Wednesday 24 April 2019
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Qasr Al Sarab, United Arab Emirates

Rising from the shifting sands, Qasr Al Sarab appears like a mirage on the edge of the vast Empty Quarter desert. Outside high crenellated walls echo fortresses of old. Inside rooms continue the dream of Arabian Nights with sumptuous fabrics, carved Islamic designs, woven rugs, wooden doors and metalwork lanterns. The Library’s museum-quality artifacts come from a time when the area’s few residents were date farmers or Bedouins.

Delve into the regional culture further with tastefully-done resort activities. Have your hands painted with henna or learn about the indigenous saluki dog breed, then trek across 300m-high dunes on camelback or ‘dune-bash’ down them in a 4WD.

Afterwards, dinner is a luxe affair poolside or lounging above on terrace divans. You might even opt for a Bedu feast on carpets fireside in the sand. A mere 200km south of Abu Dhabi, this desert resort by Anantara is a world apart.

“On our visit to Qasr al Sarab, we stood atop a distant dune talking to a fourth-generation falconer, while his fifth-generation son played nearby. Holding and witnessing the power of their magnificent birds was a definite high.” – Lisa Dunford

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