Bab Al Shams Desert Resort
Less than an hour outside the city and recently extensively renovated, Bab Al Shams is a low-rise desert resort modeled after an Arabian fort, whose weathered sandstone buildings tuck discreetly into the windswept desert dunes.
Crenelated walls and tall wooden entrance gates open up to an oasis-like world of swaying palm trees, Arabian architecture and trickling courtyard fountains. Rooms and suites are spread over adobe-walled blocks interspersed by palms and native ghaf trees. Views are either of the gardens or the shifting desert dunes and almost all come with balconies or terraces. Interiors are fresh and modern with plenty of exposed beams and softly lit alcoves.
Three large swimming pools look out over the desert, flanked by restaurants and the rooftop lounge Anwa, where pan-Asian bites and cocktails can be enjoyed beneath the stars. Below, Zala celebrates the flavours of the eastern Mediterranean through breakfast, lunch and dinner, while open-air restaurant Al Hadheerah prides itself on its authentic Middle Eastern cuisine, served beneath the night sky to a backdrop of live performances and Arabic entertainment.
Complimentary activities include giant chess and croquet on the lawn, while optional extras range from 4×4 driving in the desert to hot-air balloon rides and fat-bike safaris among the dunes.