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“The Great Escape” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Anantara Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort

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Anantara Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort
5.0 of 5 Resort   |   1 Qasr Al Sarab Road | P.O. Box 131277, Hamim, United Arab Emirates   |  
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Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Hamim
Beirut
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“The Great Escape”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 22, 2013

Stayed here for 3 nights in April, was an amazing escape from the real world. Although it's easily a 3 hour drive from Dubai, as soon as you discover this middle of nowhere resort you forget all about it. The architecture blends beautifully into the surrounding, the staff is very friendly and the views are stunning. You could easily feel like you're in a scene of an old desert movie. Sunset on the dunes and the traditional dinner is definitely a highlight.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wael_Soueid, General Manager at Anantara Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort, responded to this review, April 24, 2013
Dear fadimr,

We are flattered and pleased by your review about your recent stay.

We were naturally delighted to know that you enjoyed your visit and thank you very much for giving us the opportunity to provide you our best services and hospitality.

We are grateful for your support and do hope that we may have the pleasure of your company once again at Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara in the future.


Best regards,

Wael Soueid
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,404 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (343)
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Oxford, England
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 21, 2013

We spent 4 days here as a family of four and loved it. The setting has to be one of the most beautiful places we have ever stayed - to be surrounded by sand-dunes was a constant surprise and delight.
Our rooom - we had a villa - was wonderful - probably the best room / villa we have ever stayed in. Everything was high quality and our own plunge pool was pristine and much needed in the heat !
The staff were attentive, helpful and welcoming. We took an amazing sand dune buggy trip and it was brilliant - exciting, fun and a little bit scary !
Our only complaint would be that the food quality did not match the overall standard of the hotel - we were always a bit disappointed by the food standard - we tried every restaurant and were always left a little disappointed. Howeve, this did not spoil what was a wonderful stay.
I did both sunset and sunrise yoga - which was on the dunes - and was a unique experience and a real highlight.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wael_Soueid, General Manager at Anantara Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort, responded to this review, April 23, 2013
Dear Tri4life,

Thank you for your review. Your feedback is very valuable and we truly appreciate sharing it with us.

Our aim is to ensure guest satisfaction and your comment on food quality are extremely vital to us and will put them to consideration as we constantly improve our Food and Beverage offerings.

In the meantime, assuring you of our continued care and attention at all times and look forward to be at your service once again.

Yours sincerely,

Wael Soueid
General Manager
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Berlin, Germany
Top Contributor
66 reviews 66 reviews
66 hotel reviews
Reviews in 58 cities Reviews in 58 cities
45 helpful votes 45 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 21, 2013

If you think about staying at Qasr Al Sarab you have to be aware of two things. One, it is minimum - unless you can afford a helicopter - a two hour drive from Abu Dhabi and second your wallet should not be empty, the whole stay is far away from being cheap.

But, if you go for it: its worth it, its a life-time experience. 200 km straight, followed by 5 km up the mountains you end up in desert paradise. Check in is so smooth, a guide shows you the way to your room, explains everything, already arriving is a pleasure for itself. The hotel is like an old arabic fort, luxurious in every way, the rooms including bathroom are comfortable and very much appropriate for the location.

Getting around is so simple, you just call a buggy and there you go. One of the drivers even showed us around the whole hotel ground, never giving us the feeling that anything would be too much. Service at its best. This includes all pool butlers and everybody in all restaurants.

The hotel offers several restaurant facilities, we choose the Ghadeer restaurant, which was good but not extraordinary. It offers more italian / mediterranean style cuisine where you can sit outside.

The hotel offers lots of desert related activities, even experiencing the "calm of the desert" or a simple walk on the sand dunes is fascinating. enjoying the sunset in the desert, seeing the different colours of sand, hotel, dunes etc is worth going there.

In the morning, you can enjoy breakfast. WHAT a breakfast buffet. We are travelling a lot, we are staying in different kind of hotels, we have never experienced such an amazing breakfast buffet. The coice, the quality, the variety, for all different kind of tastes, this is amazing. The rating excellent is not enough for this rich buffet.

