We arrived to our first destination, Anantara Qasr Al Sarab, a Desert Resort. We researched quite a bit on where to stay because we wanted an authentic desert experience. This resort came highly recommended from Trip Advisor. We were a little hesitant due to the price tag, but figured it was a once in a lifetime trip out to the Empty Quarter. Well, jackpot! This has to be hands the the best resort we have experienced. Whoever is responsible for placing Qasr Al Sarab in the middle of rolling desert dunes away from any civilization is a genius! One of the many examples of how the UAE is able to show their deep pockets and continue to create a modern oasis unlike many others you can imagine. This palace, built in 2009, may be one of the best resorts in the world! More pictures to come of the hotel…
Waking up Tuesday morning, was with much anticipation since we arrived in complete darkness. Our first day started before sunrise to our first excursion, dune bashing! We jumped in a Toyota Land Cruiser with a professional driver (takes six months to get a dune driving license), who drives us out about 5 km to a desolate area of sand dunes. We pit stop to let the air out of the tires, as Scott attaches the GoPro to the hood of the car. The adventure flies through the desert dunes, sliding down the sides , feeling like a never ending rollercoaster. We were going up, down and around. Topping out at 500 feet and driving down. On the dunes that has the curves they would ‘slide’. Sliding is literally taking the car sideways down the dune with sand flying up. It did not look natural at all and it was amazing the car didn’t tumble down the dune. Midway we made a pit stop to see the sunrise and enjoy some coffee. When we finished we made a pit stop to add air back into the tires. They had a bunch of Arabian horses there. It was awesome because they let them out of their stalls and we got to watch them take off down the desert. Also, we got to know our guide pretty well (the whole hotel staff, especially the activity guides were amazing). I asked during our drive if they had any puppy Saluki dogs on property ( I heard from past travelers they have them on property). Saluki breed is known for hunting and are popular in the Middle East (Greyhound family). Sure enough they do. It is a separate activity, but our guide was nice enough to bring us to them. We had our own private time with them. They were soooo cute!!!
After the adrenaline wore off, we headed to the breakfast buffet…. HOLY buffet. The spread was amazing and not to mention absolutely delicious. After we gorged on breakfast, we headed down to the awesome pool. As expected, the resort did not disappoint. They have Sunshine Butlers that are all around the pool. They come around with cold towels for your face, mango smoothies, and a spray down for your sunglasses just to name a few. It was a great way to unwind from the long travel day the day before.
Later that day we had another excursion booked, a camel trek to see the amazing sunset of the Liwa Oasis. It’s amazing how quickly you adjust to the nine-hour time change when your mind and body are consumed with awesome activities.
It was such a great time! My camel, Carl, ( I was behind Scott) kept creeping up to Scott. At one point he was rubbing his face on his backpack. I guess he had an itch? He was so adorable! We wanted to take him home! But we guess a few selfies would suffice.
The instructions were pretty specific on how to ‘mount’ a camel. They are very tall animals. You have to lean back while they are getting up, they are quite powerful and you really feel the force f them getting up. Of course Scott captured the moment perfectly. Ha!
After the trek we had some tea and climbed a few dunes to watch the sunset. It was a great way to end a perfect first day in Abu Dhabi.
More fun times at the desert resort to come………