Quite simply one of the most sensational wilderness resorts in the world, this super luxury hotel is an epic citadel deep in the sand sea hinterland.
Set deep in the great sweeping sandscape, the resort has been built into and around the dunes and commands regal views down a vast valley. Opened in late 2009, it has already won great accolades and looks set for many more.
LOCATION: Rub Al Khali, Liwa, Ancient Interior
Phone: 02 886 2088
An old-favourite located in the heart of the Liwa oasis - that has for years been tempting tired campers with its swimming pool and restaurant.
Phone: 02 882 8000
Overlooking the camel racetrack and training grounds outside Madinat Zayed, this stunning and exciting new hotel is an easy to reach desert retreat.
Styled like a traditional fort, Tilal Liwa looks out across an infinity swimming pool and through a giant archway to the golden dunes beyond. Its location is perfectly positioned for Madinat Zayed and the Al Dhafra Camel Festival, and exploring the Liwa area. One of the newest properties in Al Gharbia, this four-star hideaway comes with five-star style. Situated just beyond Madinat Zayed, it is far enough off the main road to Liwa to give guests the full desert feel.
LOCATION: Madinat Zayed
Phone: 02 894 6111
A grand, falcon-shaped hotel that gazes out to sea over lush landscaped gardens and a lagoon-shaped swimming pool.
Phone: 02 883 3030
Nestled between the desert landscape and the clean waters of the Arabian Gulf, is Danat Resort, Jebel Dhanna. The resort offers 109 luxurious rooms and is an oasis of luxury and tranquillity; blending the Arabian Hospitality and stunning surroundings into the perfect setting.
LOCATION: Jebel Dhanna
Phone: 02 894 6111
A pleasant and reasonably priced hotel, this beach resort was popular with the great Sheikh Zayed and it is still a charming place to stay.
LOCATION: Jebel Dhanna
Phone: 02 877 1600
One of the most unique and luxurious resorts in the world, this private island hideaway is accessible only by boat or the hotel’s private aircraft.
An extraordinary and inimitable resort, this is a beach hotel and safari lodge rolled into one. It has become a favourite weekend retreat for residents of the UAE and has won awards for its hotel, decor and spa. But its past is even more impressive: Sir Bani Yas was the island retreat of the great Sheikh Zayed, regarded as the father of the UAE, who instigated the planting of mangroves and introduction of wildlife. His descendants have graced the hotel in his honour and the resort stands proud today as a rugged royal retreat.
LOCATION: Sir Bani Yas Island, The Desert Islands
Phone: 02 801 5400
Simple and basic accommodation is available throughout the region. The hosts tend to be welcoming and are usually happy to offer local advice and arrange for take-away meals.
There are a number of simple motels along the main coastal highway always attached to small clusters of shops and mechanics workshops. Delma Island Motel provides the only overnight accommodation on the island. It’s busiest during the Delma Island Festival, when it is worth phoning ahead to check availability.
Inland there are basic rest houses in Madinat Zayed and Liwa that cater to businessmen, local travellers and visiting families.
Liwa Resthouse 02 882 2075
Madinat Zayed Rest House 02 884 6281
Ghayathi Rest House 02 874 1003
Sila Rest House 02 872 1009
Delma Island Motel 02 878 1222
Constant sunshine and an awe-inspiring array of locations make camping a much-loved activity in Al Gharbia. In general, warm temperatures and next to no rain means you can camp with much less equipment and preparation than in other countries, and many first-timers, and families with children, find that camping becomes their favourite weekend break.
For most, the best time to camp is between October and April, as during the summer it can get unbearably hot sleeping outside. And within, Al Gharbia can choose between the unbeatable peace and tranquillity of the desert or the fun of camping on the beach right by the sea.