I know what you’re thinking: Why would anyone want to go into the desert when the city is at nearly unlivable temperatures?
I would have said the same thing had I not taken a drive out to Al Qudra last week to see the Perseid meteor shower. The takeaways: After dodging convoys of 4x4s to find the perfect secluded spot, fleeing a camel spider that invaded my picnic and trying to keep my eyelids open as sleep threatened to prevent my seeing any shooting stars, I couldn’t help but remark how wonderfully pleasant the weather was just 40 minutes out of Dubai. I could have slept out there.
Even better: At this time of year, the UAE’s desert retreats — which all tend to be the epitome of luxury — drop their prices to those who dare to break a sweat. Here’s our round-up of the offers.
Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara
This hotel in the Liwa desert, about as far out into the Empty Quarter as you can get within the UAE, is regularly listed alongside the world’s top hotels.
The Desert Discovery Package, available until December 31, includes two nights’ accommodation in a deluxe room, suite or villa, daily buffet breakfast for two people, two desert activities per person per stay. Rates start from Dh1,390 per night. Call 02-8862088.
Maha — A Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa
This gorgeous, secluded spot in a nature reserve near Dubai has summer rates until August 31, with rooms from Dh1,800 and Dh3,200 full board. There’s 20 per cent off food and beverages for those booking on bed and breakfast, and 20 per cent off spa treatments.
Rates includes 10 per cent service charges and 10 per cent municipality fee but not the Dh20 tourism fee (per night). Call 04-8329900.
Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa
This spot is one of the easiest desert retreats to access from Dubai, just a 40-minute drive away.
For summer, there’s a 30 per cent discount offer that includes breakfast, a free daily shuttle service to Dubai and unlimited wifi. Rates (with free cancellation before 6pm) start from Dh855 for a superior room, excluding taxes and fees. Call 04-8096498.
Tilal Liwa Hotel
Here’s another option in the Rub Al Khali, with a family focus. Summer rates start at Dh249 with buffet breakfast for two adults and two children under six, free Wi-Fi and desert activities, a free upgrade to the next room category with a desert view and a fruit basket. Call 02-8946111.