Desert Dreams Come True

Cynthia Huang

Banner "Desert Dreams Come True" with woman staring off into desert

The UAE was the last stop on our 2 month journey around the globe. While we expected to enjoy some great experiences, nothing could prepare us for what was to come at Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara.

Suitcases in the desert

After spending a few days touring around the modern city of Dubai, we made our way from towering city skylines to vast and seemingly endless desert. The drive took four hours, and there were signs on the way and the roads were well built, making it a relatively easy journey. I was bewildered by the utter unfamiliarity of my surroundings while driving. It was like travelling to an entirely different planet, providing us with an incredible view like that of Mars. As you venture deeper and deeper into the desert, you don’t know what’s ahead or behind. Is this desert friendly or hostile? The concept of staying out in the middle of nowhere made us feel excited, but when we finally arrived, what greeted us was beyond our expectations.

Woman posing under sunset in desert

Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara rises up from flame-coloured dunes like a mirage. I couldn't image that there could be a village literally in the middle of a desert! The location is phenomenal, it feels like another world! The hotel is engineered and ornamented with a stunning amount of detail, making it an attraction in itself. We were astonished when we were guided to our room and saw the swimming pool from our terrace - it felt surreal to see such a large outdoor swimming pool amidst the driest of desert terrain, especially, considering fresh water is more expensive than oil in the UAE. It was an amazing opportunity to be able to swim in the driest of desert.

Man on camel in the desert

In my free time, it was great to plunge into the books available through the library. I loved the words by Wilfred Thesiger in Crossing the sand, as I imagined what it would have been like 80 years ago to witness the great explorer crossing the world’s largest desert, the Empty Quarter, where the resort is located. He must have overcome the hardships, dangers and mental challenges in these journeys as he navigated the dunes and travelled for 15 days without water. He talked about the emotional rewards he earned, ‘a freedom unattainable in civilization’ and ‘a satisfaction that comes from hardship’. Staying at this resort really helped to capture the essence of his work.

Woman wandering in the desert

Luckily for us, after eight decades of man’s evolution, we were able to have our own adventure, but in the most luxurious of styles with Anantara. We joined the sunrise dune bashing and Liwa desert excursion. Each activity delivering more than we were expecting. We loved our time there from start to finish. From the fine details to the wonderful service and attentiveness of the staff, it was certainly an experience that we will never ever forget!

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