Monday, May 16, 2011

1001 Arabian Nights - A Desert Retreat in United Arab Emirates

About 2 hours from Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates lies a unique desert 
retreat called Anantara Qasr Al Sarab.  The word Anantara in Sanskrit means 
"without end" which is meant to evoke a feeling of freedom and harmony.  If 
the library is any indication of what the resort is like, I'm in!  It's a wonderful
modern mix of Arabic and rustic desert style.

Have you ever thought of going to the desert for a retreat?  I must admit that
 it's not the first place I usually think of for a retreat, but, it does have a different
kind of appeal.  

Especially if the stars look like this in the middle of the desert.  
The sky looks clear enough to see the milky way.

Part of the appeal for me is the wide open space of a desert.  Just like the ocean, 
the desert has its own fits and can be calm as it is violent in a sand storm.  I can
 just imagine Lawrence of Arabia in this vast space. 

What a fantastic entrance! 

I've always loved fountains in a courtyard.

One of the best things I love about Islamic architecture are the arches.

This room manages to look spacious and cozy at the same time with its
 warm rugs and textured ceiling.  Not always an easy balance to achieve.  
I could definitely see myself spending a peaceful week here.

A suite with a generous balcony.

A villa with a dipping pool with a desert view that transports one 
out of this world.

Since I was a child, I've always been entranced with tents.  
Bedouin tents are so comfortable with all of the lounging
spaces.  It certainly sets the stage for socializing in comfort.  

Now isn't this what you would imagine an exotic desert hang out
space to look like?

You can always go for a camel trek if things get too quiet.
For those of you who have never ridden on a camel, they
are very tall - so if you have a fear of heights like me, have
a care.  But in any case, well worth the experience.

It may not be everyone, but this gives meaning to the phrase 
"In the middle of nowhere."  Sometimes, having a little 
quiet time in a place that is so foreign from what one is used
to makes it easier for one to reflect.  It's also a fantastic way to
try something different.

So what are your thoughts in general?  Do you like the decor?
Would you go to a place like this?  Why or why not?

Photos from Qasr Al Sarab's website