1. Reimagined spaces
A bright-red pedestrian crossing and traffic signal mark the entrance of this unusual establishment, which is spread out on either side of Al Modam Road, about 70km from Dubai. Two stark single-storey stone structures — once an abandoned grocery store and clinic dating back to the 1960s — have been transformed into a contemporary boutique property that allows guests to experience the dramatic desert landscape.
2. All in the design
Architect Jonathan Ashmore and his firm ANARCHITECT have garnered much attention – and a couple of awards – for their design, which fuses functionality and simple yet striking aesthetics to highlight the natural beauty of the surroundings. The main structure’s stone and cement walls feature a variety of shades of brown, beige and taupe both on the inside and outside, thus blending in seamlessly with the vast expanse of sand and the rugged mountains. Parts of the existing buildings have been carefully retained, and new additions such as extended terraces were made using natural and locally sourced stone, concrete and iron. Each of the minimalist rooms also comes with a skylight that offers splendid views of the desert sky.
3. Where the senses rule
A one-of-a-kind hands-free spa – where guests can avail themselves of three different therapy rooms without a therapist present – allows you to relax and unwind at your own pace. An aromatic vapour of heated herbs including chamomile, cinnamon, rose buds and star anise fills the spacious sauna. Meanwhile, in the tropical shower area, feel your senses awaken with water sprays of different pressures recreating drops of rain, accompanied by plenty of natural and diffused lighting. The special Himalayan-salt-infused tepidarium further soothes the senses while working its magic on the lungs. The star attraction, though, is the natural salt water swimming pool which opens up to offer sweeping views of the desert.
4. A space to reconnect
The hotel offers an ideal retreat for those searching for solitude in nature without having to venture too far away from the city. The lodge’s carefully created sit-outs offer ample opportunity to bask in your environs, be it on the rooftop of the main building or by the many fire pits around the property. The roadhouse-style restaurant – with a menu including international cuisine and Emirati delights such as balaleet (sweetened vermicelli with egg) and chebab (a type of pancake) – makes everything fresh and to order, letting you dine with the mountains as your companions. There’s even the option of a special barbecue setup to truly savour the feeling of being out in the wilderness.
5. Uncover the riches of the desert
The attentive staff can organise excursions to the nearby Mleiha Archaeological Centre, which houses exhibits and interactive displays that shed light on the history of the area, all the way back to the Palaeolithic era and right up to the pre-Islamic period. The adventurous can also explore the magnificent region on a hiking or mountain biking excursion. Those looking to further unwind can sign up for a meditation or star-gazing session on the powdery sand dunes.
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This article was originally published in the March 2020 issue of SilverKris magazine