All in all, staying in Qasr Al Sarab is a wonderful life-time exprience, never forget where you are: in the middle of nowhere. But there you are treated like a royal, in the lap of luxury, provided with food and drinks of good quality and compensated with fantastic views and amazing desert feelings.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wael_Soueid, General Manager at Anantara Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort, responded to this review, April 23, 2013
Dear TDBBerlin,

I appreciate the time you took to post your fantastic review.

Indeed we are very happy to know that you thoroughly enjoyed your stay with us. It is always a pleasure when guest take the time to commend the hotel.

It was thoughtful of you to inform us of your comments about your dining experience at Ghadeer Restaurant as we strive to enhance our food and beverage quality and varieties.

Thank you sincerely for your continuous support to Qasr Al Sarab and looking forward to welcoming you once again.

Best regards,

Wael Soueid
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Simon's Town, South Africa
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 19, 2013

Our stay at Qasr Al Sarab was amazing, it was very hard to leave! Was tranquil and away from city noise and lights. The time we spent there felt like a fairytale dream and you never want to wake up!!!! Staff were so friendly and helpful. Food was wonderful!

There are so many activities if you need to keep busy, or just relax at the main pool, feel like a queen or king or princess or prince and order cocktails!!! Lots to do for the kids as well, kids can be left with reliable child minders while you enjoy the spa!

I hope we return one day!!!! Thanks Qasr Al Sarab, Abu Dhabi we stayed in September 2011 for 4 beautiful heavenly nights. Tripadviser's travel dates only drops to 2012!

Room Tip: A villa with private pool is the best choice especially with the family.
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wael_Soueid, General Manager at Anantara Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort, responded to this review, April 21, 2013
Dear MSPLAYDON,

Thank you for staying with us and for your superb review.

Your kind comments are greatly appreciated. Customer care is amongst our highest priorities and it is always gratifying to receive such praise. Please be assured that your excellent comments will be shared to the rest of Qasr Al Sarab team.

In the meantime, should your travel plans bring you back to Abu Dhabi, we will be pleased to welcome you again at Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara.

Best regards,

Wael Soueid
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hanoi, Vietnam
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 16, 2013

Leaving the main road to get to the resort is already feeling like entering another world.
The landscape and surroundings are sumptuous.
The resort is like a small arabian city without being tacky. The rooms are spacious and well made.
You still feel guilty filling up the giant bath tub in a place without any water.
Even if the complex is huge, you never feel like being in a crowd and you can happily enjoy the peace of the desert.
The service is excellent and you will always have somebody giving you a fresh bottle of water when you need one.
Staff and ammenities are at the level of a five star hotel.
The spa with the ice room is a must.
Don't hesitate to ask to visit other rooms or the villas.
It is even better during summer when the hotel is almost empty and you can easily cool off at the shaded pool waiting for the sunset.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wael_Soueid, General Manager at Anantara Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort, responded to this review, April 21, 2013
Dear Philippe L,

Thank you most sincerely for your review following your recent stay.

It is always a great encouragement and motivation for our teams to hear about guest satisfaction which is our main concern.

I thank you again for your valued patronage and I hope we will soon have the pleasure of welcoming you once again at Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara.

Best regards,

Wael Soueid
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manama, Bahrain
Top Contributor
67 reviews 67 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
91 helpful votes 91 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 15, 2013

Last weekend my family of 5 (2 adults, three children aged 7, 5 and 14 months) spent three unbelievable fabulous nights at the Qasr Al-Sarab desert resort :) We booked a two bedroom private pool villa, which exceeded our expectations. Very spacious and clean, comfortable beds and the type of pillows so soft you just slowly sink into and never want to get out of haha :) The views are beautiful, and the outside pool was very private, so nobody can really see you :) In our private villa there was a spacious study room, a small kitchenette, a TV in every room, and two bathrooms. Btw the bathroom was amazing! Super large, overhead rain shower with plenty of hot water, and the biggest tub we had EVER seen. Our whole family were able to fit in there with room to spare!!

