When visiting Dubai, you'll have to take a trip to the desert on the outskirts of the city if you want to enjoy some of the most memorable activities the emirate offers. And spending one or several nights in the heart of the desert will also be one of the must-do experiences that you should do at least once during your trip to Dubai. In this short guide, I will present to you the different options available for sleeping in the Dubai desert. From hotels (sometimes very luxurious), to desert camps (much more authentic), one thing is sure – you are bound to find the perfect place to spend the night in the desert in Dubai.
A NIGHT IN THE DESERT OF DUBAI – IN A HOTEL OR IN A TENT?
Discovering the desert of Dubai is without a doubt one of the most incredible activities you can do during your trip. After leaving the city, you can quickly reach the desert to enjoy a unique natural spectacle, and practice many activities such as 4x4 safari, quad biking, camel riding, hot air balloonin or sandboarding.
These activities can all be done on a day trip, but I really recommend spending at least one night in the Dubai desert. There are several simple reasons for this. First of all, it will allow you to get a little deeper into the desert. Also, you will get to witness a sunset and sunrise in the desert – and believe me, it is a breathtaking experience. Finally, your night itself will be memorable. You will have the choice between two types of accommodation:
- Spending the night in a hotel, to enjoy more comfort and to sleep in a particularly privileged and pleasant environment, in the heart of the desert;
- Sleeping in a desert camp, an experience that is often much more affordable (at least half the price), and much more authentic. You will sleep in a tent, after having spent a memorable evening enjoying a local meal and participating in some traditional activities.
Generally, hotels are ideal for people who want to enjoy maximum comfort, but also more autonomy. These hotels are particularly suitable for family trips, as children will be able to enjoy more complete facilities. Spending the night in a hotel is also perfect for discovering the desert more freely, and really going for the activities of your choice whenever you want.
Campsites, on the other hand, are more for adventurers and sportsmen ready to give up some comfort for a more realistic experience. On the other hand, nights in the camps are often scheduled as part of organized 2-day excursions, so they are part of a complete program that leaves less freedom for tourists – with a pick-up at the hotel, an outing in the dunes followed by a barbecue, and then a trip back to the hotel the next day.
Fortunately, these organized trips are generally well-thought-out and very comprehensive, and they will allow you to do just about anything you might want to do in the Dubai desert anyway.
SLEEPING IN A HOTEL IN THE DESERT
Perhaps when you imagine a hotel in the desert, you think of a small, isolated hotel, a little old and which could slightly lack comfort. Far from it! Remember that desert or not, you are still in Dubai – luxury is never far away. Dubai's desert resorts are just as comfortable and well-equipped as those in the city.
You will find swimming pools, restaurants, and beautiful, well-decorated, comfortable and air-conditioned rooms. From these hotels, you will also be able to go to the desert to take part in the activities of your choice – you can for example choose to go dune bashing in an all-terrain car, to discover the ancestral tradition of falconry, or to go on a beautiful camel ride.
Hotels in the heart of Dubai's desert are often very expensive. In the rest of this post, the rates indicated are for rooms booked several weeks in advance, and outside the busiest tourist periods. These prices are therefore likely to rise much higher at certain times of the year.
THE BEST HOTELS TO STAY IN THE DESERT OF DUBAI
- The Bab Al Shams Desert Resort
- is a large 5 star resort located in the middle of the dunes, close to the city. All the luxuries of a large hotel are present in this establishment: swimming pools, restaurants, gym, bar, spa ... you can enjoy all the modern facilities, in a privileged and particularly pleasant environment. This complex was built in the style of a traditional Arabian fort, with a pleasant garden, fountains and a typical decoration.
To spend a night in this hotel, in a beautiful double room with a view of the garden, you will have to pay about $257.
- The Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa is a 5 star hotel located about a 45-minute drive from Dubai – right in the Dubai Conservation Reserve. The resort features charming Bedouin tents and luxurious facilities. The hotel has a superb swimming pool, a large garden with a terrace and a restaurant offering a variety of dishes. The rooms are huge, the place absolutely quiet and the staff particularly attentive. As for the rates, double rooms at this hotel start at around $386 per night.
- The Starlight Camp is an establishment that offers a somewhat hybrid experience. Here, about 24 miles (40 km) from the city of Dubai, you will spend the night in a tent – but a luxurious one, with all the modern comforts you would expect from a 5 star hotel.
This luxury tent is located in the middle of the desert, in the heart of the dunes. You will spend the night in a round tent with a crystal roof, allowing for a breathtaking view of the beautiful starry sky during the night – it will make for a particularly romantic experience. You will have the opportunity to enjoy a well-equipped dining and sitting area, including a barbecue, a coffee machine and a telescope.
Spending a night in the heart of the desert in these luxury tents is an indescribable experience... and reserved for those with a substantial budget. Indeed, a tent for two people with a large double bed is offered for about $600 per night!
SLEEPING IN A CAMP
To get a glimpse of what desert life is really like, the best thing you can do is to sleep in the desert of Dubai, on a two-day, one-night immersion tour of an authentic Bedouin camp.
Several providers offer these types of experiences that are sure to leave you with unforgettable memories of your stay in the UAE. The tour I am about to present is one of the most complete:
You'll be picked up in the city and driven in a 4x4 on a desert safari, during which you'll have the choice between relaxing and enjoying the scenery; or riding a quad bike in the dunes.
An experienced guide will take you into the heart of the desert (adapting his driving to your preferences) and you will also have the opportunity to sandboardon the red dunes.
Once done, you will go to your camp, where you will settle in and enjoy a typical coffee, before leaving for a bit to go enjoy a beautiful sunset over the desert.
Back at the camp, you will put on typical Arab clothes and do some local activities such as smoking shisha, taking pictures with the falcons or getting a henna tattoo.
Afterwards, you will enjoy an authentic barbecue with an open buffet of many dishes, and you will also be able to watch a belly dance performance during your meal.
After dinner, you will go for a nice camel ride to reach a small campfire, located near the camp. There you will listen to your guide telling you many stories about the desert and local life, as well as learn how to prepare an authentic Arabic tea.
You will then spend the night in a tent, in a comfortable Bedouin bed – and the next morning your day will start in the most beautiful way, as you will watch the sunrise in the desert. You'll be able to take another short camel ride before enjoying a delicious breakfast. Before the morning ends, you will be taken back to your hotel in town by 4x4.
If you want to spend an unforgettable night in a desert camp in Dubai, you can book this unique experience by clicking on the link below
That's it for this article! Now you know the best options for sleeping in the Dubai desert. If you want to know more about the best addresses and neighborhoods for your stay within the city, feel free to check out my article on where to sleep in Dubai – especially to know which neighborhood will suit you best according to the activities you wish to realize! 🙂