Located just a short 65km drive outside of Downtown Dubai, the Al Maha eco retreat is such a departure from the bustling city life of sky-high towers and bright lights, it could be a different planet all together. Upon entering the grounds of the stunning scorched red-sand eco estate, one is effortlessly and gradually lulled into a state of pure calm before even reaching the unimposing main buildings.

The journey through the protected reserve reveals healthy populations of indigenous desert gazelles, flora and fauna and the iconic Arabian oryx looking very much at home in the luxury destination, not least because it is their home. The ground is speckled with hearty desert plants that add a rugged hint of wilderness to the textured terrain. Date palms and trees stand proudly as the backdrop to the breathtaking landscape. 

The accommodation is unassuming from the exterior, designed to resemble the nomadic tents that would have housed the populations of transient travellers who used to roam this expansive desert. The buildings have been intentionally contained within the curve of the horizon to preserve the proportions as nature created them. 

The resort is made up of 42 opulent, independent suites in a scale – Bedouin, Royal, Emirates and Presidential. Every suite is accompanied by a private oasis pool, these become larger up the scale with the Presidential Suite boasting a 10m x 8m pool. Don’t be surprised if an oryx strides up to nibble on the foliage surrounding the pool, as you enjoy a dip off your private wooden sun deck, they roam freely around the grounds and often approach the suites. The sanctuary of nature is beautifully balanced with the interior luxury that achieves everything you could wish for with beautiful simplicity. A custom made king-size bed creates the centrepiece of the room, fitted with the most sumptuous pristine white linens. The bathroom offers a double sink vanity with the welcoming option of either a walk-in rain shower or a kingsize bath tub for relaxing soak.

The terrace bar offers a new perspective to enjoy views of the surrounding beauty, offering a comprehensive list of cocktails and beverages to sip at sun down. Just below is the all-organic Al Diwaan restaurant, overseen by executive chef David Miras, who has created a captivating fine dining menu with influences from the east and west, using the finest organic ingredients. In-suite dining is also available upon request for guests who truly want to escape from it all and enjoy the quiet peace of their private suite (which Buro 24/7 recommends whole-heartedly.)

The Al Maha experience is enough to induce absolute zen to even the most stressed guests, and yet there is more – the Timeless Spa. The on-site spa keeps with the Arabian interior design, blending in some well matched Balinese batik. The resort caters to more adventurous guests as well, with activity options that range from wild-life drives and nature walks to full scale desert safaris and horse back trekking. There really is something for everyone. 

It was impossible to leave the sanctuary of this stunning resort, our visit could not have been better and the knowledgable team of wildlife experts and hotel staff (as well as the oryx) made us feel so welcome. The only thing that made leaving bearable, was the knowledge that we were only going a short 65km back to Dubai, which makes it all the easier to plan our return, and it can’t come soon enough...

Al Maha review

Al Maha review

Al Maha review

Al Maha review

Al Maha review

Al Maha review

Discover more at the offical Al Maha website here