Go behind the scenes of our Abu Dhabi desert cover shoot
Jumeirah Al Wathba Desert Resort & Spa in Abu Dhabi – Jumeirah’s most recent arrival – opened its doors a year ago in February 2019, making it the group’s 24th property. A seven-hour flight from London to Abu Dhabi, thankfully then it’s only a short 40-minute taxi ride to the resort, which feels remote enough to provide complete escapism, while at the same time it’s ideally located as a base from which to explore the desert. And so the fashion team headed out to shoot its March travel story.
The resort itself resembles an historic desert village with its luscious courtyards and meandering walkways that allow for a real sense of discovery. There’s the constant sound of running water from the natural falaj (a water channel for irrigation) that creates a soothing energy enhancing the mood of relaxation. The swimming pool is vast at 1,000sq/m, but the intelligent design allows for guests’ privacy with numerous secluded inlets and coves, including a pool bar with water seating.
The property sprawls over five acres of tranquil desert, comprising Arabian-style rooms and split-level villas with private pools. Each bedroom has its views of the dunes and the breath-taking sunsets over the desert. The hotel has six restaurants and bars, offering food that draws inspiration from both Arabian flavours and the rustic traditions of Italy and the Mediterranean. Romantic pool-side dining can be enjoyed at Panache, while the hotel’s rooftop bar offers the perfect spot for a sundowner. You can also visit the resort’s remote desert camp, Al Mabeet, which offers an unforgettable dinner that captures the spirit of the region’s past.
Meanwhile, the Talise Spa is the place to go and get fully pampered. With 13 rooms, treatments include Turkish hammams, snow caves, hot and cold plunge pools, and crystal salt and IceLab Cryo Therapy rooms. For adventurous types, trips out to the desert dunes by car start before dawn to catch the epic sunrise. You can also enjoy desert treks, camel rides, archery and falconry shows every evening at the hotel.
For something slightly further afield, you can investigate the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Ferrari World, Yas Island, Saadiyat Island and the garden city in Al Ain, a UNESCO world heritage site. Or time your stay to coincide with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in November or the Sheikh Zayed heritage festival.
The beauty of this desert resort is not only the exquisite surroundings but also the weather – even in their winter it’s a winning destination for a holiday in the sun.
Doubles from £293 a night with breakfast. jumeirah.com