There’s a reason why I use the word “magical” to describe the Qasr al Sarab. When Saleh’s co-worker told him about this resort, literally smack in the middle of the desert, he described the experience as magical. We thought it was funny that he used that term for a hotel, but when we got there we realized that there was no better word to describe it.
Qasr al Sarab is technically in the emirate of Abu Dhabi in UAE, but it’s more specifically in the Rub al Khali (empty quarter). The Rub al Khali is the largest uninterrupted desert in the world. It extents to Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Oman.
So you’re driving to the hotel on the freeway for about an hour and a half away from Abu Dhabi City. Then all of a sudden you exit and turn off onto this two way road leading into the brown sand dunes. You follow this up and down windy road for about 30 minutes. Keep in mind for this half hour, you see zero signs of civilization besides the road that you’re on. Just sand. Nothing but sand. We saw a gazelle dart through the sand.
Then you see it. This sprawling resort that sort of blends in with the sand. And it just kind of takes your breath away. As you approach the hotel, you drive across this bridge – almost like a medieval drawbridge. Once you’re over the bridge, you’re there. You pull your car around the circle to the front of the hotel and that’s when the pampering begins.
There are white gloved gentlemen waiting to open your door and help you out. They take your bags and park your car. Then a lady escorts you inside, ushers you to another young lady who’s holding a tray. On the tray sits glasses of this delicious date drink that I had never seen before. She also handed us warm white washcloths. After refreshments, there was someone ready to give us a quick tour of the property. Towards the end of the tour, he showed us to our room.
The crazy thing about this hotel is once nightfall hit you don’t hear a sound! Nothing! We sat on our outside patio gazing up at the stars. We could barely see the outline of the sand dunes around us. But there was an absolute silence. The closest road is about 15 miles away. You don’t realize what that type of silence sounds like because you always hear something. Either it’s a car driving by or the sound of your refrigerator humming or something. But there, you hear absolutely nothing. It’s something you probably have to experience to understand.
At 8:00 the next morning, we called for a ride to breakfast. Yes, if you want to go anywhere just call and someone pulls up in a golf cart like Uber. Breakfast was insane. I wont go into detail but I will just say that there was a station at the buffet that had a huge rectangular piece of honey comb with honey dripping from the bottom. No lie!
We spent the next few days at the pool, dining, climbing sand dunes and taking pregnancy photos. At the time, I was 5 months pregnant with our daughter.
I’m sure there are other resorts around the world that rival the Qasr. But this is the one I can speak of. I highly recommend it as a honeymoon destination or a luxurious getaway (and I mean get away). We have three hotel stays that we recommend for the unique experiences that they offer – Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, Inn on the Cliff in St. George, Utah and this one. Qasr al Sarab is our clear cut favorite.
The best time to visit Qasr al Sarab is in the winter, when temperatures are moderate. Expect to pay $400/night, breakfast included.
For corresponding pictures to this post, check out the photos on our Instagram @tooomanysteps