Al Maha Resort: A desert experience in need of nationals

After the hard work of the last couple of weeks before and during Gitex, I treated the missus to a weekend at what may be Dubai’s best weekend getaway. The Al Maha Desert Resort is one of those places which is good for the soul. For anybody who hasn’t been to the desert and experienced its deafening silence, the Al Maha is a must.

Al Maha was conceived over a decade back as one of the first nature reserves in the UAE. The resort has helped preserve a number of species which are unique to the Arabian desert, including the Orxy, the long-horned white antelope, and gazelle. Al Maha is designed to be both a conservation reserve as well as a luxury resort, and the guides at Al Maha are experts in the local wildlife. Guests can explore the desert within the vicinity of the hotel and learn about the UAE’s flora and fauna.

Our experiences during our stay at Al Maha were remarkable. We didn’t even mind the six am start for the desert wildlife trip. For a taster of the resort and all it has to offer have a peak at the below video.

There was only one disappointment for me. No matter how hard I tried I could not find any nationals working at Al Maha. I’d asked our guide who told me that this was not for the hotel’s trying; a couple of nationals had worked at the hotel but had left several years back. The Gulf is renowned for the generosity shown to guests.

I’ve experienced first-hand the warmth of the Bedouin and locals in places like Saudi Arabia’s Qassim province. Their stories and experiences made my own journey all the more remarkable. The local culture is part of what makes any trip to the desert so much fun and, dare I say it, educational.

Frankly it was disappointing for me that there were no Emiratis working at one of the first sites set up by the UAE’s government to preserve the desert environment and its wildlife. I would have enjoyed hearing the tales of the UAE’s own Bedouin about their lives in the desert.

I do very much hope that when we do go next time to Al Maha that we will meet with local guides as well as the team that took care of us so well the last time we visited (a BIG THANK You to Shane for all the effort you put into taking care of us). Our stay will be even more enjoyable and rewarding with a touch of local knowledge. After all, our history and culture makes us who we are. To have a true desert experience in the UAE you need to be hosted by the people who have lived the Bedouin life and who call the white sands and oases their home.

To repeat, Al Maha Resort is one of the best hotels I’ve ever been to. It’ll only get better with Emirati employees.

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