Above:Â Overlooking the Rubâ€™ al-Khali from a poolside perch at the Qasr Al Sarab resort.
A trio of soon-to-open properties aims to up the luxury ante in the Persian Gulf. In October, look for the unveiling of Anantaraâ€™s second venture in Abu Dhabi, the Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort (971-2/642-8412; qasralsarab.anantara.com; doubles from US$381). This 206-villa oasis makes the most of its location amid the towering dunes of the Rubâ€™ al-Khaliâ€”one of the largest sand deserts in the worldâ€”offering diversions ranging from sand surfing to falconry and quad-bike tours.
Also in the UAE, the Banyan Tree Al Wadi (971-7/206-7777; banyantree.com; doubles from US$580) will open on the outskirts of Ras Al Khaimah before the end of the year. The resortâ€™s 101 pool villas (some of them tented) will be spread across more than 100 hectares at Wadi Khadeja, a protected enclave of evergreen ghaf trees 45 minutes from Dubai. And in the KuwaitiÂ capital, Italian fashion house Missoni will launch its second property with the early-2010 debut of the 169-room Hotel Missoni Kuwait (965/9999-1357; hotelmissoni.com; doubles from US$379). Expect edgy decor with bold patterns and a palette of gold, turquoise, and beige; for an extra whiff of sophistication, toiletries will be scented with Missoniâ€™s signature fragrance. â€“SARI WIJAYA
Originally appeared in the October/November 2009 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (â€śHotels Arabian Nightsâ€ť)