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Bab Al Shams Desert Resort - Dubai, UAE | Resort Review

A romantic fortress with excellent restaurants, superior service and true luxury.


Bab Al Shams Desert Resort and Spa - Dubai, UAE: Located in the middle of the dunes about 45 minutes away from Dubai International Airport, the Bab Al Shams Desert Resort and Spa is a romantic Arabic fortress consisting of low-rise buildings made from mock-sandstone. Bab Al Shams, which means “Doorway to the Sun,” was owned and run by the luxury Jumeirah Hotel chain but, as of January 1, 2011, is now operated by Meydan LLC. This Dubai desert resort is a less expensive alternative to the more exclusive Al Maha. Click here to see over 30 pictures of Bab Al Shams Desert Resort in Dubai.

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First Impression/Lobby: We booked our room directly with the Bab Al Shams Desert Resort and the young lady that took our reservation seemed clueless about what the hotel had to offer. The booking process was such a turn off that we almost decided to cancel.

How glad I was that we gave this hotel a chance. Upon our arrival, the hotel’s regal and idyllic structure immediately captivated my senses. The moment we got out of the car, the hotel’s bellmen, dressed in traditional Middle Eastern clothing, greeted us with enthusiasm, attended to our bags, and showed us the way to the front desk.

Compared to the surroundings outside, the lobby was not as impressive. It was small and had a true Arabic feel, but it did not give a good indication of just how beautiful our stay would turn out to be in this Dubai desert resort.

Reception: At the reception, a sharply suited young man immediately attended to us and completed our registration without a hitch. Within minutes we were shown to our room.

The Room: Our decision to stay at the Bab Al Shams desert resort was made at the last minute and the best room we could get was a Superior Room; all the suites had already been booked. The room, as with the hotel lobby, had a rustic Arabian theme decorated with intricate pots and jars, heavy and dark wooden furniture, low hanging lamps, antique looking runners, and Persian carpets. The aged whitish cement floors and walls gave the room a cool and medieval feel. It had access to a small patio and a desert view that was nothing special.

The bathroom had a large bathtub and was spacious enough to enjoy a long and luxurious bath in.

Room Service: Their room service menu was well rounded and had everything we could crave for at any time of the day from traditional Arabian to International cuisine. Placing our orders was simple, something that is not always the case in that part of the world. A fluent English speaking person on the other end of the phone was a welcome bonus.

The food was delivered on time and was tasty, but what pleased me the most is the knowledge that the room service attendant had.

We him asked about the various restaurants in the Bab Al Shams desert resort, the food they served, and the hours they were open, and he coolly answered our questions one after the other without a problem. It was impressive!

Housekeeping: The housekeeping’s attention to detail was admirable as was their response to our special requests: Extra water, extra towels, etc. Whatever we needed they were quick to respond. Bombastic!

Concierge: We only used the concierge (guest services) to arrange for our car transfer back to the hotel, but they were professional and knowledgeable—two important factors we look for in a concierge.

Restaurants: We dined at their Indian restaurant, Masala, which had live Tandoori cooking stations and had great fun. The food and service was excellent. Another time, we had dinner at Al Hadheerah, a Bedouin-style restaurant that had a great variety of Arabian and International food and an entertaining live show of belly dancers, folk dancers, bands, henna painting, and sunset shisha. It was almost like a Disney fairytale.

Other restaurant and bar choices in the hotel include Al Forsan (international buffet with terrace dining), Al Sarab Rooftop Lounge (shisha and cocktails), Al Shurouq Lounge (light snacks and desert views), Le Dune Pizzeria (Italian), and Ya Hala Lounge (afternoon tea)

Pool/Spa/Activities: The Bab Al Shams desert resort has a gorgeous swimming pool at the side of the desert, a lap pool and a pool bar with consistently attentive service. Other fun activities offered in the hotel include desert adventures like camel safari, horse riding, falconry, and 4-wheel desert driving.

Check-Out: As with everything (aside from the initial reservation) at the resort, check out was quick, easy and professional.

Overall Impression: We had visited another desert resort a month earlier, the Banyan Tree Al Wadi in Ras Al Khaimah, UAE, and I can definitely say that the Bab Al Shams Desert Resort is the far more superior of the two. The level of service is 100 times better than what we had experienced at Banyan Tree. The only advantage of the Banyan resort is their private pools, but the splendid desert-side pools of the Bab Al Shams more than made up for it.

Even though the view from our room was dull, our visit to this Dubai desert resort was perfect and we gladly give it a rating of Bombastic!

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