Bab Al Shams
Get in touch with your inner Lawrence of Arabia at this desert escape an hour’s drive from Dubai. Bab Al Shams (Gateway to the Sun) is designed like a Bedouin fort, and blends seamlessly into the surrounding desert. Decorated in genuinely traditional Gulf style the 115 rooms are home to natural stone, dark wood, Arabian antique glasswork and textiles. The highlight of the hotel is the pool, a massive 1,400 square metres expanse with sweeping views across the desert. When the sun dips behind the dunes, head up to the Al Sarab Rooftop Bar for cocktails as the dying light illuminates the desert in wonderful hues. The Al Hadheerah restaurant is open to the stars and in true, but slightly kitsch, 1,001 Nights style features a pantheon of camels, falcons, whirling belly dancers, musicians, and a small tented souk selling local crafts. Tuck into a pan-Arabic feast served from open cooking stations featuring wood-fired ovens, charcoal grills, and spit roasts. The real reason to stay out here is to experience the desert, from 4-wheel drives to horse and camel safaris.