Just an hour (and a world) away from the skyscrapers of Dubai city is Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa, located within a nature preserve founded to protect the Arabian oryx and its habitat. Today, the spear-horned antelope freely roam the resort’s red sands. Visitors stay in luxurious, Bedouin-inspired tent suites equipped with binoculars for animal sightings and easels for the artistically inclined. During the day, staffers encourage guests to try out a variety of ancient Arab pursuits, such as camel riding, archery, and falconry. At dusk, I retired to the terrace for cocktails as gazelles congregated around an illuminated watering hole in the distance. After the sun slipped behind the mountains, I sank into my own private pool under the desert sky’s stars.
Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa, 971/(0) 4-832-9900, from $980. This appeared in the March/April 2010 issue.