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Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa
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Reviews (2,298)
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1,128 - 1,133 of 2,298 reviews
Reviewed 9 November 2013

So, where to start after eight days at the hotel.

Five star staff for certain - always pleasant and helpful, Quite literally not an unsmiling in the place and nothing was too much trouble. The rest of the hotel, I would say is not five star but is closer to a four star hotel. The one thing that lets it down a bit, is that it can be quite noisy with all the families at weekends, and so I would not describe it as a quiet retreat. If you are in a family group then this place really is for you - its great. If you are a couple then expect a little less pecs during the day and at meal times in particular. Poolside service was good and safety in the pool was a high priority - plenty of lifeguards watching the kids like a hawk.

The room was very good, if a little dark. The bed was excellent and with shutters keeping the light out we sept really very well. The room walls are very thick so forget wireless in the room, but the wired internet was running very very fast - 30Mbit at quiet times and 15Mb during the evening. The room service staff were again, very good and the room was kept spotless.

Breakfast was good, with a wide array of choice, and a scarily large amount of sugary treats. Again, all the staff were really good. Expect however a lot of kids running round uncontrolled by their parents - something about the attitude of the ex-pats being immune to others not wishing to share their children’s noise. Evening meals were slightly quieter, but during the week, everywhere was quiet. A good place to go except when the kids are awake. We used the Indian and Italian restaurants a couple of nights and they were well worth the extra cost from half-board. the portions of each were generous and the live music in the Indian was very good. The staff in the Italian restaurant deserve a special mention as being particularly good.

Even though it may have once been a desert retreat, civilisation has caught up with it. the sky in either direction is now lit up by horse racing and car racing tacks so several evenings on the verandah were to the tune of revving engines and use buggies. Not a lot the hotel can do about its neighbours. Friday night was firework night - very good and completely unexpected. More advertising folks ! And large areas of the concrete poolside areas need relaying - too many cracks in the concrete slabs.

We would certainly use it again for a break but would most likely stick to weekdays as we don;t want to share other families children, but again, if you have a family with you , you really will love this place.

Room Tip: Top floor seems quieter.
  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Tina_and_Graham
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mohamed A, General Manager at Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 10 November 2013

Dear guest,

Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback in TripAdvisor with regards to your recent stay with us at Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa.

I truly appreciate your comments but at the same time I am very concerned to read that you experienced certain shortcomings during your stay which we sincerely apologize.

However your points are noted and discussed with the team to ensure necessary actions will be taken.

On the other hand, we are delighted with your kind acknowledgements of our high level of customer service provided by our team of incredible colleagues.

Once again, thank you and we look forward to welcoming you back in the near future.


Kind regards,

M. Aghoury
General Manager

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Reviewed 6 November 2013

Stayed for 1 night had a fantastic stay room was lovely, very clean every need was met in a timely way. Total relaxation lying by the pool regularly provided with cold flannels and ice pops. Staff very attentive. Excellent evening entertainment at the nearby restaurant with a middle eastern experience.

  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Anthony S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mohamed A, General Manager at Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 7 November 2013

Dear guest,

Thank you for taking the time to write a review in TripAdvisor with regards to your recent stay at Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa.

I am extremely delighted with your complimentary remarks regarding your stay, our facilities and specifically on the service you have received.

Your kind words will not only motivate our colleagues, but inspire the entire team to continue in providing the best service you deserve.

Once again, we really appreciate your feedback and we look forward to welcoming you back in the near future.

Please do not hesitate to contact us anytime, if you need any further assistance.

Kind regards,

M. Aghoury
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 November 2013

Have been to Bab Al Shams a few times for drinks and snacks and Al Sarab (the rooftop terrace) and always had a great time and introduced the place to friends also.

So we decided to go the next step and stay a night and rang up during the week to find out what the options were for dinner. I told expressly that Masala was a la carte (even though it was Diwali) and even clarified this as we had been sent an email notification of a AED199 buffet deal, and were were not interested in a buffet.

So I booked for 4 pax. @8pm.

We arrived on time at 3pm and I mentioned the upgrade option that had been requested as per email confirmation received from BAS stating this was AED238 upgrade for a junior suite (happy to send the email to management if they like). There was nothing in the system, and the receptionist said, no this would be an additional AED400 and something...and as I didn't have the email with me, let it go.

Went to the room, pleasant and comfortable for it's style, as would be expected for the price (the higher "special occasion rates") and then headed to the pool. There was not a lounger in site, every single one was taken, so I guess it was a full house the night before (or everyone arrives a lot earlier than 3pm and heads to the pool).

So sat at pool bar restaurant and had a pre made "fresh" watermelon juice and sushi. My husband wanted a Corona, but this is about the only 5 star hotel in UAE that doesn't have that, so settled for a juice and a chicken dish.

In the room there was a pamphlet promoting the "buffet dinner" at Masala so we rang and switched the booking to Italian restaurant, not that there was any need because we were only one of 3 tables. But they did say they were full from 6pm and that everyone had left by 8pm.

I would dispute that and think that it's more a case of everyone knows how poor the food is there. Has management ever tried the Caprese salad for example? Or what they try and pass off as one. I won't bore you with the rest of the dishes, but you must have european guests (and of course Italians) who would be horrified by what you are attempting to pass off as Italian food.

During dinner, I began to feel somewhat queasy and spent the rest of the night communing with the bathroom bowl, and as I was the only person to have had sushi, I imagine that may have had something to do with it. It came wrapped in glad wrap, it was late afternoon and who knows when it was made but by the chewiness of the rice, I imagine quite some time earlier...

