Bab Al Shams Desert Resort is set to reopen next month

Returning as the first Rare Finds hotel, it will preserve its legacy as one of the first desert escapes in Dubai.

Several resorts have taken up residence among the UAE’s rolling sand dunes in recent years, but only one has been a desert mainstay for nearly two decades: Bab Al Shams. Now, after closing to the public in May 2022, the iconic property is gearing up to welcome guests from 10 February. Following a complete revamp, it will reopen as the first Rare Finds hotel, a new collection of resorts by Kerzner, which operates both One&Only Resorts and Atlantis Resorts and Residences.

Nestled within the golden dunes of the desert on the outskirts of Dubai, Bab Al Shams Desert Resort is an oasis of tranquillity, combining rustic charm with exceptional hospitality to deliver an authentic Bedouin experience. Arabic for ‘gateway to the sun’, Bab Al Shams is accented with details inspired by the earthy tones of the desert throughout the day, illuminated by the sun and the moon. Blending seamlessly with its surroundings, the resort houses 115 lavish rooms and suites within 16 two-storey buildings. A modern oasis, the resort is reimagined as a relaxing haven with a subtly Moorish feel.

Bab Al Shams

Elevating a modern-retro appeal, Bab Al Shams will continue to serve one-of-a-kind dining experiences. Championing local producers and using responsibly sourced ingredients, every outlet highlights the best of Middle Eastern cuisine, adding to the city’s vibrant culinary scene. Al Hadheerah, of course, is an unmatched multisensory culinary experience rooted in Arabic heritage. The outlet is a bridge linking the past to the future under the desert stars, complete with a living souk, authentic cuisine cooked onsite, dancers, musicians, falconers, and camel riders. Elsewhere, the resort’s signature dining destination, Zala (meaning ‘canopy’) resembles the resort’s architectural details and transports guests to a contemporary Ottoman and Greek-inspired eatery with theatrical kitchens and a vibrant ambience.

Bab Al Shams

The resort is also home to Ya Hala (a hideaway cigar and residents’ lounge with the charm of an old-world club) and Anwā Sunset Lounge (which blends diverse culinary traditions from South-East Asia). With its desert setting, the lounge calls on guests to look up and take in the stars as an appreciation for the night sky as a way of navigation. For those escaping to the desert in search of self-care, Bab Al Shams Spa offers a whole host of rejuvenating treatments and mindful therapies that were inspired by diverse world traditions and contemporary techniques.

Bab Al Shams

As for the heart of the resort? The beloved infinity pool, which repeatedly wins rave reviews and has also been upgraded. And if a little adventure is in order, guests can try their hand at horse-riding, camelback trekking, falconry, and fat biking. A unique perspective, meanwhile, comes courtesy of a ride in a private hot-air balloon that floats over the desert at sunrise. Come 10 February, Bab Al Shams will once again tend to families with a variety of break-out spaces and activities, beginning with a dedicated experience lounge that features a selection of board games, movies, and an outdoor sand adventure playground with a children’s zip line. Bookings are now open.

GO: Visit for reservations and more information.

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Samia Qaiyum
A textbook third culture kid with a perpetual thirst for adventure, Samia Qaiyum specialises in travel and culture, having lived in five countries and travelled to 34 others – just don't ask her to define the word 'home'.

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