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Hot List 2010
Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara, Abu Dhabi
1 Qasr Al Sarab Road
United Arab Emirates
Tel: 971 2 886 2088
Set on the edge of the Empty Quarter near Abu Dhabi's Liwa Oasis, two hours from the capital (a taxi will be far less expensive than the resort's $181 airport transfer), the Qasr Al Sarab is so remote that you can see the Milky Way from here. The 206-room desert resort looks like an old fortress set amid towering dunes, and arriving guests pass round turrets and crenellated walls and are welcomed by Talib Hussain, the seven-foot-tall doorman. Large rooms mingle Islamic design and modern touches such as huge round bathtubs, Nespresso machines, and private sunbathing decks. A desert activity center, not fully open at the time of our visit, will offer excursionson camels, Arabian horses, four-by-fours, and quad bikesas well as interactions with trained falcons and saluki hunting dogs. The spa combines Thai techniques and local ingredients such as ground dates and sand for exfoliation. Air-conditioned Land Rovers driven by South African nature guides transport guests who are willing to wake up early into the dunes to watch the sun rise, then whisk them back to the resort for eggs Benedict, fresh-squeezed carrot juice, camel milk, and cappuccino.
Which room to book: Some suites and villas have private pools; Deluxe Terrace King rooms, especially Nos. 203 and 207, have wonderful dune views.
Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.