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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 #54 of 501 Hotels in Dubai
Certificate of Excellence 2014
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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969 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    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 (171)
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Groningen, The Netherlands
Top Contributor
179 reviews 179 reviews
72 hotel reviews
Reviews in 79 cities Reviews in 79 cities
113 helpful votes 113 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
Top Contributor
54 reviews 54 reviews
48 hotel reviews
Reviews in 45 cities Reviews in 45 cities
81 helpful votes 81 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
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 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
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
34 helpful votes 34 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
37 reviews 37 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
39 helpful votes 39 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
Top Contributor
53 reviews 53 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
36 helpful votes 36 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:
Bar / Lounge 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
#31 Business Hotel in Dubai
#36 Spa Hotel in Dubai
#49 Family Hotel in Dubai
#50 Luxury Hotel in Dubai
#52 Romantic Hotel in Dubai
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:5 star — Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa 5*
Number of rooms: 113
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Translated from Arabic as "Gateway to the sun", the *award-winning 5-star Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa is designed to resemble a fortified rural Arab village amidst the desert landscape. Featuring low-rise architecture, this sandy coloured style fort boasts the main tower with Reception area and lobby and clusters of two-storey buildings housing guest accommodation, restaurants, spa and meeting facilities interconnected by seemingly endless little walkways. The charm of Arabia is personified in every corner of the property with small lanes running through the hotel, scattered around ponds and secluded seating areas, shaded courtyards, water fountains and trickling streams bestowing the feel of cool tranquillity. The abundance of green garden areas and manicured lawns adds to the quiet and soothing environment of the resort. The rustic Arabian theme of exterior design continues to flow in the carefully selected interior decorations and settings featuring uncovered natural stone floors, bare plastered walls, dark wood and iron fixtures, warm dimmed lighting and an abundance of artefacts showcased throughout the property. The resort boasts 113 rooms and suites offering cosy accommodation in an authentic Arabian style with majority of the rooms having a private terrace. All guest rooms and public areas have complimentary Wi-Fi access. *World's Leading Desert Resort, World Travel Awards. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Bab Al Shams Desert Resort And Spa
Bab Al Shams Desert Hotel Dubai

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