Jude Dobson checks into the Bab Al Shams Desert Resort and Spa, in Dubai.


It's 45 minutess from central Dubai, UAE. Al Qudra Rd, Opposite Endurance City.

The building: Set into the desert landscape, it's low-rise (one or two storeys) and built to resemble an Arabian Fort. Large infinity pool with desert view. Lots of little walkways opening out on to tranquil outdoor seating areas with dipping pools.


Check in experience: Excellent. The reception area set the scene for what was to come, with little cosy Arabian nooks and a platter of welcome drinks from attentive staff.

Room: There are 113 rooms and suites. Our two interconnecting rooms were perfect for a family. A feeling of a relaxing oasis in the desert as soon as you walk in the door.

Price: Their website quotes standard room for $641 a night. I waited for booking.com where there was 50 per cent off.

What's so good about this place? The buildings, facilities and staff are all top-notch, and the desert is right there.

And the bad? Costly!

Decor: Rustic Arabian - think plastered walls, dark wood, artefacts, mats and cushions in rich colours; dimmed large lamps.

Wi-Fi: Free everywhere.

Bed: Huge, comfortable, feather pillowed and turned down at night with chocolates left behind.


Bathroom: Gorgeous. Huge shower you step up into so you feel like you're in your own Aladdin's cave of sorts. Free, Arabian-styled toiletries.

Food and beverage: There are four restaurants and two rooftop bars. Start the day with the option of camel milk on the cereal in the outstanding breakfast buffet and end it with cocktails at the rooftop bar, as you watch the sun go down on the desert. The Al Hadheerah Desert Restaurant (a 10-minute walk away) is expensive, but a must do. A village street-type entrance opens to an amazing, under-the-stars smorgasbord. The Arabian nights theme for decor and food continues with entertainment as you eat, complete with Arabian music, dancers, camels and horses.

Entertainment: Gazing at the desert from the infinity pool was entertaining, however an activities team can book things less sedentary. We booked a two-hour camel ride in the early morning and a safari jeep ride at the end of day (when it was cooler) Both recommended. Falconry is on offer too, and for the small people there's Aladdin's Kids Club. The 18-year-old son got picked up to go sand-dune motorbike riding through an external company - an unforgettable experience.

Exercise facilities: Ah well, that's not my thing - and possibly not a priority here either.

Staff: Extremely attentive.

Perfect for: A treat if you want to tick the "desert" box in style and escape the city.

In a nutshell: A 5-star destination hotel, this hotel is a luxury oasis in the desert.