Escape to Tranquillity - A Review of Bab Al Shams, the Luxurious Desert Resort in Dubai
Updated: Aug 13
After hearing about the highly-acclaimed Bab Al Shams Desert Resort in Dubai, my family and I decided to make the journey and experience it for ourselves. The resort had only recently reopened its doors after a complete renovation by the new owners, Kerzner International Holdings, who are renowned for their luxurious Atlantis and One&Only Resorts
We packed our bags and hit the road, excited to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and indulge in a relaxing and rejuvenating stay at this desert oasis. With my husband, myself, and our two children aged 5 and 9 in tow, we were eager to explore all that Bab Al Shams had to offer.
The Bab Al Shams Desert Resort is conveniently located just a short drive away from the bustling city of Dubai, making it an ideal retreat for those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. To get to the resort, simply take the Dubai-Al Ain Road and follow the signs to the Bab Al Shams Desert Resort. The drive from Dubai to the resort takes approximately 45 minutes, and the scenic route through the desert is sure to be a memorable part of the journey.
As you arrive at the resort, the first thing that catches your eye is the grand archway entrance with sturdy wooden doors that you drive through. The breathtaking landscaping mesmerizes you before you make your way towards the hotel entrance, where eager staff await with welcoming smiles.
"The hotel had recently undergone a change in ownership, and it was evident from the outset that the staff was excited to greet and host guests."
They were dressed in stunning new uniforms that resembled the colours of the desert, adding to the experience of being welcomed by those who call it home.
Since I did not have the opportunity to visit the resort prior to the renovation, I can only provide my impressions based on this recent trip. The resort features breathtaking curves, walkways, and unique architecture that makes it a perfect spot for taking photographs, especially in the desert surroundings. It was clear that the design was pushed to its limits, resulting in a unique and unforgettable design experience.
It's no surprise that there was a fashion shoot at the resort during our stay. For two days, models elegantly weaved their way through the property, closely followed by photographers, stylists, and makeup artists.
"As someone familiar with the fashion industry, I could relate to the excitement and energy surrounding the shoot."
Step into your personalized desert escape where every detail has been thoughtfully considered to provide ultimate comfort with a subtle Moorish accent. Your room welcomes you with elegant window-side seating nook, providing a perfect place to relax and take in the beautiful view. Alternatively, make use of the work area and a well-stocked refreshment station.
The spacious bathroom features a walk-in shower, while some rooms even have the option of a balcony for that extra indulgence. Stay connected with unlimited WiFi available throughout the entire resort and in your room. Sink into the plush and super comfortable pillows and luxurious bed linens, and indulge in the fully stocked mini-bar and snack selection. With every comfort provided, you'll never want to leave the luxurious confines of your hotel room.
The poolside experience at the resort is nothing short of luxurious. With multiple options to choose from, there is a perfect spot for everyone. The pool is divided into different sections, each designed for a specific group, ranging from singles to families. The attention to detail by the pool staff is exceptional. They are always available and provide top-notch service, making sure that you have everything you need.
The poolside menu is also worth mentioning, with a diverse range of dishes that are sure to please both adults and children. Whether you're looking for a refreshing cocktail or a light snack, the pool staff will have you covered.
"The great thing about the pool area is that it's spacious enough for you to find a private spot to relax, unwind and soak up the sun."
The plush sun loungers are the epitome of comfort, with great lines and plush pillows that allow you to lie back, relax and take in the serene surroundings. With unlimited wifi, you can easily catch up on some work or scroll through social media while basking in the sun. Overall, the poolside experience at the resort is nothing short of exceptional, and it's definitely a must-try for anyone looking for a luxurious and relaxing vacation.
With regard to activities, guests at Bab Al Shams have the choice to either indulge in calm stillness or to embark on a vein of adventure. The resort offers plenty of options for relaxation and disconnection, from enjoying the luxurious spa to unwinding in one of the infinity pools.
For those seeking adventure, the resort invites guests to discover the undulating wilderness surrounding the property, whether on foot, on wheels, or by riding a horse or camel, following the nomads of old. Children can also take part in activities like camel rides at sunset and watching the majestic falcons put on a show.
"Overall, Bab Al Shams is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of Dubai, and an ideal location for those seeking an authentic desert experience with luxurious accommodations and top-notch service."
Feeling adventurous? Take a nature walk..
If you're feeling adventurous, nature walks in the Arabian Desert are a must-do. You can take a guided walk through the vibrant ecosystem around the resort, navigating the undulating dunes to find the best spots to glimpse Arabian oryx, gazelles, hares, geckos, and native desert flora. We suggest the sunrise and/or sunset walks (insane sunset pics I promise!)
Bab Al Shams also offers a kids club for children between the ages of 5 and 10, where our kids had an absolute blast. The staff at the kids club were very friendly and kind, and it was clear that they enjoyed the company of children. This gave us parents the perfect opportunity to relax by the pool and enjoy some poolside cocktails, knowing that our children were in good hands and having fun. It was a great way to keep everyone happy and entertained during our stay.
If you're looking for a truly authentic Arabian experience, the Al Hadheerah is a must-visit destination. Just a short, beautifully groomed walkway from the hotel, this desert outpost is an open-air theatre of live entertainment and dining, steeped in the diverse and ancient cultures of Arabia.
Meander through a living souk, where alleyways of live-cooked, authentic Middle Eastern cuisine await, along with musicians, dancers, falconers, and camel riders who come out to entertain. The food is presented in a buffet format, catering to every taste and palate, from charcoaled grill meat and seafood to scrumptious salads and desserts that are fit for a king.
The music, dancers, and dramatic horse show all add to the experience, allowing you to truly immerse yourself in the Arabian culture beneath the stars of the desert. Whether you're traveling alone, as a couple, or with the whole family, a visit to the Al Hadheerah experience is non-negotiable.
Zala, the main dining option at the resort, is always abuzz with the vibrant flavours of the Mediterranean, whether it's breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The breakfast and lunch buffets are particularly noteworthy, with an impressive array of options that cater to all needs and requirements.
"Don’t forget to ask for the morning detox juice!"
We were informed by the friendly staff that the resort is planning to introduce two additional dining options soon, but they are still going through the necessary preparations before launching. We can't wait to see what they have in store!
In conclusion, our stay at the resort was nothing short of exceptional. The luxurious amenities, stunning architecture, delicious dining options, and top-notch staff all contributed to an unforgettable desert escape.
"Whether you're seeking adventure or relaxation, this resort has something to offer for everyone."
We enjoyed every moment of our stay and can't wait to return to experience even more of what this beautiful property has to offer. We highly recommend it to anyone looking for a truly memorable escape to a desert oasis.