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“A dream” 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
Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
245 helpful votes 245 helpful votes
“A dream”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 2, 2013

Unbelievable setting, great architecture, the service is excellent. We will definitely go there again. The kids liked the desert activities specially archery, and camel riding.

You have to keep the curtains open when you sleep and wake up with the natural light of sunrise, it is phenomenal.

Room Tip: Deluxe room with terrace
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  • Stayed May 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
    • 4 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, July 7, 2013
Dear George C,

Thank you for your wonderful review about your recent stay.

It was a pleasure to note how much you and your family enjoyed your visit with us. We truly appreciate you sharing your amazing experience in particular the excellent service and hospitality extended to you by our associates. Please be assured that such remarkable comment will be passed on to the rest of the team.

Meanwhile, our sincere thanks for your continuous support and we are glad to hear that you intend to stay with Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara once more.

We look forward to welcoming you back to the resort soon.

Best regards,

Wael Soueid
General Manager
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1,398 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    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 (342)
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English first
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 29, 2013

Firstly, the location listed on Google Maps is incorrect. Please follow the directions listed on Qasr Al Sarabs website ONLY. We spent most of our day getting there and once we did, we straight went in for a massage. The last appointment was at 8:30 so we took it. The massage was mediocre, the staff seemed to be in a rush which was a big put off. They waited for us right outside the changing room once the massage was over. We were offered tea only after we reached the reception area and after being asked if the buggy could be called for us. The spa shuts at 10, the massage was for 90 minutes. It was a weekday, they were idle all day as stated by our therapists. So why the rush? What happened to the Anantara standard of customer service! I paid for it. The buggy drivers on the other hand, even though they sweated it out, were the nicest! They were happy to show us around, with a smile on their face. After the massage, we headed straight for dinner. We called to confirm if we could come in to Ghadeer since the last order was supposed to be at 10. They still said we were welcome. Upon reaching (within 2 minutes of that confirmation) and wanting to order a particular item on the menu, they said it would take 20 minutes. We said we didn't mind waiting but were told they wanted to close. Really!!? We drive for 4 hours to reach you, get a massage and force ourselves to feel great about it cause we already spent on it and now have to settle on something we don't want to eat cause you wanted us to come in and play host to quick fixes only? Left overs too please, why not? Ps. I had a stomach upset the next day. Moreover, I must mention, at the time of the online reservation, I requested for a late check out and was told to request upon check in. I did that but since it was late evening already, they asked us to check for availability next morning. Did that and the receptionist said they have already assigned the room to somebody else and we would have to check out at noon. (it was a weekday btw and the buggy driver had already told us the occupancy rate at the time was only 30% at the very most!!) I have been to other properties by Anantara and this by far was the worst "luxury resort" or even 5 star experience EVER. With such bad service, the view didn't even seem worth it. (and the view is breath taking, you can tell by the pictures). Never Again. There are way too many other resorts that are not almost into Saudi Arabia, that offer the desert experience and make you feel truly welcome to offer luxury you well deserve for every penny spent. Somebody else mentioned, the buggy drivers, cleaners, etc are so warm, welcoming and well trained that its much of a contrast as compared to the callous staff who work indoors. Also, this review was sent to them via email right after the horrible experience we had, but I have not been contacted by anyone from the resort.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
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, July 2, 2013
Dear Anonymous R,

We appreciate your candid review about your stay and once again we would like to extend our sincere apologies for all the difficulties and inconvenience you encountered.

Further to our yesterday’s conversation, it will be our pleasure to invite you back to the hotel once more and give us another chance to show to you true Anantara hospitality.

We are looking forward to being of service to you again soon and in the meantime, ensuring you our continuous care and attention, we remain.

Yours sincerely,

Wael Soueid
General Manager
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Sydney, Australia
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 27, 2013

I want to start with a negative, because that seems to be the way to write a review on this site.....However, i can't!!
If you have not been to Abu Dhabi before you will be a little bit wary on the drive out to Qasr Al Sarab. Its flat, sandy and not too appealing. After about a hr an a half you notice the terrain starts to change and you get a little excited....
When the resort becomes visible amongst the sand dunes, you freeze with amazement! Nothing is half done in terms of style and architecture.
Upon your arrival you are greeted with staff who sit you down in a beautifully styled open area and given local beverages.
The rooms are simply stunning, no matter which room you are in. The food was quite good, though i would have liked a bit more local selections on the menu, rather than so much western food.
The day we arrived we organised to do the desert sunset walk that night. Not knowing what to expect, we all met in the library with other hotel guests to a warm and passionate tour guide ready for an adventure. We set out in our 4x4 for 5min into the dunes, then set out into the wilderness. Once at the top of the peak we watched the sunset go down (AMAZING) Shortly after we made our way down the foothills to a campstyle set up, where we were welcomed with coffee and fresh dates. A fantastic way to finish the walk. I highly recommend this activity. Not only is it really affordable, but simply amazing and breath taking.

