Feasting among the dunes

Exploring the enigmatic Arabian Desert is a quintessential Dubai experience not to be missed. While many tour operators offer desert safaris with wild dune bashing; followed by a barbecue dinner in a desert camp with belly dancing, henna tattoos and camel rides; Platinum Heritage and Arabian Adventures offer a range of experiences to suit any budget, as well as some upmarket experiences, with private desert safaris followed by a gourmet dinner or traditional breakfast, perfect for couples and small groups.

Arabian Adventures offers a Just For You private sunset experience, group Bedouin camel and dune safaris, overnight glamping and dune buggy adventure tours. Or choose a Platinum Heritage traditional group experience at a Bedouin camp, or opt for a private-dining experience. After an afternoon drive in a Mercedes G-Wagon and vintage Land Rover through the tranquil Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, spotting wildlife and stopping for a falconry demonstration, a six-course dinner is served at a lantern-lit table under the stars. Then you can retire to the majlis, complete with carpets and cushions, with an aromatic shisha pipe. Early morning dune drives are also available, followed by an Arabic breakfast, while a local Bedouin regales you with tales of what desert life was like in the pre-oil days.

The acclaimed Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa offers a private Dune Dining experience that is similarly luxe, and available to in-house guests and as well as those staying elsewhere. Set within an oasis overlooking the russet sands of the conservation reserve, some 65 kilometres southeast of Dubai, this romantic eco-friendly resort is modelled on an old Arab fortress. With starched white linen, Persian carpets and flickering flame torches, the gourmet dinner – with menu options like marinated seafood antipasti, Arabic mezze and Catalan seafood stew – is a first-rate affair.

A more lively evening awaits at Bab Al Shams Desert Resort. Rising out of the dunes just 40 minutes from the bustling city centre, the fort-like spa resort is home to several open-air restaurants including Al Hadheerah. Based on an oasis village, the restaurant has a sumptuous Arabian buffet with mezze and salads, wood-fired ovens and spit roasts, and an array of desserts. Fuelling the 1001 Arabian Nights fantasy are falconry displays, camel rides, belly dancers, musicians and a spinning tanoura dancer. This is a great authentic experience that is very family-friendly and lots of fun.


Toasting the dunes | Arabian Adventures


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