Though inhabited for thousands of years by nomadic Bedouin tribes, Abu Dhabi’s Empty Quarter is one of Earth’s hottest, driest, and least hospitable environments. The Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara—opened in October amid the Empty Quarter’s golden-red dunes—is one of the planet’s most welcoming.
Thailand’s Anantara group modeled its latest resort, which sits adjacent to a 200-foot-high dune 90 minutes outside of Abu Dhabi’s capital, after an ancient Emirati fort. Many of the property’s 206 guest rooms offer sundecks and private pools from which to view the Arabian oryx and mountain gazelle that wander down to a watering hole from the nearby 2,200-acre nature reserve. Even finer vantages can be found at the main swimming pool and at Suhail, a rooftop restaurant with a wine cave.
Visitors to Qasr Al Sarab can also dine in a Bedouin-inspired tent among the dunes. Other activities at the resort include trekking through the desert by foot, camel, or air-conditioned 4×4. Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara, +971.2.886.2088, www.anantara.com