Al Maha’s numerous international awards and recognitions include, being a winner in the conservation awards category, 2010 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC); the only Leisure Hotel in Dubai within the Top 20 of Conde Nast’s Readers Awards for the M.E., Africa and Indian Ocean regions for 2008; named by National Geographic Adventure as one of the world’s Top 50 Ecolodges; the winner of the World Legacy Award from National Geographic and Conservation International presented by Queen Noor of Jordan in Washington DC; winning the 8th Arab Cities Award for Architecture from the Arab Cities Organization; being included in the exclusive Condé Nast Traveller (UK) 2006 Gold List; and recognition as the sole Dubai representative in the Condé Nast Traveller (UK) 2007 Top 20-Hotel List for Africa, Middle East and Indian Ocean Islands.
If you are looking for a place to get away and disconnect, Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa offers the perfect retreat. Set in the largest nature conservation in the UAE, Al Maha Resort & Spa offers indulgence, luxury, seclusion and tranquility – just a 45 minute drive from the heart of Dubai.
Traveling on Emirates airline, the holiday starts from the plane with Emirates’ diverse array of in-flight entertainment, delicious food and five star service. Other Emirates facilities like the Business Class Lounge take care of your every need. With two Business Centres, a conference room and computers with broadband internet and complimentary Wifi access, all your work can be done from the comfort of the lounge complete with delicious dining options and a spa. On reaching Dubai, an Emirates car can whisk you away to the tranquility of Al Maha in just under an hour.
As you enter the desert reserve, the calm hush of the desert instantly relaxes you. With its friendly and attentive service, the hotel takes care of your every need. Reflecting old-style Arabian architecture with the largest private collection of original Arabian antiques and artworks in the Gulf, Al Maha houses over 2,000 historic pieces of artwork, weaponry, traditional jewellery and Bedouin handicrafts. The exceptional accommodation facilities feature 37 Bedouin suites, twoRoyal suites, two Emirates Suites and one Presidential Suite.
You can enjoy the crisp desert air by having tea or cocktails on the terrace overlooking the breathtaking desert landscape. The al fresco dining amid the desert dunes must not be missed. Under a brilliant night sky untainted by artificial light or traffic, the stillness of the desert under a starlit sky is truly magical. If you prefer to dine in, Al Maha’s signature restaurant Al Diwaan is a culinary treat.
The magnificent suites make you feel like you have stepped into another world. Each suite has its own private pool overlooking the undulating desert dunes with the starkly majestic Hajar mountain range in the distance. Though fitted with WiFi and flatscreen televisions, the interiors are decorated in a local Bedouin style reminiscent of Lawrence of Arabia or 1001 Nights. Intricately carved wooden furniture, local antique handicrafts and a canopy above the luxurious double beds are evocative of a desert camp.
The hotel offers the opportunity to take a camel ride into the desert to see the sunset. Drinks and hors d’oeuvres are served as you watch the sun melt behind the dunes in colours of pink and blue.
The surrounding desert is a sanctuary for wildlife including the gazelle and the Arabian Oryx. The gazelles and oryxes (Al Maha means ‘the oryx’) are free to roam across the hotel grounds, sometimes stopping by the pool to drink.
The wildlife and natural beauty of the desert can be further explored on a tour with Al Maha’s resident field guides. This desert oasis is filled with fauna and flora like the fire bush, so called because its seed contains a fluffy highly flammable material which was used by the desert bedouins to make fire. The evergreen ghaf tree is of special significance as since these trees grow in clusters, they would provide a canopy of shade for the traveling bedouins. The leaves of the ghaf tree are edible and therefore formed an essential food source for the bedouins. The ghaf tree can endure drought and high salinity by reaching the water located deep in the desert sands and its presence indicates the existence of groundwater. For these reasons, bedouins would usually set up camp by these remarkable trees. The honey produced by bees from the ghaf is also highly valued for its medicinal properties.
The resort’s commitment to conservation is evident in its distinct architecture where
windows are designed not to conduct heat, all water is recycled and private vehicles are prohibited to ensure the reserve and its wildlife are left undisturbed. Conservation efforts are extensive, ongoing and scientifically thorough.
Being the only hotel located in this lush oasis, the fascinating insights into bedouin traditional culture are unique to Al Maha. The falcon show at dawn sheds more light on this ancient culture. In the cool dawn air of the desert, Al Maha’s resident falcons display their unparalleled hunting techniques. Al Maha’s expert field guides explain how these magnificent birds were tamed and taught to hunt prey for the bedouins. The close view afforded by the display is a rare experience to witness the power and beauty of this legendary bird. It allows you to step back in time and live the history of an ancient culture.
Alternatively, if all you want to do is enjoy the luxury of the hotel, rest and rejuvenate completely at the Timeless Spa which offers an array of spa treatments including special offers for honeymooners and a fitness centre with a jacuzzi, sauna and steam room.
The perfect getaway for those seeking luxury and seclusion in a beautiful desert setting, one visit to Al Maha is just not enough.