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“Great Food, Okay Place” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa

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Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa
5.0 of 5 Resort   |   International Endurance City, 308th Rd | P.O Box 8168, Dubai, United Arab Emirates   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #64 of 475 hotels in Dubai
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
“Great Food, Okay Place”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 17, 2012

The place is good for an outing into the desert. Really hot since it is open air dining but the food was excellent. The journey till the resort was too long and boring with nothing much to see on the way. The entertainment was good.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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747 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (130)
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Groningen, The Netherlands
Top Contributor
144 reviews 144 reviews
69 hotel reviews
Reviews in 72 cities Reviews in 72 cities
80 helpful votes 80 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 15, 2012

Maybe I put the bar too high and my expectations were too high? I was disappointed, I expected more from the desert feeling/experience. On my arrival the hotel was full of families with children, not the best environment for a solo traveler. Children all over the place, no quiet place for people like me. The second day I had requested a quiet spot by the pool, in fact I got a quiet place, at the edge of the swimming pool facing the desert, but 5 minutes later, a family with children was placed next to me. Same in the restaurant. No quiet place, children run throughout the restaurant towards the buffet. I had asked to eat "a la carte", but was placed between people and families with children who are constantly going back and forth to the buffet. Each dinner for me was an annoyance. This is just to set the scene. Bab al Shams is a low-rise hotel in the middle of the desert, a 50-minute drive from Dubai Mall area. Especially when the hotel is full, there are many people in a confined space. There is little space between the pools and little to no space between the beds at the pools. Between rooms / accommodations is a labyrinth of corridors and streets. The hotel has several restaurants, a small spa and the pool area has 2 pool bars. The rooftop terrace is not always open for an aperitif, it is used as an open air restaurant and one must book. Pity, because precisely the sunset would be nice to view from there, with a drink.The accommodations are good, but not exceptional. Room and bathroom are spacious and fully equipped. Furthermore I got the impression that one cuts down on maintenance costs. Reception staff was aloof and came across uniterested. All in all disappointing; give me one good reason why I should drive that far into the desert?

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Anglesey, North Wales
Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
40 hotel reviews
Reviews in 38 cities Reviews in 38 cities
76 helpful votes 76 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 15, 2012

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.

  • Stayed November 2012, 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dubai, UAE
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 13, 2012

My wife and I went there for our 1st marriage anniversary....and never wanted to leave the place !!

The hotel provide exquisite services, really friendly staff, amazing food and outstanding resort overall...

To be short, this was a none-forgettable experience that we can re-live in our memories for years..

I would recommend each and every person single or married to go and spend a day at the resort and if you can spend the weekend that would be a great win !!

Financially it was very good affordable package. They have good packages which include pickup/ dropoff, spa, activities, food and partyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy

Really an amazing experience that I would recommend to each and everyone of you out there !!

LOVED IT :)

Room Tip: All rooms are great, my fav was dessert view :)
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  • Stayed November 2012, 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.
Copenhagen, Denmark
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 11, 2012

This was my third stay at Bab al Shams and I'm still in love with this place despite the fact that there are new owners and I don't think they maintain the place as good as the previous owners.

But the surroundings, the rooms, the service is still great. The infinity pool is a favorite of mine. It is so beautiful and well done and I love lie in the water and look out at the desert.

This time we went with our small daughter and she had a great time too. One negative thing was the temperature of the water. They cool it down way too much and she couldn't stay long in the water before she had blue lips and was freezing.

She did enjoy the free camel ride late afternoon and a few visits to the Kids Club.

Breakfast is not bad, but the choice is very limited for a five star hotel. Especially Sunday morning, when the majority of people had left, the breakfast was even smaller than the morning before. Why do the guests have to pay the same for a breakfast that is even more limited than the morning before?

But we enjoyed our two days and would come back again!

Room Tip: Choose ground level, where you have a nice terrace often facing the desert.
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 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.
Paris, France
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 11, 2012

we went there for 2 nights and were delighted to discover this beautiful property in the middle of nowhere! 45 minutes from Dubai Meydan. The reception was the only negative point as we did not get a smile and just litle eye contacts with the receptionnist; We had the feeling to disturb her. The rest of our stay was amazing. The facilities are very nice and clean. Room we had was very cosy and nicely decorated. We think though that the outdoor restaurant (al adeerah) is a bit expensive. The swimming pools are very nice and convenient. We appreciated the clients cocktails on wednesday.I can only recommand this place to any one willing to have an unforgettable experience in the middle of the desert.