Its approximately 2.5 hours drive from Abu Dhabi, and we arrived around 4pm (check in was at 3pm). Staff was very friendly and welcoming upon arrival. We were offered complimentary drinks as we waited for them to check us in. At first we were a little disappointed when we were told that our villa wasnt ready yet. We took the children to the Kids Club so they could play, and at past 5pm our villa still wasnt ready. So they offered us a complimentary dinner that night at their buffet restaurant which certainly made up for it! Almost 800AED value for free! We really appreciated that :))

The buggy service to the villas is really prompt and swift. Everybody was really nice. During our stay we received other complimentary things in our room - a complimentary fruit basket, a complimentary plate of Arabian sweets and dates, and on our last night there, we received a complimentary plate of 4 different candies and sweets for the kids! Also, when hubby and I went to have mocktails at the rooftop restaurant, they gave us a small platter of complimentary food! Such wonderful service and we really enjoyed all the free stuff :))

During our time there, we tried the camel trek rides, hubby tried archery, hubby and I both got two massages each at the Spa there (HIGHLY RECOMMEND), the children got to play at Kids Club a few times, and we spent lots of time lounging at the pool and ate/drank at the poolside cafe too :)) We dined at three restaurants there - the main one with the buffet, the restaurant close to the pool, and the rooftop one. All had great food, polite and professional service...even if it was on the pricey side. The 'cheapest' restaurant of the three was the one near the pool :)

We had a babysitter come in two times during our stay so hubby and I could spend a few hours alone either getting a massage or having dinner :) Each time they ladies were friendly and nice :)) Hubby also used the gym a few times, and he said its really good.

Overall, it was a fabulous holiday and I was really sad to leave!! I foresee us coming back again sometime in the near future! :)) Thanks Qasr Al Sarab for a great time!

**Negatives:

1. Things are expensive there. Expect that. :)
2. The pool at our private villa is fairly deep, so if you're children cannot swim, just be mindful of that.


**Tips:

1. Book your activities in advance. Many people fall into the trap of waiting til they arrive to try and book only to find out its all booked out. We booked our massages, camel trek rides and the archery in advance. You can do this via email to the resort directly. Be sure to confirm your bookings at the Activity Centre upon check in :)

2. If you are a Muslim male wanting to get a massage (like my husband), please note that there is only ONE male masseur that works at the spa and he gets booked out quickly, so make sure you book ahead of time to be able to get him at a time and day that you want :)

3. If you have intention to walk up the sand dune, don't wait until the last day to do it - in case you get hit by a sandstorm and cannot go up. This was our biggest regret that we put off the walk up the massive sand dune that overlooks the resort until the last day...but on the last day there was a sandstorm brewing so we were advised not to go up. So dont put that off and get it done as soon as you can :)

4. Even though we thought going on a weekday would be cheaper, the rate per room was actually more expensive during the week! So we were able to go Thursday-Sunday :) So be sure to do some research before u book, as going on a Monday or Tuesday may not necessarily be cheaper!

5. If you have a young family like us, the most family friend restaurants was the buffet one and the one next to the pool. If you go to the buffet restaurant (Waha Restaurant I think it was called), then make a reservation for an early time before it gets super busy. Our kids generally eat early, so we made a 6pm reservation which is when it opens. We got fresh dibs on EVERYTHING being served, not to mention we were able to get a private room at the back where you can close the doors. Also there is not a lot of people in the restaurants that time so if your kids play up, there's not alot of folks around, mainly other families with small children :)

6. Try to get to the resort pool area early as the seats and the umbrellas get taken quickly. The BEST position to sit (according to us with a small family) is directly opposite the small spa pool with the heated water. You have access to the heated pool, the kids pool and the big pool :)

7. The camel trek ride doesnt allow kids under 4 years old. So if you have other small children who want to go, just break up the days when one parent goes with a child. Thats what my husband and I did - I went with one son one day, and the next day my husband went with another son :) Its a really fun experience :)

