In need of a short but sufficient break from urban life, we head out to the sandy landscape of Abu Dhabi’s Jumeirah Al Wathba Desert Resort & Spa for a UAE staycation.
A&E enjoys a desert escape in Abu Dhabi's Jumeirah Al Wathba Desert Resort & Spa
As we drive up towards the stunning Jumeirah Al Wathba Desert Resort & Spa within the sandy depths of the Abu Dhabi desert, only the yellow-tinted grains surrounding the hotel, we already feel a world away from the noise and chaos of the city.
And by the time we’ve been greeted by the warm and friendly staff upon arrival, checked in at reception and been escorted through the tranquil resort to our abode for the weekend, crowded shopping malls and beeping cars are definitely a distance memory, at least for the few days ahead. From lazing poolside to tucking in alfresco, here’s how we spend the weekend in the stunning location.
Resort & Accommodation
Within moments of arriving and wandering, we’re already won over on an ocular level. The aesthetics of the resort are inspired by classic desert dwellings in the Middle East, and the boutique resort’s 103 guest rooms and villas feature timeless local details and traditional artwork.
The creamy stone villas are complemented by the golden sand surroundings, with large brown clay pots giving colour in an equally mellow tone as you walk through.
To bring a touch of life to the neutral decor of the resort at large, the rooms offer a splash of colour and traditional decoration. Adding personality to the private space are Arabian rugs lining the floors, pale wood furniture and lamps in the style of traditional lanterns.
Settling in, we head out to enjoy our balcony view of the dry landscape and enjoy the sound of silence before exploring further.
Spa & Poolside Relaxation
After dropping our bags, we naturally head straight to the luxurious pool. The designated space is generous, with a large main pool overlooking the desert (with a hot tub area attached) and sun loungers either lined in a row for groups or coupled away in more private pockets for couples.
Lined with palm trees, the pool stretches out towards the desert and non-abrasive music creates a gentle ambience, keeping within the tone of the resort at large. Relaxed, we dip our lower halves into the water as we enjoy a refreshing beverage at the pool bar as the heat increases.
Heating up and ready to truly relax, we head to the Talise Spa which boasts ten treatment rooms and separate spa areas for male and female guests. Each includes a crystal salt sauna, steam rooms, plunge pools, snow caves, traditional Turkish hammam, a unique cryo experience and an invigorating ice bucket shower.
We try the Hamman Facial and the Deep Tissue Massage. The first is a treatment adapted the individual skin needs and starts with a double cleansing ritual using activated charcoal and bergamot, which can both help to draw out and treat impurities.
Next, our skin is exfoliated with a delicate rose and date mix followed by being swept with a solution to help clear pores alongside an aromatic steam treatment. A bespoke mask is applied after an argan-oil massage, while a prickly pear cactus elixir – known for its antioxidant properties – seals the treatment. We wake up from our haze to find our skin soft, clear and glowing.
As for the latter, the massage focuses on achy areas and worked into the muscles to relieve tension and ease stress. Once we leave the treatment room, we feel truly relaxed as our shoulders feel lighter and body movements flow since the tension has lifted.
Food & Dining
During our stay at Jumeirah Al Wathba Desert Resort & Spa, we dine at three of the food establishments – breakfast at Bait Al Hanine, lunch at Panache and dinner at Terra Secca, each one a delight.
The buffet breakfast has everything you would expect and then some – freshly cooked eggs whichever way you take them, traditional Arabic foul, cold cut meats and cheese, rows of inticing cereal and granola options, fresh fruit and an array of flavoured honey along with a selection of muffins and sweetbreads. All with fresh juice, tea and coffee to compliment it.
Lunch at Panache is served to us poolside, and we peck at nachos with guacamole, vegan rice rolls, salad and calamari. The portions are generous and the food fresh, exceeding our expectations for our midday snack.
Diner at the Italian eatery is the main culinary event of our stay, however. Braving the humid outdoors, we dine overlooking the sandy desert come evening and nibble on freshly baked bread, refreshing salads and comforting pasta dishes. Of course, a refreshing sorbet cools us off by the end of the evening. The staff are warm and welcoming and accommodating to our particular requests.
These are just some of the dining option available.
While we don’t get the chance to explore them, the resort holds many desert activities such as horse riding, daily falcon shows, a dune biking adventure, a nocturnal animal hike and more.
And with our overall experience being once of complete calm, comfort and indulgence, we’ll be sure to try them out the next time we visit Abu Dhabi’s Jumeirah Al Wathba Desert Resort & Spa.
Find out more at jumeirah.com.