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Dubai / Bab Al Shams

Meaning ‘gateway to the sun’ in Arabic, this sand dune sanctuary radiantly shines the light on Dubai’s softer side; holding tight to Bedouin practices and packing an oasis-full of activities into its fort-like surroundings.

When it comes to connecting with the local traditions that make Arabia’s demerara-sugar landscape so fun and thriving, this long-running desert favourite has the authentic touch. Recognised by the Rare Finds collection – who promise soulful experiences and proximity to rich communities – culture vultures revel in the middle-of-nowhere traditional village aesthetics and solitary way of life. While those that prefer to avoid the shady nooks find scenic courtyards for enviable snapshots and a spacious pool for lazing around. Each room beautifully decorated in modern Moorish design (with the deluxe suite earning the crown for its opulence), elaborate patterned rugs and velvet features put this region’s creative side on display. With the theatre of it all found at the open-air dining experience and souk stall of Al Hadheerah; for a coming together through the taste buds and twinkling stars.

Seemingly arid yet filled to the brim with personality, this sandy playground’s possibilities come alive with every step of grain beneath your feet. Bringing the whole brood together from sunrise to sunset with its nomadic-inspired activities. Thrill seekers get to grips with exploring the land by camel and horseback, while fireside-friends learn about coffee customs from local Emiratis. Elsewhere, couples that prefer to add strings to their bow make headway for the traditional practice of falconry and fat bike safaris.

Travel notes:

  • 115 rooms and suites
  • Wellness offerings inspired by Moorish traditions, drawing heat and healing from the surrounding dunes for rejuvenating treatments
  • Open-air dining and live entertainment at Al Hadheerah, with signature restaurant Zala dishing up Arabic and eastern Mediterranean cuisines and Anwā serving pan-Asian dishes 
  • Kids club including a pool, outdoor sand adventure playground and children’s zip line
  • A plethora of activities for every pace, including guided walks or 4x4 tours to spot desert wildlife, off-roading experiences, archery and yoga classes 
  • A perfect twin with a city stay, Dubai is just 45-minutes away

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When to visit Dubai

Dubai experiences high temperatures throughout the year with minimal rainfall. The best time to visit is between October and March when it is cooler. During the summer months temperatures rise considerably, whilst hotel rates are at their lowest and offers are most attractive.

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