Are you looking for an ideal retreat that offers the perfect balance of nature and an Arabian-style hotel in an quintessential destination? Look no further.

Embark on a journey for your senses to a magical escape just 30-minutes from the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi at Al Wathba Desert Resort & Spa. Previously operated by Jumeirah and recently he rebranded under “The Luxury Collection” by Marriott International – the resort is an emblem of a historic Bedouin-style desert village into a transformative journey on the golden plains of the desert.

Al Wathba Desert Resort & Spa

From the expanses of palm trees lining the walkways to the resort framed by stunning sand dunes that cascade into wondrous geometric patterns – the rich history of Abu Dhabi is a testimony by the immaculate service and thoughtful Arabian hospitality.

Create blissful memories and discover the revival of enchantment amid the calm and peaceful evening under the stars and unwind in the complete privacy of one of the 90 guest rooms or 13 villas (6, 1-bdrm villas with pool; 5, 2-bdrm villas with pool; 1, 2-bdrm with pool and 1 Royal villa).

Al Wathba Hotel – Villa (example) |
Credit: The Luxury Collection

The rooms offer a clean, contemporary fusion of Arabian latticework, mashrabiya detailing and Arabesque flourishes. For example, the Deluxe Desert View Room offers 1 King bed, a balcony view of desert landscapes and geological gems such as fossil dunes in the distance, complimentary high-speed internet, phones, a flat screen television and radio, a bathroom decorated with earth and sand-toned mosaic decor, a mini-fridge, silverware, glasses and dishes to enjoy the flavours inspired by the Arabian Gulf. They also implemented rigorous safety measures and enhanced cleaning procedures to ensure the health and well-being of all their guests and employees.

Time well spent at the pool overlooking the desert panorama is a life well lived.

Enjoy a mocktail and soak in the sun.

For those on business, their conference and meeting facilities are equipped to ensure you host to your potential, uninterrupted.

Guests can explore lush mangroves and sandflats, discover Fossil Dunes on desert fat bikes or a personalized tour, watch impressive falconry shows, or see the stunning desert with a sunset horse ride.

After an action-packed day of exploration, pamper yourself at the hotel’s signature spa. Nestled within a manicured garden, the resort’s spa has 11 indulgent treatment rooms, including a healing Himilayan pink salt sauna, fragrant massages, traditional Turkish hammam, an open-air yoga pavilion, invigorating ice shower, steam rooms, hot and cold plunge pools and a snow cave.

Al Wathba is not only the home of traditional and fun-filled camel racing, but truly the place for families, couples, adventure seekers, falconry enthusiasts, cyclists and anyone who wants to enjoy a thrilling day in the desert amongst fossil rocks, spot wildlife in a Nocturnal Animal Hike of the nearby Al Wathba Wetland Reserve and catch a glimpse of the rose-tinged flamingos, or those who seek to enjoy the pleasures of Al Wathba Resort & Spa. Here, guests can also meet horses such as Cappuccino, who graced the films of Fast and Furious 7, Star Wars 7 as well as other major Blockbusters.

The Himalayan pink sauna at the spa.
Fossil dunes in Al Wathba
Credit: Kinga Rashwan Photography
Credit: Kinga Rashwan Photography

There is definitely no shortage of options when it comes to entertainment and dining. With an array of six restaurants and bars to choose from at Al Wathba Desert Resort & Spa, my favorite experience was enjoying the sneak preview of the New Year’s Eve festive menu at Bait Al Hanine. This bright and spacious restaurant offers the warm ambiance of an all-day dining restaurant and a taste of palatial opulence, offering a fusion of Arabian and international fare.With a wide variety of traditional local dishes, homemade recipes, and a myriad of culinary selections to all time classics and favorites inspired by the Arabian Gulf and Lebanon – from the preparation in big, open-style kitchens showcasing charcoal kebab grills to the dishes presented from their traditional saj oven – the flavors of the desert were truly brought to life.

Bait Al Hanine restaurant

On December 31, revel and rejoice, saying a fond farewell to 2020 by celebrating New Year’s Eve in Al Wathba – set to break two Guinness World Records for hosting the longest firework display at 35-minutes in length at the Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival.

Then, retreat to the rolling desert dunes and ring in the New Year in the picturesque and al fresco ambiance of Bait Al Hanine, where a selection of live cooking stations and international flavours will be freshly prepared by Chefs Abdel Rahman, Chef Rufino and others, then served to the table, from traditional local dishes to all time classics and favorites such as caviar, foie gras, scallops, chilled poached lobster and live grills. These comforting recipes make use of the region’s warm spices and brilliant olive oil.

The most fresh, diverse and decadently curated salads in Abu Dhabi.
My mains of land and sea were absolutely delicious and cooked to perfection.
The Foie Gras terrine, Fisherman’s platter, tuna tartare and seared scallops were an excellent blend of fresh flavors.
These delicious baked treats such as the baguettes and croissants, are served by the
in-house baker, Chef Hammzeh and other highly qualified bakers who walk around the tables, greeting guests by serving freshly made bread and pastries. Having the owl to gaze at while I enjoyed my scrumptious brioche French toast at Bait Al Hanine’s breakfast was the true ‘syrup on top’.

To make reservations, contact: +971 2 204 4444 or visit:

Cheers to a New Year of life, love, prosperity, good health and a life-time of transcending our human experiences through travel and delicious cuisine.

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