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“Relaxing experience in the desert”

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Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Hamim
Certificate of Excellence
London
Level 5 Contributor
63 reviews
34 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
“Relaxing experience in the desert”
Reviewed 15 April 2012

My husband and I stayed here for 3 nights. We used the hotel Chauffeur service to take us to the hotel from Dubai. The driver was friendly and took care when driving. Check in was fast and efficient. We stayed in room 263 which is in the north part of the hotel. Both the room and bathroom were spacious and we had a huge terrace. The hotel provides nice Elemis products and there is an Nespresso machine in each room. We had direct views to the dessert. Which is amazing. Though the hotel has a buggy service to get to places we chose to walk. The hotel is quite spread out but we welcome the exercise in between lying down and eating !

We ate in all of the restaurants available. Al Waha was the breakfast and dinner buffet service. There was plenty of choice and the food was good. We had lunch, cocktails and dinner at the pool side restaurant, it is both lovely during the day and in the evening. We also had cocktails and dinner in the more formal restaurant upstairs; the views from the terrace are amazing and the atmosphere in the restaurant is very romantic and relaxing. Food in all restaurants was good as was the service.
The formal restaurant closed one evening so if you don't want to eat at Al Waha it is best to book the poolside as this is the only choice people have.

My husband did the dune bashing which he really enjoyed. He went at 6 am which meant he was back from breakfast. There is also an 8:30 and 5:45 session. He also used the gym one day. I spent most of my time by the pool. Pool attendants are all very helpful and there was plenty of sun loungers and parasols. The pool has a shaded area for children.

We found our room a little dusty in places, I put it down to being in the desert but my husband felt they should be paying more attention ( e.g dust on the wardrobe shelving ). There were also marks on the floor both in the room and on the terrace that shouldn't really have been there if the room had been cleaned thoroughly.

The only complaint we have about this place is the price of ice-cream !!! We accept that we are in a 5 star resort and in the desert but £9 for 2 very small melting balls is really not acceptable. I felt sorry for all those parents with children !!!

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled as a couple
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1 Thank AP_JLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (606)
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Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Level 5 Contributor
80 reviews
38 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 April 2012

The hotel is really great in every aspect. Perfect destination for a 3 day stay. The rooms are big and luxurious. Pool villas are amazing. The hotel is in the middle of nowhere so dont expect any KFC or McDonalds down the road so make sure you budget a good amount of money towards dining. Its like island hotels of Maldives, once you are in the hotel you are cut off from the world (although internet is free).
All in all a good place for relaxation.
Room service may take too much time as the hotel is huge...
Breakfast buffet is good. You never notice that the hotel is full of people except at the breakfast buffet...

Room Tip: dont choose 406, 407... too much noise from kitchen....
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with family
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Thank varunsdua
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Level 6 Contributor
93 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 April 2012

Decided to treat my family who were in town to a couple of nights at the Qasr. After the long and slightly dull drive from Abu Dhabi, we were greeted by a welcome drink at the hotel, but once again found check in to be tedious with everything needed to be checked as it was wrong. I had negotiated a special rate to include bed, breakfast and dinner, but the reception did not seem to know about this. It took a while for it to be sorted out, but this gave us a chance to rest and relax in the Library which was lovely.

The room (standard) was very pleasant with a nice view over the pool, but again, whilst this had been requested from the original time of booking, it was still a surprise to the reception staff and necessitated a swift change of rooms for us.

We had dinner and breakfast in Al Waha which is the buffet. A nice but quite limited selection of food which was not always that warm. Nice to see the addition of gluten free bread, but this was the only concession I could see which is a shame. Would be great if the chefs could experiment a bit more, or at least make plain options without flour, wheat, gluten in them.

Staff were great and as it was not full, we had good service at all times.

The sandstorm was amazing - well I liked it anyway! This meant plenty of time for relaxing on our terrace and in the room which was nice. The pool was excellent and sitting poolside for sundowners is a treat at this hotel. The desert is just amazing.

We didnt do any of the hotel activities as I think they are overpriced for what they are, and I am an avid desert driver anyway, so happily do this when not at the hotel.

Apart from the slight hiccup when checking out - they inadvertently transposed figures on the credit card slip and tripled the price, but purely by accident - this was a nice stay at a nice hotel. I still think there are much better hotels and felt that the resort was looking a little tired around the edges.

Room Tip: We had a standard room (442) overlooking the pool.
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  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Tillybean17
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Level 6 Contributor
201 reviews
93 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 88 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 April 2012

You know, these trip advisor reviews have their advantages. Read that the luggage transport to the room is an issue and arriving with x boxes of photography equipment we simply made sure they will tag the boxes before taking them... voila, smart, isn't it. We were lucky and got a nice upgrade into one of their fantastic Villas with private pool. The Anantara Spa as usual was TOP. Room service is of course a little challenge in such a huge Resort but it arrived well and was tasty, even if it appears quite overpriced but then....there must be a price to having such a dinner in Rub Al Khali. Didn't use the hotel pool but it looked very nice. The kids club is great. Gym top equipped and well maintained. The breakfast buffet is huge, but for the size of it I've seen hotels with 1/2 the space offer more. Still breakfast was good and well served, actually, one thing stands out. Most of the staff is very friendly and it actually appears they like what they are doing and where they are doing it which is not easy to find in the UAE....and who would expect that far out in Rub Al Khali.

