Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Holiday break: Bab Al Shams

The government has just confirmed that public and private sectors will get a one day holiday on Sunday, June 17, to mark Al Isra Wal Miraj (the ascension of Prophet Mohammed).

So, here I am again with one of my hotel reviews to inspire you. This time, I present you with Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa

The place is set among beautiful dunes and built in what seems like a modern and stylized version of a true Arab village, with small passageways, courtyards and corridors providing a unique atmosphere.

The rooms have sort of a rustic feel, like you are in a tent or something, but with all the modern amenities you may need, want or desire, of course. And the bathrooms, oh the bathrooms, simply amazing – especially the huge tubs! You can practically go for a swim in one of those!

But the main attractions are located outside: desert safari, camel and horse riding, archery, mini golf, yoga, spa and a magical and inspiring infinity pool where you will be able to relax and drown all your worries and sorrows. And while you are at it, make sure you enjoy all the complimentary little treats (fresh fruits, popsicles, wet towels, etc.) offered to you from time to time.

Travelling with children? They will have a blast here! Besides taking part in many of the above mentioned activities, they have a dedicated Kid’s Club with a daily program for children from 2 to 12 years old. And if you want to have a romantic dinner with the hubby, you can always book the babysitting service available at an additional charge.

Picky when it comes to food? You will have plenty of options at Bab Al Shams! Al Hadheerah, for example, is the region’s first authentic open air desert restaurant, with an authentic Middle Eastern buffet. The food is great, but it might feel a bit touristy for locals and expats living in the UAE. If that is your case, no worries, you can always go for Indian cuisine (Masala), or pizza (Pizzeria Le Dune), or the well known international buffet option (Al Forsan Restaurant).

Another great thing about Bab Al Shams is its location. You can be there in only 45 minutes (from Abu Dhabi’s city center)! So, if you are not in the mood to spend the night, you can always go for the day use package and enjoy access to the pool, restaurants and other activities.

What are you waiting for? Call and book now! Oh, and remember to ask for GCC resident rates and other special offers they might have.

Now... some minor, little, tiny cons:
  • The property was previously managed by the Jumeirah Group, but recently moved into the hands of Meydan Hotels. Not sure if this had an impact on staff or not, but they could use a little extra training.
  • It can be kind of tricky getting to and from your room at first, since there are many small passageways, courtyards and corridors, but it does get easier after a while.
  • Rooms could use a little more light. The floor and table lamps are not enough at times, especially at night
  • The show with live music and dancers at Al Hadheerah is really interesting but it does get tiring after a while since the artists need to go around to every single table to take pictures with the guests.
But don't let this discourage you! The hotel is truly worth a visit! Take a look at some images below (from the official Bab Al Shams website) and see for yourself...

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