8 of the Best 'Glamping' Trips in the UAE
1 Banyan Tree Al Wadi
There’s glamping, and then there’s Banyan Tree. The luxury resort has 31 ‘tented’ villas with canopied ceilings, but that’s where the similarities to your average two-man canvas end. The gorgeous villas have luxurious beds, AC, televisions, Wi-Fi, mini bars and luxe bathrooms and furnishings. Set in a tranquil nature reserve, you can spot Arabian gazelles, camels and oryxes from your pool deck – yes, did we mention you get your own private pool? There’s also the luxury Banyan Tree Spa.We’re saving up.
INFO: From Dhs1,910, near Ras al Khaimah, 07 206 7777, www.banyantree.com.
2 Bedouin Oasis
This secluded camp offers you a chance to get in touch with the region’s historical past.Forget struggling with poles and canvas, the tents here are already set up. You’ll be transported to the camp, near Ras Al Khaimah, to enjoy Arabian-inspired activities such as henna painting, sand boarding, drumming, and camel riding.
In the evening you’ll enjoy a barbeque dinner of traditional food, before sitting by the campfire under a blanket of stars with a tipple from the bar. There are also proper loos on site and even towels are provided. There’s also a donkey! Photo op!
INFO: Dhs340, 04 266 6020, www.arabianincentive.com.
3 Absolute Adventure Centre
If you want to try wild activities but don’t fancy pitching your own tent, check out the Adventure Centre on the beach at Dibba, Oman. It sleeps 14 in air-conditioned comfort and you can go trekking, biking, climbing, kayaking diving and sailing. The centre is run by Paul Oliver who has tons of experience including leading major Himalayan climbs.
INFO: From Dhs1,250 per night for six guests, Absolute Adventure Centre, 04 345 9900, www.adventure.ae.
4 Private camping with Extreme Adventure Dubai
A private desert camping experience is offered by this company, and it sounds just perfect for those who like a party as a sound system and power generator can be arranged. You’ll head into the middle of the desert dunes where you’ll get your own individual tent and sleeping bag, plus shisha and a barbeque around a camp fire. Friendly staff will be on hand in case you need them, and large groups are also welcome. Perfect!
INFO: Dhs800 per person, 050 883 8833, www.adventure-dubai.com.
5 Qasr Al Sarab
Anantara’s luxury desert resort offers the perfect chance to get active. Situated in the vast Liwa Desert, facilities include archery, camel trekking, desert walks, biking, dune bashing, falconry, tennis and a fitness centre as well as a lush swimming pool. You can take a tour of the fascinating landscape. Or, get in touch with your chi at the spa, which is where you’ll find us.
INFO: From Dhs1,390 for a two-night package, Abu Dhabi, 02 886 2088, www.qasralsarab.anantara.com.
6 Starlight Express with Arabian Adventures
Not to be confused with the rollerskating musical, this is an overnight desert camping trip from tourism giant Arabian Adventures. You’ll journey through the epic sand dunes of Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve in a 4 x 4 before enjoying a barbeque and entertainment at a tented camp. Linen and towels are provided, and there are even showers. After breakfast you’ll go looking for wildlife, which we have a feeling might include camels loping across the sand – we hope so!
INFO: Dhs695, 04 303 4888, www.arabian-adventures.com.
7 Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa
If, like us, your ears prick up at the words ‘five star desert resort’ you’ll love it here. The lavish suites are inspired by Bedouin tents, though you’ll never have to leave behind home comforts. They have their own infinity pools looking out onto the tranquil desert and are decorated with traditional furnishings and extra touches including binoculars, and even an easel and paints! Sorry, but we won’t be leaving the sun lounger. Bring us a cocktail, please!
INFO: From Dhs4,800 per night, Dubai, 04 832 9900, www.al-maha.com.
8 Liwa Adventure
Liwa is the beginning of the Empty Quarter, the largest sand desert in the world, and this trip allows you to spend an amazing night there. After being driven for three hours over the dunes (take your travel sickness pills) you’ll set up camp for the night as the sun sets. A traditional night of shisha and barbeque awaits. Get up for sunrise before heading to the 300ft-high Moreeb sand dune for photo opportunities. This is the perfect chance to see this unique part of the desert.
INFO: Dhs3,000 per car, Abu Dhabi Adventure Tours, 055 357 0011, www.abudhabiadventure.com.