Narrowing down the location of our last big vacation was tough. My husband wanted to go to France while I wanted to go to UAE for two reasons. First, I wanted to fly Etihad First Class Apartments. Second, I wanted to stay at Al Maha Desert Resort in Dubai before Marriott increased the points value. Somehow the planning of this trip turned out perfectly and we were able to visit both countries! Our time in Dubai started off with two unforgettable nights at Al Maha. Here’s my full review of Al Maha Desert Resort Bedouin Suite.

Booking Al Maha Desert Resort with Points

Al Maha can be booked with Marriott Bonvoy points. When we visited, we got each night for 60,000 points. As a Category 8 property, Al Maha now costs 85,000 points per night for standard nights, 70,000 for off-peak, and 100,000 for peak. This may sound high, but your stay includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as two desert activities per day. The only thing you really have to pay for is alcohol and surcharges on some of the desert activities like dune bashing.

Location and Getting to Al Maha Desert Resort

Al Maha is located in the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve. It’s about a 40-minute drive from the Dubai airport and almost two hours from the Abu Dhabi airport. Taxis in Dubai are not very expensive so this might be the easiest option. The hotel quotes taxi fare at about $40 each way. You can also arrange a pick up through the hotel, but this is much pricier. You can read more about it here.

We flew into Abu Dhabi on Etihad First Class Apartments and rented a car for our entire time in the UAE. Renting a car ended up being a great option. Not only was it extremely affordable at about $200 for five days, but it made it easy to travel between Abu Dhabi, Al Maha, Dubai, and back to Abu Dhabi. Parking at Al Maha is complimentary.

Al Maha Entrance

Al Maha Desert Resort Arrival and Check-In

Upon arrival,we were stopped at the main gate and asked for the name on our reservation before being prompted to drive up to the main building.

Al Maha Main Building

We were immediately greeted by one of the staff members. During the check-in process, we were introduced to our Field Guide who would escort us on our desert activities (more on that later).

Al Maha Lobby

Off the lobby was a small gift shop and several smaller spaces like this library.

Al Maha Library

There was also an outdoor seating area overlooking the back of the property and the restaurant, Al Diwaan.

Al Maha Balcony

This is the back of the main building where you can see the deck of the Al Diwaan restaurant and the Hajar Terrace Bar

Al Maha Main Building Exterior

Al Maha Desert Resort Bedouin Suite

Luckily, our room was ready early. While the room was easily walkable to the main building, we were driven there on a golf cart. All rooms at Al Maha are standalone suites. The suite bookable with points is called a Bedouin Suite.

Al Maha Bedouin Suite Exterior

Right inside the entryway of the suite was a Nespresso machine with a huge selection of pods. Normally hotels only leave two or three! The room was also well stocked with bottles of water.

Al Maha Bedouin Suite Coffee

While alcohol is not included with meals, you can enjoy port wine in your room free of charge. I’ll admit, we drank it all!

Al Maha Bedouin Suite Port

Next to the port was more complimentary water, an electric kettle, and a minibar.

Al Maha Bedouin Suite Mini Bar

The last thing in the entryway was a writing desk. Across from the desk was an entrance to the bathroom.

Al Maha Bedouin Suite Desk

The main room of the suite was beautifully decorated with windows on all sides.

Al Maha Bedouin Suite

The massive bed was the centerpiece of the room.

Al Maha Bedouin Suite

This picture doesn’t do it justice, but the bed was huge. It was also one of the most comfortable beds I’ve slept in.

Al Maha Bedouin Suite Bed

One of the coolest features of the room is that it’s designed to look like a Bedouin tent. Here’s a close up of the tented ceiling.

Al Maha Bedouin Suite Tent Ceiling

At the foot of the bed was a coffee table and two chaise lounges. This is where we at our lunch both days.

Al Maha Bedouin Suite

On the coffee table was a basket of fresh fruit, dates, nuts, and pastries.

Al Maha Bedouin Suite Welcome Amenity

The room also had an easel with pencils and pastels for the artists out there. Yes, this was drawn by an adult.

Al Maha Bedouin Suite Easel

The room overlooks a private deck with a full-size swimming pool.

Al Maha Bedouin Suite

On the right side of the room was another desk with two chairs, a speaker, and binoculars for wildlife spotting.

Al Maha Bedouin Suite Desk

Next to the desk was the other entrance to the bathroom.

Al Maha Bedouin Suite Bathroom

The bathroom was huge and featured a large soaking tub.

Al Maha Bedouin Suite Tub

There was also a good sized shower stall.

Al Maha Bedouin Suite Shower

Toiletries were provided by Byredo.

Al Maha Bedouin Suite Toiletries

Here’s a full shot of the bathroom. You can see the other entrance by the main entryway.

