The Luxe List 2010, United Arab Emirates: Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara, Abu Dhabi

Although less than two hour’s drive from Abu Dhabi’s international airport, Qasr Al Sarab feels a world away. Tucked amid the towering golden dunes of the Liwa Desert’s Empty Quarter—home to wild gazelles and rare oryx—the resort has been built like a medieval Emeriti fort, with earthen walls topped with crenellated parapets. The 206 guest rooms are just as romantic, each finished with finely carved dark-wood furniture, stone floors, wrought-iron lampshades, rich Persian carpets, and terrazzo bathtubs, and opening onto a private terrace from which you can watch the sun set crimson over the dunes. Book a villa and spend the day lounging beside your own plunge pool while nibbling on freshly baked pistachio pastries washed down with pots of bitter Omani coffee, or hop aboard a four-by-four for a desert tour with one of the in-house guides, who will shed light on the local ecosystem

Liwa Desert; 971-2/886-2088;; doubles from US$305

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