Qasr Al Sarab
Halfway through our time in the UAE, Luke surprised me with an overnight trip to the desert. At the recommendation of Alana and Kemp (thank you!!) - he booked us one night at Qasr Al Sarab - this amazing Anantara resort in the middle of the desert. I was super impressed. We woke up early in the morning and started the trek to the resort. The resort was located about 200 km south of Abu Dhabi in the Empty Quarter- one of the largest sand deserts in the world that encompasses most of Saudi Arabia and areas of Oman, the UAE, and Yemen. After leaving the city of Abu Dhabi, you quickly realize that you are in the desert. There was not much on the road to the resort except some camels. Had we not turned off to the resort we would have eventually hit the border of Saudi Arabia - we were literally in the middle of nowhere.
(Desert drive. No one else on the road. I did prove that you can photograph a mirage - see it? )
(Camel spotting from the car- sadly this is as close as I got to a real live camel. ) After about 2 hours we made it to Qasr Al Sarab. It could not have been more beautiful. Located among the gorgeous never-ending orange sand dunes - the resort is stunning.
We checked into our room and discovered that we got our own private swimming pool overlooking the dunes. Straight ballin'.
Inside of our room at Qasr Al Sarab
After getting settled we decided to do nothing - I mean nothing. We meant to check out some of the activities that the resort offered, like camel trekking and dune bashing (whatever that is) but since we had our own private pool that had the most amazing views there really was no reason to leave our room.
That evening, at the recommendation of the hotel, we hiked up one of the beautiful and giant sand dunes to catch the sunset over the desert. The hike up was a lot harder than it looks, but completely worth it in the end.
We were enjoying our romantic sunset until a kid decided that our dune was the best to throw himself off of and roll down. I kind of didn't blame him because it looked fun. I restrained myself since it probably would be socially unacceptable for a 31 yr old "lady" to throw herself head first down a dune. Maybe.
The view was incredible. The desert is so quiet and when the sun finally set - the most amazing sky full of stars came out. I half-expected to see the Three Wise Men strolling by. Not sure why but being in the desert evoked some serious biblical images for me - Luke didn't see it.
After the beautiful sunset, we had dinner at the resort in their Bedouin style restaurant - Al Falaj. It was set up outside under the stars on Persian carpets and was completely magical. The food was great - lots of hummus and lamb. Since the UAE is a Muslim country and drinking is off limits to Muslims, our waiter put it to us pretty simply when we were ordering- "do you want the alcoholic or non-alcoholic dinner?" We of course chose the alcoholic dinner.
Not the best picture but a view of the Bedouin style restaurant
Sadly we only stayed there one night, but there is always next time right?
Well done Luke - you have set the bar high. Not sure if that is a good or bad thing for you but it has been set...