Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort


On the outskirts of Abu Dhabi, the world’s largest sand desert – the Empty Quarter – beckons. Qasr Al Sarab by Anantara rises up from flame-coloured dunes like a mirage, inviting adventure in the most luxurious of styles. Traverse the Rub’ al Khali by camelback. Dine under desert skies. Unwind with hammam and desert rose rituals at our relaxing Abu Dhabi resort.


Its position amid rolling dunes in the largest uninterrupted sand desert in the world has earned Qasr Al Sarab its status as the most instagrammed hotel on the planet. The location, service and grandeur make it one of the most attractive establishments in the emirate.

About 74 miles’ drive from Abu Dhabi airport, this immersive desert experience is spellbinding. The sunsets are as incredible as you’ll see anywhere and the changing vistas just as enchanting – it’s easy to see why the producers of Star Wars: The Force Awakens chose to film here.

Just as charming on the inside as the outside. The castle-like exterior reflects traditional Bedouin forts of yesteryear. Guests cross a lantern-lined bridge, through an arched entryway before being led into the impressive lobby and nearby lounge. Bedouin artefacts are plentiful in common areas and hotel thoroughfares, windows and doors have been designed with tradition in mind, while dimly lit lanterns and falaj-style water systems are a nod to days gone by. The piped Arabic music and live Qanun player in the lobby add to the charm.

Service continues to be of a high standard. Despite a hiccup involving a golf buggy not arriving at the nominated time, the 400-odd staff are helpful, knowledgeable and generous. The palm-lined, oasis-style swimming pool is one of the big attractions, as is Anantara Spa, and there are plenty of immersive experiences to try  including guided night walks, dune-bashing, camel riding and falcon and saluki shows.

The Rooms

Escape to a 5 star hotel oasis in the deserts of Abu Dhabi.

A fortress of turrets, courtyards and fountains houses spacious rooms and suites, while pool villas stand apart facing the sunset Royal Pavilion Villas is among the finest of 5 star hotels in Abu Dhabi and is set half a kilometre out from the resort.

The Restaurants

  • For an authentic dining experience Al Falaj (open November to April) is the pick. You’ll sit on cushions and carpets and enjoy a meal under the stars Bedouin style . Suhail, the rooftop restaurant, is a great spot for a sunset drink and an evening meal. Upmarket in its approach and renowned for its grill offerings, steak dishes start f. Wine lovers will be impressed by its hidden cellar.

    Breakfast is served in Al Waha, which offers indoor and outdoor seating. While the resident birds can be pests outside, the buffet inside is elaborate and full of hot and cold options including international favourites like turkey bacon and eggs alongside popular local options like Saj breads and Emirati pancakes. Ghadeer, the poolside mediterranean restaurant, and Al Liwan, the lobby lounge, are more relaxed all-day dining options.

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Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort

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