All in all this is one of the best resorts i have been too. It ticked all my boxes, and i'm definitely going to come back. No doubt about that!!
10stars!!

  • Stayed June 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
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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, July 3, 2013
Dear lawrence f,

Thank you for taking the time to post your superb review.

I have read with pleasure your positive comments about your amazing experience in particular the Desert Sunset Walk. Moreover, thank you most especially for recognizing the excellent service and hospitality provided to you by our desert adventure guide. It will be a great motivation for the team concerned to hear about your satisfaction and I will not fail to let them know.

On the other hand, your comment about the local dish selection is well received as we review and enhance our Food & Beverage menu variety.

Apart from the points you have mentioned, I do hope that we shall soon have the pleasure of welcoming you back to Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara and should you need assistance for your future reservation, please feel free to contact us.

Yours sincerely,

Wael Soueid
General Manager
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Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 24, 2013

We have just returned from a weekend in Qasr Al Sarab, our second trip. The rooms (even the cheapest option) are fabulous and the service is great. We particularly like the fact there are plenty of restaurants and a swim up pool bar - something that many desert resorts with villas lack.

We went to the signature restaurant for the first time. Although the food was fantastic, the steak was very very expensive. It would be great if they could include some steaks that aren't wagu or 1kg!

We'll definitely be going back again!

  • Stayed June 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
    • 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, June 26, 2013
Dear Rebecca S,

Thank you for your wonderful review about your recent stay. We are happy to hear that you enjoyed your visit once again.

We always welcome not just positive feedback but also constructive comments which we find it extremely valuable and helpful in the continuous improvements of our product and services. Your suggestions have been noted and will be reviewed and discussed with our Food & Beverage and Culinary team accordingly.

We are grateful for your support and very much pleased to hear that you intend to stay with Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara again in the not too distant future.

Yours sincerely,

Wael Soueid
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dubai
Top Contributor
58 reviews 58 reviews
54 hotel reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
83 helpful votes 83 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 21, 2013

The seasoned UAE traveler will immediately start to notice quite a few things that the Qasr al Sarab lacks in comparison to its desert competitors, al Maha and Banyan Tree Al Wadi, as well as the better five stars in Dubai.

First of all is service. Staff is very poorly trained. There are quite a few of them in the lobby area, ready to greet you and walk you to the elevator, but when you need a waiter to bring you your appetizers, you will be in for a wait. There are only two restaurants, one of which is where they also serve breakfast, so even for a three night stay, you may be wanting for more choice - particularly as you will be an hour from any other good dining option. The quality of the food is quite good, but the selection is limited and the prices are outrageous. 400 AED for a 200 gram fillet is a price you will not find in any of Dubai's best steakhouses. The pool is not temperature controlled, or at least it wasn't on a recent stay, which makes an evening dip quite a chilly experience. There are no common spa facilities available to the hotel guest - with the exception of a steam in sauna in the changing rooms adjacent to the gym - unless you opt for a spa treatment.

The rooms are quite spacious, modern and nice, and the gym is fantastic, but a 2.5 hour drive to the desert should have been a bit more "wow". A relaxing and good stay, but no need to come back a second time.

Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
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, June 23, 2013
Dear PhantomTraveler79,

Thank you for your review.

Your feedback is very valuable and truly appreciate sharing it with us. My team and I extends to you our sincere apologies for not being able to wow and impress you. Indeed, it is not what Anantara is proud of. Please be assured that I will personally look into the points you mentioned and ensure that all possible measures will be taken to avoid occurrences in the future. Moreover, I would very much appreciate if you could send me your contact details to enable me to speak with you directly to further discuss your issues offline.

I hope that you will consider to give us another chance to demonstrate to you true Anantara hospitality and we will make sure that this time, your stay goes beyond your expectation.

In the meantime, with my reiterated apologies and assuring you of my continued care and concern in this matter, I remain.

Wael Soueid
General Manager
wsoueid@anantara.com
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Sydney, Australia
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 15, 2013

Wow! This has to be one of the best "experience" hotels in the world. Stunning in every way. The location is incredible, right in the heart of the sandy Liwa Desert, quite literally in the middle of nowhere. Absolutely, gob-smackingly beautiful desert landscapes, and the hotel itself is beautifully decorated with a mix of Arabian and Moroccan fixtures, antiques and lighting. Super romantic place for couples and also good for families.

