Desert Decadence

2 minute read

Dubai lures visitors not only with its year-round sunshine and superlatives — a “seven-star” hotel, the biggest theme park — but also its over-the-top luxury. Heck, even living like a bedouin can be a deluxe experience. Al Maha is set in the 225-sq-km Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve — 5% of the emirate’s total land area — and is designed to resemble a bedouin camp. Endangered Arabian oryx (al maha in Arabic), desert foxes and gazelle meander around the grounds and, if you’re lucky, quench their thirst in your own private pool. The spa and airy suites have gorgeous views of the desert, and there are easels, paper and pastels for those who want to capture that exact shade of sand (golden, ocher or russet, depending on the time of day). A dedicated field guide, one of three staff assigned to each suite, helps you choose activities, from falconry to horseback riding to nature walks. The four-wheel desert drive is a must for all but the most queasy — the dunes are high and the incline steep — and the late afternoon camel trek, perfectly timed to watch the sun sink into the sand, shouldn’t be missed. Even after a few days in the desert, you won’t be ready to move on with the herd like the bedouins of yore.

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