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A chance to experience the Emirates’ Empty Quarter

Tourism is developing inland in the less-frequented Emirates

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A chance to experience the Emirates’ Empty Quarter

Image: Nicolas Dumont

November 03 2009
Claire Wrathall

Dubai may be a popular choice for winter sun, but tourism is developing inland in the less-frequented Emirates too. The Thai spa specialist Anantara has just opened the Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort (pictures one and two; qasralsarab.anantara.com; four-night packages from £919 including flights, through Destinology, www.destinology.co.uk), 90 minutes from Abu Dhabi airport, amid the beautiful dunes of Rub’-al-Khali, or Empty Quarter (picture three).

Later this month also sees the opening of the Banyan Tree Al Wadi (www.banyantree.com; $580 per villa), 45 minutes from Dubai International Airport in the neighbouring state of Ras al Khaimah, with hydrotherapy spa, nature reserve and beach club (though the coast is a 20-minute drive away). All its 101 expansive villas have private pools, even the 31 “Bedouin-style” tented ones. Purists take note: this is Bedouin styling à la mode, complete with plasma-screen TV, wi-fi, air-con, minibar et al.