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“Fawlty Towers in the desert”

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Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa
Ranked #54 of 561 Hotels in Dubai
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 27 December 2011

Firstly, people who rate this as an amazing 5 star experience have most probably never stayed in a 5* resort. The setting is quite nice, the pool area is beautiful and there is enough space.
Second, this is advertised as a romantic get away place but in fact it is full of children. So nice for families but not so for couples.

However the biggest issue is the service. I could write an essay after being here fir 2 days. Some highlights:

1. The Russian girls (Arabian experience?!) at the reception desk have below average English skills so communication is an issue. Also no apparent experience in the hotel service industry and worst of all, absolutely no desire to be helpful or service minded at all!
2. Our welcome letter from the management was addressed to someone else
3. Do not order a mojito at the rooftop bar, it doesn't even vaguely resemble one.
4. Breakfast is a funny experience. The food variety is good, but certainly not 5* - there is no fresh juice for instance. The staff is unable to cope, there are plenty of waiters around but clearly nobody in charge so it is a chaos. Getting coffee is quicker if you walk to the bar yourself, the tables are not cleaned.
5. There is virtually not a single difference between a superior or deluxe room except the floor level. We had to change rooms because of separate bookings but there is nothing to justify the price difference. The receptionist did tell us that the superior ones are more luxury but we packed and moved for nothing.
Overall, I am yet to experience the "Arabian hospitality" in Bab al Shams, which might prove challenging since I haven't seen a single Arabian person among the staff so far.
The value for money is poor, if you want to see the desert then book a trip while staying in the much much better hotels in Dubai city.

  • Stayed: December 2011
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1  Thank aneiva72
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 25 December 2011

I went with family & friends, we were upgraded from junior suites to deluxe suites on arrival which was absolutely fantastic!! We took the kids to horse riding which is next to the hotel, i highly recommend it, the kids loved it!

We booked at Al Hadeera restaurant for friday night entertainment and it was amazing. There was different kinds of music and dances including belly dance followed by horse/camel show and then spectacular fire works, perfect end to a perfect dinner. I think the fireworks only happen on Fridays.

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with family
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1  Thank HJ1974
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 December 2011

My husband and I stayed 1 night at the beautiful Bab al Shams resort before heading into Dubai. I am sooo glad we did it! We had a true desert experience from start to finish!

Location
In the middle of the dessert!

Transportation
We took a cab and it very well priced. In fact, all cabs in Dubai are very resonable.

Staff
Unbelievable! They are extremely accommodating, friendly and spoke perfect English.

Room
Beautiful and typical Arabian style.

Pool
Huge! So many different parts, levels.

Attire
Around the pool, a one piece bathing suit or bikini is completely acceptable. Prior to our arrival, I did tons of research to find out about the dress code. I found many sites that said, you must cover you knees and shoulders, and you can't wear anything tight or revealing. However, upon my arrival into Dubai, I determined that anything goes. We saw all walks of life. In fact, we say many women that I believed to be really pushing the envelope. Rule of thumb for me for next time would be, wear anything you like...as long as you're looking classy.

Services
I got a 50 minute massage and hands down it was the best massage of my life! Prior to my massage, I spent a few minutes relaxing in their calming room which overlooked the desert. Such a great way to start unwinding. I wish I could bottle that massage and have one every day!

Food
Pool food was fine. We didn't have too many meals there. But, we did partake in the Arabian dinner buffet which I highly recommend! Every bit of Arabian culture you could imagine from foods, belly dancers, henna tattoo, falconry and music!

Camel back riding
This is a must! But, one word of advice, do not book a camel ride because if you do, the hotel will charge you to take you off site on a private ride. The best bet, it take advantage of the free daily rides that are right outside the hotel.

Definitely a must if you are planning a visit to Dubai!

  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank tiffrush
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 December 2011

We hosted our wedding at Bab Al Shams - and it was perfect, very relaxed and very personal. The services team were great and organised every thing for us - we had the ceremony on the falcon courtyard which was completely private and then we hosted the champagne and dinner on the roof top with complete privacy.
All guests had a lovely time and a number will be going back themselves for a romantic break.
Weather in November is superb if you are looking for a get away wedding!! Views of the desert and the desert sunset make this a fabulous venue, which is very romantic.

Room Tip: All rooms are beautiful - so dont worry.
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  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank MrsT19nov
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 December 2011

My experience at Bab Al Shams was one of complete pampering and service personalised to a level it's hard to imagine. The super-efficient friendliness of the Manager of the Indian restaurant, Sarin ... it was the perfect dinner on all days.... I had never dined at an Indian restaurant before and knew nothing about Indian food but after all the enlightenment i received from Sarin about India and its culture and the various types of preparations, I am pretty confident to say that I am a connoisseur in the making.......The food and wine at Masala were to die for. A truly memorable stay.

Will definitely recommend the hotel to my friends and colleagues visiting dubai......

  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled solo
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4  Thank nick w
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 November 2011

What an amazing place. An oasis in the desert. I was taken there as a treat for two days and i was treated wonderfully. Lots to do both day and night, the pool area is beautiful and the staff are top class. Hopefully i will visit again

  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled with family
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2  Thank menace50
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 November 2011

My wife and I spent our wedding anniversary in Bab Al Shams and we were both stunned of this professionality! And I know what I'm writing about. We're living in UAE for over 5 years and spend a lot time in hotels for pleasure weekends.
From the booking (special packet with roses, a bottle of champagne, cake....) to our arrival, stay and leaving, really nothing to complain at.
Bab Al Shams looks like an old Arabic fortress.The rooms are very nice (furnished in old fashion and very charming Arabic style).
If you are seeking for an oriental place for relaxation out of the hustle and bustle of Dubai this is the right place to go. The pool area is fantastic, the friendly staff is always around when you need them.
What you have to try:
- Have a shisha, prepared by "Sisha Mohamed" at Al Forsan and enjoy the sunset on the roof terrace.....you never smoked a better tabaco mix than his.

- Visit the open air restaurant: AL HADHEERAH with one of the most impressive buffet we've ever seen (make sure you are hungry and take your time). The restaurant is about 300m away from the main compount located in a dune valley. When you apply for a table a guide will take his time to introduce you to the buffet before he shows you your place.
The entertainment program is worth to see, even though it is made for typical tourists (either couples, groups or family).
When we left Bab Al Shams we promise to ourselves to come back.

Room Tip: Desert view rooms are the best
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  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank uerinke
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, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Region: United Arab Emirates > Emirate of Dubai > Dubai
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge 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 Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#7 Top resorts Hotel in Dubai
#40 Business Hotel in Dubai
#41 Spa Hotel in Dubai
#44 Family Hotel in Dubai
#48 Luxury Hotel in Dubai
#53 Romantic Hotel in Dubai
Price Range: £229 - £859 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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