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Surrounded by a sea of sand

Abu Dhabi’s most adventurous and dramatic hotel venture

Sep 13, 2009

One date, many occasions competing for your attention. October 25 has been set for the opening of Abu Dhabi’s most adventurous and dramatic hotel venture.

The Qasr al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara is the first hotel to be built in the Rub’ al Khali, the so-called Empty Quarter that is the largest uninterrupted stretch of desert in the world.

The challenges of building a luxury hotel in an area without any of the infrastructure are almost unimaginable, but the project has apparently come in comfortably on time.

The Tourism Development and Investment Committee (TDIC) confirmed the launch date to me this week ahead of what’s bound to be a big promotional push for what promises to be the Emirates’ most desirable tourism destination.

Nowhere else can offer the same combination of heritage, spectacular scenery and luxury – and all within 90 minutes of the capital. Anantara is promising five-star service in the desert and I have yet to see anything more than pictures but, frankly, even if it didn’t fulfil expectations, it is hard to see how the project can fail.

The Liwa region is defined by both its Bedouin tradition and its its geography. In places the sand dunes are four times the height of the Tower of Pisa, and desert treks can be mixed with 21st-century comforts of private pools, a spa that offers exfoliating sand scrubs and a hammam, personal butlers and a children’s club.

The resort is designed to resemble an old desert fortress only the 196 rooms and villas are fitted out with the latest technology – high-speed Wi Fi, iPod docking stations and DVD players.

The manager will be Didier Tourneboeuf, the French national who was poached from Le Royal Méridien in Abu Dhabi.

A double room at the resort will cost from US$537 (Dh1,972), including breakfast and taxes. There is also a promotional package being offered online: stay three nights and the fourth is complimentary.

 Abu Dhabi’s most adventurous and dramatic hotel venture

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