We had three nights here (they do a good 30% discount deal for staying 3 nights). Very relaxing stay. As you'd expect, it's incredibly hot in summer (45 degrees celsius, dropping to a comparatively cool 33 overnight!), but the rooms are well air-conditioned, the pool is excellent and the heat adds to the experience.

We did the Sunset Camel Trek experience - highly recommended! Would have loved to see the falconry or go for horse rides. Be aware that neither of these are available in summer, because the animals can't cope with the heat. This was not clear on their website when we booked, but it's something to bear in mind.

Food-wise - breakfast buffet is great and the Liwa Lobby bar is excellent for cheap and tasty Arabian style food and mini-burgers. Dinner in Suhail restaurant was a disappointment - great ambience and good service, but the food was VERY overpriced and poor standard. Crab salad was very ordinary and the duck was under cooked and inedible.

If you're coming to Abu Dhabi, I would say this is a must. Admittedly, it's expensive, but you get what you pay for. Highly recommended.

  • Stayed June 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 3
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, June 23, 2013
Dear DevonMcSchnitzel,

I appreciate the time you took to post your review about your recent stay.

I was very pleased to learn how much you enjoyed your visit with us and would like to thank you for letting us know how impressed you were with the accommodation and service except for your dining experience in Suhail Restaurant. My team and I would like to apologize for the inconvenience you encountered. We have failed to be up to your expectation on this particular aspect and your disappointment is not what we aim for. Moreover, your feedback are extremely valuable to us as we strive to continuously improve our Food and Beverage quality and standard in order to match the price that we offer.

In the meantime, we thank you once again for your great appreciation of the resort and valued patronage. We will always welcome the opportunity to be of service to you once more in the not too distant future.

Yours sincerely,

Wael Soueid
General Manager
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Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 10, 2013

We chose this hotel as we wanted the desert experience away from the hustle and bustle of UAE city life. As for desert experience, we weren't disappointed as the location is truly stunning. We weren't prepared for the isolation of the place and quickly realised that most guests were there for a few days or more taking a city break from Abu Dhabi city or Dubai. We stayed for a week and would have preferred to have mixed it up with something nearer to civilisation!

Staff excellent and friendly around the pool, cleaning the room etc. Food glorious. Top tip, go all inclusive unless you have money to burn as the restaurants are very very expensive, your poolside drinks will break the bank and its not like you can nip out to the local restaurant strip for a change of scene.

The first reason I haven't given this superb luxury hotel 5 stars is because of the huge mistake with our bill as we checked out. We had booked fully inclusive but were charged item by item, for all our meals. We were also charged for food that we had by the pool that we had been told was included in our deal -- it wasn't. The whole thing took so long to fix on the evening before our departure that I was reassured that at our 5am departure the bill would be sorted. It was partially sorted and needed further amends, but the real crunch came when we arrived home and the hotel had extracted both our holding deposit and the entire hotel bill from my bank account. This took several days to fix and we received no apology for this mistake -- my bank account was unusable until the hotel could refund me this sizeable amount of money -- over £3000.

The second reason I cannot rate this as five stars was because we paid for an expensive airport transfer to and from from Dubai airport. The driver was very friendly and made sure our son's car seat was adequately fitted, however, he must have thought he was Lewis Hamilton as he took many chances on the road. On the way back to the airport I had to ask him to slow down as we were driving in thick fog and he was overtaking at 80mph. It was truly terrifying.

To end on a good note though, the desert tour guide that took us out for a morning -- Jalal -- was quite superb and really tailored our trip to what we had said we were interested in. The staff in the Kids Club couldn't have been kinder or more helpful, as were the chefs in the buffet restaurant.

Room Tip: Go full board, buffet is superb and it will work out much cheaper.
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
    • 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
    • 3 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, June 13, 2013
Dear PatsyFandango,

Thank you for taking the time to post your review about your recent stay.

I am afraid we did not meet the usual standard one can expect from an Anantara hotel, and I hope you will accept my sincere apologies. While I realize that no written or verbal explanation can possibly compensate for such a disappointing experience. I can assure you that I will investigate this matter and ensure that all possible measures will be taken to avoid such occurrences in the future. In addition, I would like to share with you that I am always available for you, should you wish to discuss further your issues offline.

On a positive note, we are glad to know that some of the aspects of your stay were pleasant. We will surely recognize Jalal for the exceptional service he rendered to you.

Your present feeling are appreciated, however we do hope that you will not judge us solely on the basis of this particular experience and that in time, you may reconsider your position and choose to stay with us again in the future.

In the meantime, with my reiterated apologies and assuring you of my continued care and concern in this matter, I remain.

Best regards,

Wael Soueid
General Manager
wsoueid@anantara.com
+971 50 9557119
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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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