Al Maha Bedouin Suite Bathroom

The toilet was in its own private room. There was also a bidet.

Al Maha Bedouin Suite Toilet

The vanity featured two sinks which I always appreciate.

Al Maha Bedouin Suite Vanity

The highlight of the suite is the large swimming pool overlooking the desert.

Al Maha Bedouin Suite Pool

There were two lounge chairs by the pool.

Al Maha Bedouin Suite Pool

There was also a table with chairs which is a good option for in-room dining. It was too hot during the day to eat lunch outside but could be nice for breakfast or dinner.

Al Maha Bedouin Suite Deck

Here’s a shot of the exterior of the Bedouin Suite.

Al Maha Bedouin Suite Exterior

Here’s the desert view from the pool. In the evening, you can see the group doing the camel riding ride by in the distance.

Al Maha Bedouin Suite View

Finally, here’s the welcome letter with details on dining and other amenities.

Al Maha Bedouin Suite Welcome Letter

Desert Activities at Al Maha Desert Resort

For each night of your stay, you are entitled to two desert activities. We chose camel riding, falconry, archery, and the desert drive (aka dune bashing). We did camel riding the day we arrived, falconry and archery the next day, and dune bashing in the morning before we departed.

Al Maha Desert Activities

The first night we did the sunset camel trek.

Al Maha Camels

I had never been on a camel before so this was my shot!

Al Maha Camel Riding

We rode about 25 minutes into the desert. The hotel had a nice setup when we arrived. We were each given a glass of prosecco to sip while watching the sunset.

Al Maha Sunset Camel Riding

Riding the camel was a little bit scary since they’re so high off the ground, but I highly recommend this activity.

Al Maha Sunset

The next morning, we woke up bright and early for falconry at 6:00 am.

Al Maha Falconry

They showed us two different birds, a falcon and an eagle.

Al Maha Falconry

Despite the early wake-up, this was a worthwhile activity. You’ll even get to hold the falcon at the end.

Al Maha Falconry

Later that day, we spent an hour doing archery. This was fun, but I think my husband enjoyed it more than I did.

Finally, on our last morning, we went dune bashing. This activity has a ~$75 upcharge per person. I think dune bashing is worth trying at least once, but both my husband and I got extremely nauseous. There’s a reason they say don’t eat breakfast before!

Al Maha Dune Bashing

Dining at Al Maha Desert Resort

The food at Al Maha was superb. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are included as part of your room rate. The hotel has a restaurant called Al Diwaan and a bar called Hajar Terrace Bar. You also have the option of in-room dining for all three meals. You would think that with one restaurant, you’d get sick of the menu, but Al Maha has such a vast menu, more than one restaurant would have been overwhelming!

We ate breakfast at Al Diwaan both days. For breakfast, we sat inside the restaurant since it was a bit hot to dine outside on the deck.

Al Maha Breakfast

For lunch, we ordered in. You can order an appetizer, entree, and dessert, but we restrained ourselves and skipped dessert at lunch. The pumpkin soup with crème fraîche was so delicious as was the burrata.

Al Maha Lunch

Another shot of our food spread on the first day.

Al Maha Lunch

We couldn’t help but order the burrata again the next day.

Al Maha Lunch

For dinner both nights we dined outside on the deck at Al Diwaan.

Al Maha Outdoor Dining

It was quite dark when we ate so I didn’t get good pictures of the food, but here’s one of the things my husband ordered. One of the nights, I recommend ordering off the special Sri Lankan dinner menu.

Al Maha Dinner

After our first dessert, we were presented with a “Happy Anniversary” cake!

Al Maha Anniversary Cake

Amenities at Al Maha Desert Resort

While the suites at Al Maha have all you need already, there are some other amenities on the property to be aware of. There’s a large infinity pool outside of the main building. We didn’t use it since we loved the privacy of our own pool. There is also a spa and fitness center that has its own swimming pool.

Al Maha Main Pool

One of the other amenities was light bites in the lobby between 5:00-8:30 am and 4:00-5:30 pm. There was also a coffee machine available all day.

Al Maha Tea Time

While not an amenity per se, staying at Al Maha is fun for wildlife spotting. These gazelles are everywhere!

Al Maha Gazelle

If you’re lucky, you’ll see an oryx which is the hotel’s namesake. Al Maha is the Arabic word for the Arabian oryx.

Al Maha Orxy

Final Thoughts

Al Maha is possibly the best resort I’ve ever stayed at. My husband initally didn’t see the appeal of flying to Dubai to stay in the desert. After our stay, he’s already talking about going back and for longer! Al Maha is the perfect place to relax, get some sun, and indulge in delicious food. Better yet, you can book this amazing resort with Marriott points. If you find yourself in Dubai, be sure to set aside two or three nights for Al Maha.

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