Seeking an escape from the city? Opt for complete privacy and gaze out across the UAE’s still desert from the cool water of a palatially-sized private pool
The Ritz Carlton’s Al Wadi Desert has served as an escape from the city for the UAE’s most discerning guests for a good few years. Tucked away in the middle of the desert and certainly off the beaten track, what is it that gives this bolthole its legendary status and makes it such a dream staycation destination? We’ll start with the obvious.
The private villas are palatial, showstopping, and each tell a story in their design; the beauty of the Arabian desert has been a secret of the Bedouins for thousands of years and through elegant Arabic décor, intricate lattice woodwork, traditional tented roofs and hero views of the dunes, guests can experience the splendour of desert life.
Check in to either the Al Sahari or Al Khaimah villas where a king-sized bed faces out towards the sand and an impressive soaking bath has been assigned its own quarters – you’d be forgiven for wasting away an entire afternoon immersed in water with a good read. Outside, the private swimming pool is long enough for morning laps and the double day bed comfortable enough for afternoon’s spent doing absolutely nothing.
Accommodation aside, what a wealth there is to write home about. For the adventure seeker, the equestrian centre offers sunrise and sunset rides across the Arabian desert; once-in-a-lifetime (at least for those not fortunate enough to own their own stables) and picture perfect. Nature walks, night walks and stargazing are also on the agenda (should you want to leave the ease of your villa).
In dining, the seasonal farm-to-table menu at the Farmhouse includes hearty favourites such as lobster bisque, Josper baked salmon and 12 hour oak wood smoked short rib. If the temperature allows, request aperitifs on the terrace followed by dinner inside where earthy interiors – wood, black metal and textured red brick walls all work together to provide a natural open space – momentarily whisk you away to the British countryside.
More surprising though is the totally unpretentious service and laid-back atmosphere that accompanies it. At Moorish, Morocco meets the Middle East with Mediterranean twists on local favourites, while the Moon Bar is the perfect spot for sundowners.
In short? Come for a night and end up staying the entire weekend. The atmosphere is relaxed, villas are on the right side of decadent and the cuisine could rival Dubai’s fabled hotspots (prepare to indulge at every possible opportunity). For reservations, visit Ritzcarlton.com