  • Stayed October 2012, 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
    • 4 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.
Lichfield
Senior Contributor
43 reviews 43 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 10, 2012 via mobile

After a hectic week of work in the Far East we needed a little time to unwind before returning to the uK.
We wanted somewhere in the desert, far from everything with a great pool, service and food.
Thanks to Trailfinders we found it, but better than we had hoped for.
What a wonderful place to relax.
Our bedroom was large and came with a table and chairs on its own little shaded patio. Just beyond which, as with everywhere at this resort, was the desert.
All it took was a little daydream to be transported to Lawrence of Arabia.
The staff were so welcoming, the hotel a maze of cool corridors and courtyards. Everywhere littered with comfy setees, cushions and chairs.
It was a delight to get lost, which its very easily done here.
Food wise everything was perfect, except it was irresistable, to the point where I kept eating too much.
I would say with regard to the attached restaurant Al Hadheerah. Don't bother unless you like the somewhat trite, camel, whirling Dervish (although he was very good), strident diva, overamplified music. Each and every act touring each and every dining table, with a spotlight and a photographer to capture every unique moment of your evening.
Sounds awful to you? Save yourself over 200 dollars (for two).
That aside we loved the charm and grace and style of this modern oasis

  • Stayed October 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.

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Additional Information about Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa

Address: International Endurance City, 308th Rd | P.O Box 8168, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Location: United Arab Emirates > Emirate of Dubai > Dubai
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 Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#8 Top resorts Hotel in Dubai
#37 Spa Hotel in Dubai
#46 Family Hotel in Dubai
#58 Luxury Hotel in Dubai
#61 Romantic Hotel in Dubai
#78 Business Hotel in Dubai
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:5 star — Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa 5*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
BAB AL SHAMS Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa is an exclusive low rise resort, a unique retreat in the desert surrounded by natural desert landscape. The resort is an architectural wonder that seems to come to life in the middle of the shifting sands of ancient Arabia, providing a unique and traditional desert experience that is true to the culture and heritage of Dubai and the UAE.AL FORSAN RESTAURANT With its new location overlooking the Arabian Desert, Al Forsan Restaurant offers a refreshing and friendly ambiance to those who want to spend quality time with their families & friends and enjoy an exquisite buffet for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Featuring International Cuisine, the finest specialties of different cuisines to provide you with a variety of choices. AL HADHEERAH RESTAURANT: Experience the wide expanse of the desert and the magic of lively entertainment at Al Hadheerah, the region’s first open air traditional Arabic desert restaurant. As the resort’s signature restaurant, Al Hadheerah offers diners a unique experience with scenes straight out of an Arabian legend featuring belly dancers, live bands & a falcon display. LE DUNE PIZZERIA: With its vivid colors and earthly tones, Le Dune boasts a magical fusion of Arabic and Italian decor that offers a delightfully warm ambiance. The magical combination is vibrant at any angle, from the aged wooden furniture shipped from Italy, the traditional terracotta flooring, to Arabic lanterns add to the rustic ambiance. MASALA RESTAURANT: The exotic flavors of India have arrived in the deserts of Arabia in the form of Masala. Located in the heart of the hotel, Masala’s exquisite menu of Indian dishes slow-cooked in traditional style, with the ambiance of traditional Indian background music, is an enchanting compliment to Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa. AL SARAB ROOFTOP LOUNGEA: Sarab rooftop lounge overlooking the Arabian desert, this two story rooftop bar embraces a breathtaking view that boasts amazing vistas during sunset. The rich Arabian design in soft earth colors, dimmed lanterns for a cozy ambiance and comfortable chairs and cushions, provide a friendly setting for a night to remember. AL SHUROUQ LOUNGE: Shurouq Lounge is an ideal place to relax in the majlis seating areas while admiring the stunning views of the boundless desert. Indulge your taste buds with a delicious mix of light bites, bar snacks, pizzas and lots more while enjoying the cocktail of your choice. POOL BAR: Pool bar with a view of the rolling desert is an ideal place to unwind during the day. Pool bar serves an a la carte menu offering a wide variety of snacks, cocktails, light meals and beverages. A spectacular panoramic view of the desert ensure total tranquility for both the guests. YA HALA BARY: a Hala reflects the traditional Arabian culture of comfort, charm and hospitality. Afternoon tea, as well as a variety of other drinks and snacks for the a la carte menu, can be enjoyed amidst the saddles and charming wooden furniture of the lounge, on the intimate terrace overlooking the water well. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Bab Al Shams Desert Hotel Dubai
Bab Al Shams Desert Resort And Spa

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