We arrived at Bab Al Shams at 6.30 a.m. after an overnight flight from Cape Town and a 60 km drive from Dubai feeling tired and rather jaded. We had a lacklustre welcome from the receptionist who told us that our room was not ready (we had not expected it to be) and that check in time was 3.00 p.m. but with no indication as to how long we might have to wait. She advised us to have breakfast and summoned another member of staff to take us to the restaurant. At this point we did not want breakfast, merely somewhere to sit outside, get some fresh air and rest until our room was ready. We tried to explain that we would like to sit by the pool but we were told that the pool hours were from 8.00 a.m. and that we could sit inside - not what we wanted. Fortunately very shortly one of the lifeguards appeared and he immediately fetched us towels to make up beds for us by the pool and then brought us water and a newpaper. We were very grateful for his help.
By 10.00 a.m. our room was ready thankfully and from then on all the staff we met were very helpful and friendly. The room had a small, shady balcony and was well equipped with an espresso coffee maker, kettle and a good supply of various teas. We had bathrobes and slippers and numerous towels and a king bed with a down duvet and pillows and excellent quality bed linen, plenty of hangers in the wardrobe and a plate of oranges and a box of dates, plus bottled water every day. The housekeeping was very good and we had an evening turndown service with fresh towels.
The breakfast buffet was excellent although the evening buffet was variable - our first night (Saturday) was superb with entertainment provided by a belly dancer, but Sunday was a much smaller and less interesting affair. Monday was better.
Although the hotel was full we were never aware of any pressure on the services and facilities and there was no shortage of poolside sunbeds and umbrellas. Throughout the day we had deliveries of fruit, cold washcloths and ice lollies and at 4.00 p.m. the camels arrived and we tried camel riding which was followed by a falconry display.
It was a very relaxing place to stay and in early November the daytime and evening temperatures were perfect. The only problem we had was finding our way around and counting the various ways we could arrive back at our room from the pool but it was always fun to discover new courtyards and pools inside the fort.
There is a small bar (when we found it) and a happy hour from 6.00 p.m. to 7.00 p.m. but it was never full at that time.
Apart from our arrival we enjoyed our three night stay here and would certainly return again when we have the opportunity.