If you like nightlife, the Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai, is not for you. If you like doing everything else, this is a perfect retreat! I had heard rave reviews about this luxury destination with its villas and vistas and was beyond excited. How can you go wrong when your room is a villa with a private pool and meals and desert activities included in the rate?
Wherever you decide to stay, book via our luxury travel concierge. We offer free upgrades, free breakfasts, and free perks at hotels, including Four Seasons, Aman, Belmond, Hyatt, Ritz-Carlton, Marriott, InterContinental, and more. You also get your usual Marriott Bonvoy, Hyatt, Hilton, and other loyalty points and status benefits when you book with our concierge.
Style & Character
Our arrival was perfectly timed, with the sun setting in the dunes behind us and the resort lights starting to shine out from among the trees. We were greeted with towels, iced drinks, and a level of service from staff that never faded throughout the stay!
The highlight was the enormous back patio and infinity pool looking out onto the desert plain. Though you might hear from your neighbors, each villa offers substantial privacy with thick screening.
There’s not a bad room on the entire property! Al Maha is an all-villa hotel with 42 rooms set among an oasis of trees. The Bedouin Suite is the entry-level room, a spacious 75m. The interior is large and luxe, the ceiling mimicking a tented roof and living up to its name with authentic décor in the form of Bedouin water jugs.
The foyer doubles as the refreshment area, offering an extensive array of complimentary tea and coffee, even real cream in the minibar. Also, a decanter of sherry is refilled daily if you’re so inclined. The enormous bathroom has an oversized soaking tub, a walk-in shower, Bvlgari amenities, and a separate toilet room. The main space features plenty of comfortable seating and doors to the patio on three sides. They even had an easel with pastels in case the scenery inspired you. Sadly my artwork was no more impressive there than at home.
Service & Facilities
In addition to the infinity pools at each villa, Al Maha also features a main horizon pool with a beautiful view and a balmy ambiance. We had to check-out before it was time to leave for our flight, and we whiled away the time delightfully, using the showers before the car picked us up. The spa is an oasis, with surprisingly affordable treatments.
One of the unique aspects of Al Maha is the variety of wildlife living on the hotel grounds and right outside your door. Tiny sand gazelles will beg for toast as you have breakfast on your patio. Bright white Oryx canter on the plains beneath your horizon pool. And unusual birds flutter around the porch filling the air with their songs, which eventually my friend found annoying.
Two activities per day per guest are included in the room rate, and it wasn’t easy to choose which was our favorite. The evening camel trek with a sunset champagne toast was pretty special. So was the display of falconry and the thrill of dune bashing, driving over and sideways across the dunes. If you’re an experienced rider, you can ride a swift Arabian over the sands.
Food & Drink
The Hajar Terrace Bar is one level up from the restaurant and shares the same beautiful view of a wildlife watering hole lit up at night. It’s small and cozy but has outdoor seating on the terrace. All alcohol in the UAE is expensive, so we found the prices fairly reasonable. I was particularly pleased by the extensive wine list!
Included in each day of your stay is breakfast, a 3-course lunch, and a 5-course dinner. You can choose to have them delivered via room service or served at the Al Diwaan. As tempting as it was to enjoy the suite, there was something special about dining under the full moon and trying the chef’s specials of the day. The food was fantastic, but at least half of the menu options are seafood-based, and dining at the restaurant is an all-evening event.
It’s like a safari, beach, and spa resort all rolled into one. I had an amazing stay and particularly liked the ability to go and do or do nothing, depending on what I felt like. You can rarely find a place that can satisfy guests coming to relax or stay active.
Review by our friend Keri from Heels First Travel.
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