8. At first I was going to pay for the desert dune walk, but to be honest, you can do it on your own. Ask a buggy driver to drive you to the back of the resort where the path is as close to the sand dunes as possible and just got for your own trek on the smaller dunes :) Beautiful opportunities for desert photography :))

9. Even though you check out at 12pm - you are still allowed to use the hotel facilities! Yay! So after we checked out at 12pm, hubby and I left our children with a babysitter at the Kids Club, and went for our second massages :)



Recommendations:

* Book a massage. Such professional service everywhere, with authentic Thai women who give the Thai massages. Felt so relaxed, fell asleep both times I got my massages haha

* Drinks or dinner at the roof top restaurant as the sun is setting. Gorgeous views at that time of hour! We went around 5pm and we had the WHOLE terrace to ourselves!!! :))

Honestly - highly recommend this resort to everyone! :D What a fab experience! x

Room Tip: Read my review above for all the good tips :))
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wael_Soueid, General Manager at Anantara Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort, responded to this review, April 21, 2013
Dear Tigorbear,

Thank you for your review about your recent visit.

I was very pleased to learn how much you and your family enjoyed your stay with us and would like to thank you for letting us know how impressed your were with the accommodation and service received.

On the other note, I was sorry to learn that you were only able to check in after 5pm. My sincere apologies for the inconvenience this caused you.

I hope this incident did not spoil your good impression about Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort and I am looking forward to welcoming you again soon.

Best regards,

Wael Soueid
General Manager
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Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 15, 2013

This hotel can well and truly be described as an oasis - it is miles from anywhere and it is incredible to to imagine how it was built. In fact that is it's charm - it is a quiet getaway spa hotel to spend a few days relaxing in. At least this is why we went and it fit the bill perfectly.

The hotel itself is amazing, the location is a picturesque as a desert can be, the service is excellent, and the room (we took a deluxe desert view) was luxurious, comfortable and quiet.

The pool area was beautiful, and a great place to spend the day.

However there are a few niggles that stop it from getting that elusive fifth star. Firstly the food and drink is very expensive - 450 AED for steak is steep by anyone's standards. In fact the published prices in the menus do not include 16% tax unlike any other places I have been to - so the 450 AED steak is in fact nearly 550. Secondly there really isn't anything to do the other than relax. The few bars there are are pretty dull and being so remote it is impossible to go out of an evening. Finally I found the food options a bit limited. Of an evening there is a buffet, a grill and a Mediterranean place. A nice selection but in fact I found the menus quite small and fairly uninspiring (apart from the price).

Would I go back - for sure! Probably for a special occasion only! Other than it's location there isn't much here that you can't find in a resort hotel in Dubai or Abu Dhabi.

Room Tip: One of the packages at this hotel gives you an upgraded room and discount on all food & drink an...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wael_Soueid, General Manager at Anantara Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort, responded to this review, April 21, 2013
Dear Kevinsoutham,

Thank you for your review about your recent stay.

We are appreciate your constructive comments in particular the Food & Beverage menu varieties and prices. I am pleased to share your observation with our Food & Beverage and Culinary Team as they review menus and prepare new dining experiences.

I hope this will not prevent you from choosing Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort for your future stays in Abu Dhabi and I am looking forward to the pleasure of welcoming you again soon.

Best regards,

Wael Soueid
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Anantara Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort

Address: 1 Qasr Al Sarab Road | P.O. Box 131277, Hamim, United Arab Emirates
Location: United Arab Emirates > Emirate of Abu Dhabi > Liwa Oasis > Hamim
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Hamim
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Anantara Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort 5*
Number of rooms: 206
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Where mystic charm, cultural passion and unparalleled luxury evoke distinctive memories. Set in the middle of the Rub' al Khali or Empty Quarter, the largest uninterrupted body of sand in the world, Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resorts by Anantara is isolated from the world, yet is less than 200km away from Abu Dhabi. The resort brings the mysticism of this eminent location to life, inviting you to discover the unique appeal of its surroundings. Enjoy an array of facilities and immerse yourself in the wonderful splendour of an eternally changing landscape. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort By Anantara Hotel Abu Dhabi

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