The idea of a destination spa vacation often evokes images of Bali’s lush tropical forests, or perhaps a therapy room overlooking Thailand’s romantic beaches and azure ocean. Budapest’s 16th-century bath houses and thermal springs may also come to mind. But blissful serenity in the heart of a bustling desert city? While that may not spring to mind, the newly renovated Desert Spa located within Dubai’s celebrated Bab Al Shams Desert Resort begs to differ.
Featuring the detoxifying power and healing traditions of the hammam, the Desert Spa offers therapeutic sessions and mindful treatments drawing heat and healing from the surrounding Arabian Desert. The extensive list of massages and specialized services include the Blissful Desert Rose Experience — three hours of head-to-toe indulgence that begins with an invigorating full-body exfoliation and incorporates an aromatherapy massage, body wrap, customized facial, and scalp massage. Pressed for time? Enjoy the 90-minute Rose Bliss Ritual, which features an invigorating full-body exfoliation and a traditional Balinese massage with naturally blended oils.
While the spa might be the proverbial gem in the crown, wellness is found throughout the resort — a sauna, steam room, relaxation areas, state-of-the-art fitness facility, and a temperature-controlled infinity pool surrounded by private cabanas are also available.
Arabic for “Gateway to the Sun,” Bab Al Shams offers an array of adventures, including breakfast in a hot air balloon, falconry, sandboarding, desert safaris, and nature tours…
Inner peace is one transformative journey, yet soul-rattling experiences are also on the itinerary. Arabic for “Gateway to the Sun,” Bab Al Shams offers an array of adventures, including breakfast on a hot air balloon, falconry, sandboarding, desert safaris, and nature tours to the Al Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve (the first unfenced nature conservation area in the United Arab Emirates). The reserve is also a sanctuary for rare and endangered species, including the Egyptian nightjar, giant skipper butterfly, and the Arabian oryx.
For the quintessential desert experience, climbing the expansive sand dunes is decidedly better atop a camel — just as nomadic Bedouins navigated the same landscape centuries ago. Come nightfall, the Arabian Desert’s black canopy is ideal for star gazing with a local astronomer, while equestrian sports allow guests to connect with one of the UAE’s most cherished customs. For a different type of horsepower, explore the desert on an electric fat-tire bike, specially designed to skim over the sand rather than sink in it. Your personalized guide will share the stunning sights, sounds, and secrets of the desert that surrounds Bab Al Shams.