I could not have made a better choice than Telal Resort for spending a night in the middle of the desert. Despite its harsh conditions, I have always had a fascination for the desert, for its immensity, its solitude and its unique nomadic life. As last week I had my sister and her family over for the first time since I have moved to the UAE, I decided it was the perfect occasion for them to step into the desert and keep a memorable picture of it.
As an expat living in the UAE, I sometimes have a hard mission when it comes to family and friends visiting. That is because I want to take my guests to the nicest places and I want them to experience the best of the country I live in. Whenever possible, I search for that touch of “authentic” and “unspoiled”, not always easy to find. But here is where the question arises: where do you take your guests, apart from all those emblematic spots that have made UAE so famous all over the world?
I feel myself a tourist whenever I go to Dubai to show Burj al Arab or Burj Khalifa to my guests and I obviously want more than that for someone who might never return to UAE for another holiday.Personally, I find the desert a magical place and the perfect environment to educate visitors about the Emirati culture and history. Because the desert, despite its scary immensity and emptiness has always been the background of the Emirati life. The Bedouin tribes have connected better than anyone else with this unfriendly environment, have laid their tents in the oases and have developed an unique lifestyle.
As many resorts have also found inspiration in the Bedouin nomadic life, I started searching for that place able to create an unforgettable experience for the entire family. Less than an hour and a half of driving from Abu Dhabi, I discovered the magic place I was looking for. It’s called Telal Resort and is very well hidden beyond the dunes, on the outskirts of Al Ain, in Remah Desert. We reached it when the sun was setting and the sand, like a chameleon, changed its hues from gold to orange, copper and reddish tones.
Though I booked a 2 bedroom apartment, on arrival we had a nice surprise. We have been upgraded to a 2 bedroom villa, with a private swimming pool. They usually don’t take infants in the villas, but this time they made an exception for my sweet nephew Stef (1 year and a half). The hotel staff is very professional and friendly and they made us feel comfortable throughout our stay.
But what impressed me most is the silence you can feel all over the place. Telal Resort is not one of those “tourism factories”, where despite the 5 stars and all the luxury related to such establishments, you would still feel sometimes like in an amusement park.
The resort is not very big, with the apartments and the villas spreading throughout the sand dunes, in a complete harmony with the nature. A buggy car takes you through the complex, whenever you need it. As a guest you have a lot of privacy and if your purpose is to disconnect for a day or two, this is a great place to do it.
The complex also features a small oasis with palm trees and a beautiful lake, where you can see swans and other birds. There is also a Heritage Village within its premises, where you can learn about the Emirati past, about the local crafts and traditions. If you go with kids, the camel park gives an opportunity to the little ones to ride a camel or they can simply learn about these amazing animals who survive in such a harsh environment.
I totally fell in love with the rooms, which are spacious and beautifully designed. From outside, the villas appear to be inspired by the Bedouin tents, but once you step inside you will be surprised to discover that they are anything but modest.
You can actually expect to find luxury at its best. We loved the wood hand carved furniture, the massive comfortable beds, the leather sofas, the bathtubs and the sinks carved in a single piece of granite. If not for the air conditioning which we found a bit noisy and we had to stop it during the night, I would say everything else was perfect.
Once it got dark we enjoyed the terrace next to the pool and the fire pit while observing the desert’s starry sky.
I would also like to give a big plus to the chef and the restaurant personnel, who have made us enjoy every single bite of our dinner. Breakfast is à la carte and it comes in a rich variety. You will also get fresh fruit, pancakes, creamy yoghurts and fresh squeezed juices. As for the bread and pastry selection I can only quote my nephew who’s reaction when we got the goodie basket was priceless: “Wowww!”
Last but not least I found the price reasonable for the impeccable service the resort is offering. At the moment it is even cheaper than other hotels who offer similar services. I say at the moment because Telal Resort has been on the market for only two months. But whether it will keep the price range or not, I would definitely love to come back.