5 Stars in the Desert – Qasr al Sarab Desert Resort

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After ten long weeks of training in the United Arab Emirates, I should have been sick of the desert and the heat.  I had six days of vacation and could go anywhere in the world.  I selected to stay in the UAE and finish exploring the country.  Originally, I had planned to spend all six days in Dubai.  But after a weekend in Dubai during my training, I had done most everything on the Dubai to-do list.  I started looking for something else to do in the UAE.  I came across the Qasr al Sarab Desert Resort.

Qasr al Sarab Desert Resort is a 5-star resort is in located in the Liwa desert.  Liwa is located the Empty Quarter near the Saudi Arabia border.  The resort offers dune bashing, camel trekking, and many other desert activities.  This is definitely more my style than a couple days in the Dubai.

Qasr al Sarab Desert Resort - Empty Quarter
The Empty Quarter

It had been over seven months since I had last driven a car, so I decided to try my hand at driving in the UAE.  I picked up my rental car in Abu Dhabi and made the two-hour drive to the Empty Quarter.  It is really empty.  Qasr al Sarab Desert Resort put up signs along the route so it’s easy to find the resort.  The resort is a couple of miles off the main road.  I made the turn off the main road and drove into the desert.  I just kept driving through the dunes until I got my first sighting of the resort.   It sits in the desert like a Middle Ages Moorish fort.

Qasr al Sarab Desert Resort
Qasr al Sarab Desert Resort

I drove into the central courtyard and was greeted by a valet who took my car and bags.  I was shown into the great hall.  We bypassed the reception and I was seated in the main sitting room.  The far wall is made of windows and provides a view of the sand dunes.  I gave the hostess my passport so she could get me checked in.  While I waited, I was presented with Liwa dates and a camel milk smoothie.  The drink was a fresh camel milk mixed with ground Liwa dates.  This was my first taste of camel milk.  The drink was a sweet smoothie with a hint of spice.

Qasr al Sarab Desert Resort - Camel Milk and Dates
Camel Milk and Dates

I booked a Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort Short Breaks Special Package which included breakfast, a free drink, and 20% discount on dining.  Even after selecting the cheapest room Deluxe Garden Room, the garden attached to its base was ever so beautiful, with its teak memorial benches. Due to a small technical issue with the website, I was presented with an upgrade to the Deluxe Terrace Room.  I was escorted to my room.  It was the size of my apartment in college with a huge bathroom, king sized bed and a patio big enough to hold a BBQ.

Qasr al Sarab Desert Resort
The bed in my room
Qasr al Sarab Desert Resort
The Patio

I got settled into my room and went down to the pool for a relaxing afternoon by the pool.  I had a club sandwich and a mint lemonade.  After a relaxing lunch, I picked up a towel and split my time between the pool and sunbathing while reading my book. The patio had all sorts of great products that anyone would want on theirs. As the sun got lower, I checked my time.  As relaxing as reading my book it was time to get dressed for my camel ride.

Qasr al Sarab Desert Resort
The Pool

I was met in the great hall by our guide.  He drove us into the desert where we met the camels and the camel wrangler.  We got a quick “How to ride a camel”.  It focused on how to sit while the camel stands up and then lays down.  I was introduced to my camel for the evening Jamal.

Qasr al Sarab Desert Resort
Jamal and I

After the camel ride, we were served traditional Arabic coffee, tea, and sweets while watching the sunset from the top of one of the dunes. After our snack, we headed back to the resort.  On the way back, our guide informed us that this desert was used to film the Tatooine scenes in Star Wars.

Qasr al Sarab Desert Resort
Sunset over the Empty Quarter

I spent the rest of the evening, reading a book at watching the stars from my terrace.  The next morning I got up early for a hike up one of the dunes to watch the sunrise.  After an early morning nap, I walked over the main building and had a breakfast and more of that camel milk smoothie.  After that, I took advantage of the resorts archery range.

Qasr al Sarab Desert Resort
Trying my hand at archery

I enjoyed another afternoon by the pool and dinner on my terrace.  I was picked up at my room for a night time desert hike.  The wind was blowing, but the sky was clear.  The stars were out in force and I could see the Milky Way.

Again, I awoke before sunrise.  This time for a private dune bashing tour.  Basically, I got to ride in a car as in drove up and down the dunes.  Dune bashing is best done on an empty stomach.  Towards the end of the trip, I started feeling a little motion sick.

Qasr al Sarab Desert Resort
Driving down the dune

After a relaxing nap on the patio and a light breakfast, it was time for my time at Qasr al Sarab Desert Resort to end.  I drove away knowing that a second visit to Qasr al Sarab Desert Resort was in my future.

Have you ever had a weekend somewhere similar to Qasr al Sarab Desert Resort?

5 stars in the desert

25 thoughts on “5 Stars in the Desert – Qasr al Sarab Desert Resort”

  1. Wow, I never saw such a beautiful place in the middle of the desert.
    I want to go there to stay at least a week between those ancient looking walls.

    1. The resort isn’t a movie set but the desert around is used for the desert in Star Wars movies.

  2. I’d love to take a desert adventure like this one–especially riding a camel! It looks like you had a blast. I’ve never visited UAE, but I’ll keep this resort in mind for whenever I do head that way. 🙂

    1. You only live once and it’s totally working trying. The moon photo is one of my favorite.

  3. This looks amazing, and camel trekking is super high on my bucket list…camel milk, perhaps not as high as the trek itself, but hey, I’ll take what I can get :D!

    1. Try the camel milk. It will not kill you and you might be surprised. I will admit, I never tried the milk with dates.

    1. The dunes are great unless you get motion sickness. If you do, I don’t blame you for not wanting to do it.

  4. Wow! The resort looks amazing and I loved all the activities you did. I don’t have an experience like this but I would love to in the future,

  5. Wow talk about a different sort of adventure! I haven’t really been to a desert before so to see the pictures and what it’s like to stay in the desert is really interesting. I’m so used to being in the jungle that staying in a resort in the desert sounds foreign to me. But it looks really awesome – the dune bashing is something my boyfriend would LOVE!

    1. I am like you, I am a jungle and mountain girl. I had never really considered a resort as a desert, but six days in Dubai was going to bore me. The desert can hold as much interest as a jungle. It was a relaxing and fun adventure. Dune bashing is an adrenalin rush.

  6. The hotel is awesome! Just like a jewel rising out of the desert floor…an oasis complete with a pool! Inside it looks like a luxurious desert experience. You chose well! Camel millk and dates sounds like a winning combination, too!

    1. It was amazing. I was very suspicious of camel milk. I am really glad I tried it. I drank it with breakfast and as desert for my entire time at the resort.

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