The Villa with private pool was a stunner! Great views and what I liked most about the Qasr Al Sarab is this amazing silence. Didn't try any of their other outlets or discovery programs but will sure return to do so.

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank RolandUO
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cotswolds, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
152 reviews
56 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 102 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 April 2012

Just back from two nights at this amazing hotel which we visited with our son who is working in Abu Dhabi. It is a very special place. We upgraded to a suite which had views of the desert that changed by the hour. The first day was clear and very hot and sunny so we enjoyed a prefect sunset. We had lunch at the pool restaurant which was just what we wanted, nice and informal. We then had dinner in the main restaurant which has a fantastic buffet, both for dinner and then breakfast the next morning. We sat outside for this but a sandstorm blew up and we were transferred inside. This added to the desert experience and we decided to book the archery class in the afternoon. This was great fun and we improved greatly. The instructors from Jordan were excellent.

We had so enjoyed the buffet dinner, we returned to the same restaurant for our last evening, having had delicious cocktails in the bar on the way there. We are great fans of Arabian food but there is a wide choice in the buffet for all tastes. The lamb chops were prefect, as was the Tagine the night before.

This hotel deserves its number one TA ranking. Our only negatives were that the buggy service is very unreliable. The first time we called guest services and ordered one to take us to lunch, we waited for 15 mins and then gave up waiting and walked. The distances are such that you need a buggy to take luggage and after two calls and no response when we wanted to check out, I went outside and flagged down a passing service trolley who said they would ask one to be sent to us. This arrived within a very few minutes and the driver said he had only just been asked to attend. When we got to the entrance there were many empty buggies and porters standing around so I can only assume that the messages from guest services never got through. The only other negative was that a number of the cups and plates both in the suite and the restaurants were chipped or cracked. Also, the poolside towels were ferry frayed. This hotel is very new and 5 star so this is something that they need to take greater care over. That said it was great to experience the desert at such close quarters and worth the 2 hour plus drive along a long straight highway where the only interest is camel and gazelle spotting and a visit to the amazing car museum (as featured on Top Gear).

Stayed April 2012, travelled with family
Helpful?
Thank Tim S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Maitland
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 April 2012

What an experience. I never in a million years thought I would be saying that the desert has me mesmorised. When we left Abu Dhabi the desert was a very pale beige colour but as we ventured along the two lane highway it not only changed colour from light beige to red and all colours in between but the way the wind had made formations with the sand dunes it was simply another "Wonder of the World". Upon arrival at Qastr Al Sarab we were welcomed like royalty, and after a speedy check-in we were shown to our rooms which were very spacious, luxious and private. The restuarant by the pool was excellent with a great variety of choice on the menu.
We chose to be adventurous and do the desert bashing in the sand dunes in the 4WD vehicles, what an experience, the drivers were very competent, and explained so many things about the desert. An experience not to be missed.
The following evening we decided to do the desert camel safari to watch the sunset over the sand dunes, whilst tasting local food and beverages. This was an amazing experience and I can recommend this to anyone, because the guide was very informative and we all came back with a new understanding about the desert.
During our stay we spent time around the pool area which was like paradise and all the staff were so friendly and helpful and always trying to please and certainly wanted us to feel we have had an experience to remember.
I could recommend this resort to anyone and if you would like a little bit of luxury and pampering, well this is the place for you We will certainly go back again as it was an experience not to be missed.

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Lesley R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Munich, Germany
Level 4 Contributor
35 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 April 2012

We stayed at the Qasr for a 4 day stay in a fabulous 2 bedroom villa with stunning views of the empty quarter. Whilst transfer is quite long (3h from Abu Dhabi) esp. after arriving late in the evening it's absolutely worthwile. (Tip: Ask for the Heli-Shuttle which seems to be available on request). The resort is located in mid of the empty quarter with sand desert all around. Management and service are great and personal is very friendly overall but could spent sometimes more attention to the detail. (e.g. Removed glasses stayed in front of our villa for 3 days)
The villa is up to all 5 star service and has had its own pool. (Tip : Try to get a front row villa with uninterrupted views to the desert) The 2 bedroom one consists of two generous sleeping rooms with 1 king and 2 queen beds, a very large living room, seperate toilet and two full fledged bath rooms with shower an tube. Beside your own pool ou can also use the resorts main pool which is nice and has a very large children compartment within the pool which is provinding extra shade. There are 3 restaurants. One at the poolside with good cocktails and the usual stuff on the short snack side, another one which is the main restaurant and which serves buffet style breakfast, lunch and dinner. Quality is good to superior. The last one is a roof top fine dining , which serves french minded internationa contemporary cuisine. Quality was excellent here. Overall good choice forma couple of days. If you plan tomstay longer than 5 days i would definetly like to see more choice. Activities are of excellent quality. Falcon hunting was big fun for the kids aswell as dune bashing (if you are not afraid of roller coasters - this is a must experience inanother way)
Overall a great stay with only minor things - a great 5 star resort and a different experience than the so called desert resorts in Dubai.
P.s. Luxury Link provides excellent rates for some dates over the year.

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank RoadrunnerBipBipBip
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara

Property: Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara
Address: 1 Qasr Al Sarab Road, Hamim 131277, United Arab Emirates
Region: United Arab Emirates > Emirate of Abu Dhabi > Liwa Oasis > Hamim
Amenities:
Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre 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 — Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara 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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