Anantara’s Palatial Desert Villas

  • The Anantara Royal Pavilion Villas by Qasr Al Sarab.

    The Anantara Royal Pavilion Villas by Qasr Al Sarab.

  • The resort has its own in-house falconer.

    The resort has its own in-house falconer.

  • The exclusive enclave of just 10 pool villas is set amid ocher dunes in southern Abu Dhabi.

    The exclusive enclave of just 10 pool villas is set amid ocher dunes in southern Abu Dhabi.

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Thirsting for a desert romance writ large? Then consider the Royal Pavilion Villas by Qasr Al Sarab  (doubles from US$1,635, including meals and activities), an exclusive enclave of just 10 pool villas set amid ocher dunes near the Liwa Oasis of southern Abu Dhabi. The compound is an offshoot of Anantara’s Qasr Al Sarab resort, and like its sprawling neighbor, it takes its architectural cues—crenelated walls, sturdy turrets—from the centuries-old mud-brick forts that dot the Liwa region. And while it also shares similar views across the vast sandscape of the Empty Quarter, the Royal Pavilion Villas is considerably more intimate in scale, with everything from spa treatments to dinner menus tailored to guests’ wishes. Diversions include falconry displays, archery, and 4×4 desert excursions, while the facilities at Qasr Al Sarab are just a camel ride away—with a personal cameleer to escort you, of course. —David Tse

This article originally appeared in the August/September 2014 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Sand Castles”)

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