Breakfast was included but there was no way we were eating another meal at BAS so we got up at 600am (not much sleep for me), and checked out.

Our friends who joined up for dinner were asked to pay AED 375 for the hotel taxi back to Arabian ranches, which is about 15 mins away or wait a couple of hours. We all wished we'd simply stayed at home where we would have at least enjoyed the food.

Room Tip: Go during the week when this is an ideal place for a romantic break, but don't go to the Italian restaurant unless you only plan on having pizza and nothing else.
  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank GlobalGal5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mohamed A, General Manager at Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 4 November 2013

Dear guest,

We would like to thank you for taking the time to share your experiences during your recent stay at Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa.

I greatly appreciate your comments but at the same time I am obviously disappointed to read that you experienced certain shortcomings during your stay which, therefore, has not been up to “Bab Al Shams standard”. For that, I would like to apologize. I will discuss with my team on how we can prevent those points to happen in the future.

Your invaluable feedback is very important to ensure that we continually deliver the service Bab Al Shams Desert Resort and Spa is renowned for.

Nonetheless, I hope that we may welcome you again in the near future.

Please feel free to contact me directly if you wish to make your next reservation, so I can ensure you will be well-looked after.

Kind regards,

M. Aghoury
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 November 2013

The hotel is very, very good. A lot of stuff to do for such a remote place. We went to a restaurant where they had some awesome entertainment with camels and belly dancers, and one of the best buffets I ever had.

We also did some archery and the desert drive (dune diving). Both were incredible experiences.

The reason I gave 4 stars and not 5 is that once you get there, it is hard to go anywhere else, which is not a real issue, apart from the fact that you are stuck in their eco system. This means that you have to pay exorbitant prices for food and drinks.

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Kristof_v1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mohamed A, General Manager at Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 4 November 2013

Dear guest,

Thank you for sharing your wonderful experiences during your recent stay at Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa.

We are delighted to know that you enjoyed the activities and your dinner at our Al Hadheerah Restaurant. We truly appreciate any feedback as it is comments from our valued guests that enable us to maintain or improve our services and facilities to exceed guest expectations.

Once again, thank you very much for choosing to stay with us and we look forward to welcoming you again to the resort soon.

Kind regards,

M. Aghoury
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 October 2013

My wife and I stayed here for 2 nights and overall were disappointed with this property for several reasons, despite some very positive attributes of the hotel.

Having had the opportunity to travel elsewhere in the Middle East, it was immediately apparent after our arrival that this hotel did not represent a true desert experience. The property is right off a well-traveled road (it is only about one hour from Dubai) and there are numerous structures (not belonging to the hotel) easily visible in the distance (as is also a major telecommunications tower!). It should also be noted that this road is very well lit at night, so you do not get the sense that you are in an isolated area. A true desert resort experience gives the visitor a real sense of isolation, of being in a place far removed from other places/things...with only sand and sand dunes for as far as the eye can see. This property did not provide this sense of place and seemed a bit too contrived.

There are various pricing options available at this hotel, including packages with included activities such as a desert drive, camel riding, etc. We elected to purchase the hotel room and buffet breakfast only package as we were not sure of what level of activities we wanted to commit to in advance. We found out that purchasing activities on the spot during our stay are prohibitively expensive. For example a *one hour* desert drive for 2 persons was AED950 (about $260), total. This excursion represented for us a very poor value proposition and thus ended up not booking it.

As is sometimes the case when staying in a self-contained resort, the food experience tends to be less than ideal with prices that do not represent a good value proposition for the guest. This was true of our experience at Bab Al Shams. The buffet breakfast at the Al Forsan Restaurant was below average given the very mediocre quality of the food, thought the variety and presentation was OK. We had dinner one night at the Al Sarab Rooftop Lounge and we even tried the Le Dune Pizzeria - food was fair to good both evenings. (Note: there is an Arabian Nights themed restaurant - Al Hadheerah - which we did not have a chance to dine at, though we did visit the restaurant. It was very impressive looking.)

Our accommodations were comfortable. The room was of average size and was nicely decorated. We did have some issues with our electrical circuit breaker panel the first day/night which caused us to lose our lights and air-conditioning on a couple of occasions, but the hotel did an admirable job in seeing that these problems were resolved as soon as we reported them. A very nice feature of this hotel is that they provide in-room internet access (I could not get Wi-Fi in our room, but the Ethernet connection worked very well).

On the positive side...we found this hotel extremely charming in the way it was designed and laid out. The architectural style is very attractive and the public areas are really quite nice. The pool and the surrounding gardens/landscaping are well done and nicely maintained.

As to the service, we found the service somewhat variable, but on the whole it was above average as most of the staff were friendly and helpful.

Room Tip: This hotel has some attractive qualities; however, to get the most value from your experience look closely at your dining preferences and the number and types of activities you wish to partake in and then look at the various promotions this hotel offers.
  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Boeing747-8I
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mohamed A, General Manager at Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 31 October 2013

Dear Guest,

Thank you for your review regarding your recent stay at Bab Al Shams Desert Resort and Spa.

We would like to extend our sincerest apologies for any inconvenience caused when you stayed, and we are confident that this is not a true reflection of our traditional desert experience. However your points are noted and necessary actions will be taken.

We do hope that we will have an opportunity to restore your faith in Bab Al Shams Desert Resort and Spa, and once again, thank you for taking the time to post your review on Trip Advisor.

Kind regards,

M. Aghoury
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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