantic just the 2 of us in the desert alone. Take a sweater though as it is pretty chilly in the desert at night especially if the wind is up. They do however provide pashminas which were very welcome. There is an additional service charge of £20 but the dinner itself is included.

A couple of other things to note, we ordered breakfast one morning on our patio, which was lovely and interestingly a wider range of menu choices than in the restaurant including fillet steak (which I can definitely recommend). Finally, beware of the price of the smoothies at the pool - bit pricey at £11 for 2! The spa is worth a visit - we had the steam room, sauna and jacuzzi to ourselves for an hour. They provide robes, slippers etc and even disposable underwear if you forget to take your cossie.

Transfers to the resort are easier than they lead you to believe. We had a driver from my company take us out there but he dropped us off and picked us up at the door. There does not appear to be a restriction on vehicles entering the park.

Overall, a great place to visit for as many days as you can manage. Two was just not long enough and I cannot wait to go back!

  • Stayed: February 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank YW4YW
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 January 2009

We loved Al Maha - It is small, intimate and unusual. Much has been written about the rooms etc.

Here are my tips -

1. Take advantage of the included sunset drive, the archery, the camel trek, the falconry, the nature walks etc. Get up early for amazing sunrises that you will remember forever, and to enjoy these activities before it gets too hot.

2. Choose your time to go carefully, it is much less humid than Dubai (good) but this means it can be VERY hot if you go too early or get quite cold depending upon your time of year - October when we went was perfect.

3. Enjoy both in villa pool and the pool down at the Spa. The animals wander up to the edge and of the pool area and it was amazing to watch them whilst sheltering from the heat of the day in the water.

4. We ate in the villa, on deck dining nearly every night. The restaurant was OK but it was far better to enjoy the views of the desert in comfort next to our own pool than sit on a deck with lots of other couples and guest all chatting very quietly.

5. As an Emirates hotels property there are deals to be done with flights to go here on a stopover or as an interim destination.

The breakfast was not as good as some of the hotels in Dubai, but this was a small thing in context of the overall experience.

After a 3 day stop over we were very sad to leave, but I think 4 or 5 days would be perfect here. Its an amazing place and the desert is beautiful.

I cannot recommend it strongly enough.

  • Stayed: October 2007, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank DepDawg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 January 2009

We (?) decided to renew our wedding vows on our tenth anniversary, and began our search for a perfect venue.
At the time, Al Maha was as boutique-y and secluded as Dubai hotels got and, on that basis, we booked via our travel agent.
From there we were put in touch with a member of the Emirates team, who co-ordinated a vicar (who was fab) to perform the ceremony and checked all the formalities for us. She was an absolute gem; and everything ran so smoothly from the outset because of her. I can only imagine the trouble they would go to if you were actually being married at an Emirates resort.
Al Maha itself really is wow...just wow.
It's going to be hard not to ramble...
We were given the honeymoon suite which was spacious and beautifully furnished (the bed almost too big) and if a bathroom can be comfortable; our bathroom was so comfortable (with lovely bvlgari products). The pool was a perfect luxury and the awning over it; welcome. We never tired from just looking out at the desert from either the deck or the pool and watching the occasional oryx pass by and enjoying the solitude.
The food was spectacular at Al Maha; so much choice too. Sadly, because the evening temperatures were so extreme (it was June), we weren't able to eat on the outside terrace with it's flamelit torches. But the indoor restaurant was lovely anyway. And breakfast delivered to our deck every morning was pure indulgence.
From the activities available to guests we chose to do just the dune driving with our guide and the sunset camel ride. One was more comfortable, but both were a great experience.
And now to the staff. True; Al Maha is a stunning resort in a lovely setting with a gorgeous spa and gym, but what makes it really exceptional is its staff. From Nimahl at the resort to Sally in Emirates Dubai offices, every single member of the team contributed to our stay being so perfect. Nothing was ever too much trouble and we cannot thank them enough (especially Nimahl).
To avoid rambling, I'll round off by saying, our whole Al Maha experience was very, very special for the reasons above and many more.
If we made one mistake; it was moving on to the hustle-bustle of Dubai city for a night afterwards.
For me, nowhere could have followed Al maha.

  • Stayed: June 2007, travelled as a couple
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Thank Agdord
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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Additional Information about Al Maha, A Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa

Address: Dubai - Al Ain Rd | Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, Murqquab, United Arab Emirates
Region: United Arab Emirates > Emirate of Dubai > Murqquab
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Murqquab
Price Range: RM3,382 - RM9,499 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Al Maha, A Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa 5*
Number of rooms: 42
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 
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Also Known As:
Al Maha Desert Hotel Dubai
Al Maha Desert Dubai
Al Maha Desert Resort
Al Maha Resort

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