Staycation Travel

Introducing Al Wathba, a Luxury Collection Desert Oasis

Marriott International have introduced their signature Luxury Collection to Abu Dhabi with the opening of Al Wathba

Marriott International have introduced their signature Luxury Collection to Abu Dhabi, marketing the debut of the iconic portfolio in the UAE capital with the impossibly beautiful Arabian-style resort of Al Wathba.

A celebration of Emirati culture through its design, cuisine and memorable desert experiences, Al Watha Desert Resort & Spa is nestled deep within the expansive landscape of Abu Dhabi, only 30-minute drive from the statuesque Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque but feeling a world away from the high-rise skyscrapers that dot Abu Dhabi’s coastline.

A must-stay for tourists and residents alike, it’s bucket-list design is reminiscent of a historic desert village; an intimate retreat suffused with natural beauty, unique tranquility, and rare experiences. Inspired by native architecture and the destination’s rich history, the resort’s 103 guest rooms and villas feature traditional arabesque flourishes, mashrabiya detailing, and Bedouin accessories. Just don’t forget your camera.

The villas are indulgent. Private plunge pools and an expansive patio give way to unlimited view of the surrounding Arabian Desert. Interiors are neutral and understated as you’d expect, sitting in harmony with the spectacular landscape.

There’s six dining venues and bars to choose from, that lend themselves to a range of unique epicurean experiences. Bait Al Hanine offers a generous menu, including a wide selection of Lebanese classics, for all-day dining; Al
Mabeet features authentic Emirati cuisine in an understated desert setting; Hayaakom, a Bedouin-inspired lounge serves scrumptious afternoon tea and sandwiches; Terra Secca is a trattoria-style, classic Italian
restaurant that offers guests a theatrical view of the kitchen and chefs; Al Mesayan, an intimate rooftop bar serves as an ideal spot for stargazing or dune watching, and Panache offers a relaxed pool respite.

But there’s more. Nestled within a picturesque garden, the hotel’s spa is the pinnacle of the entire hotel experience. Enjoy a range of health and wellness rituals in a stunning setting, whilst harnessing age-old techniques for the ultimate relaxation. With 11 treatment rooms, the spa also boasts
relaxation areas including a healing crystal salt sauna, traditional Turkish hammam, unique cryo experience, an open-air yoga pavilion, invigorating ice shower as well as steam rooms, plunge pools, and snow caves.

Furthermore, Al Wathba Desert Resort & Spa offers the change to immerse yourself in the rich and varied culture of the region, an opportunity to discover the rich heritage and history of Abu Dhabi and the Emirates. Discover Fossil Dunes or tour the surrounding desert on horseback for an understanding of the Emirati passion for all things equine. The Al Wathba camel race track provides education about the UAE’s age-old tradition, and skilled falconers offer private shows of the UAE’s national bird.

Beauty does not stop at golden desert sands however. Al Wathba is also home to diverse flora and fauna, including 4,000 greater flamingos that call the Al Wathba Wetlands home. A breathtaking sight! Take a guided tour of the sabkhas, or sand flats, and dunes, for an insight into their inhabitants and bird migration patterns as well as discover the medicinal uses of local plants by Bedouin tribes.

It’s not so much a luxury stay as an immersive education. Joining its sister property Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa (please see previous review) it offers a rare glimpse into the region’s rich history whilst offering guests the unmistakable luxury experience that Marriott’s Luxury Collection properties are known, and loved, for.

It’s a must visit, seen to be believed and if you’re becoming complacent with the luxury glamour that Dubai and Abu Dhabi offer up in bucketloads, then a visit to Al Wathba is exactly what you need to reset your mind and offers a mesmerising reminder of the plethora of experiences that the emirates have to offer. Not to be missed.

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