Jumeirah Al Wathba Desert Resort & Spa in Abu Dhabi may be only 50km to the southeast of Abu Dhabi, but the sweeping desert landscape that surrounds the property gives you a sense of being in the middle of nowhere. The architecture draws inspiration from a historic desert village – think stone-washed buildings and walkways leading to courtyards with burbling fountains and pools. Soothing sounds of water and a gentle breeze rustling though palms and pampas grass provide a natural background soundtrack. When the sun sets, lanterns are lit, creating a storybook Arabian Nights feel. The interiors of the spacious 80 rooms, 10 suites and 13 villas are simple yet stylish, with Arabesque furnishings and finishing touches. Those facing the desert offer views of nothing but rolling dunes and the sort of breathing space any city-dweller longs for.
Watching a za’atar and cheese manakish bubbling and rising on a traditional saj is a good start to the morning. Nothing beats a hot and melty version of this flatbread and those being made fresh for breakfast at Bait Al Hanine, the all-day-dining eatery at the resort, are delicious. Another live culinary show taking place is at Al Mabeet Desert Camp – one of the five food and beverage venues at the resort. There, fattoush is made à la minute in front of you – meaning you’re guaranteed to have crunchy croutons, which, let’s face it, really can make or break this dish. This is just the beginning of the camp’s al fresco dining experience. Add to it a curated buffet brimming with clay pots filled with olives, pickles and preserved lemons, as well as ouzi, kabsa, biryani, burghul banadoura, and dips – including a tasty pumpkin moutabel – alongside fresh prawns, a mixed grill, mountains more salads, and delicious desserts, all accompanied by belly dancers, fire dancers and a live band, and you’re in for an atmospheric evening of fabulous food and fun.
With falcon shows, archery, dune treks to see sand fossils, camel races and fat-bike tours, there’s no shortage of activities on offer at the resort. On the other hand, lounging poolside or in a hammam, jacuzzi, steam room, sauna or even a snow cave at the on-site Talise Spa may be a better option for some. A Serenity Aroma Massage will ensure you unwind entirely. And of course you’ll want to spend some quality time hiding out on your desert-facing private balcony, taking in the uninterrupted views.
For more information, please visit jumeirah.com