Louise, who travelled with her husband on this trip, flew Business Class with Etihad Airways and said that the Etihad Lounge at Manchester Airport was a fantastic place to start their holiday to Abu Dhabi. There were comfy leather chairs to relax in and plenty of snacks to enjoy − she even noticed a dedicated family room, which is great to know for those planning a luxury family holiday. The service on board the aircraft was fantastic too, (on both the outward and return journeys), with ‘dine on demand’ dining, and should you fall asleep during your flight, the attentive cabin crew will offer you refreshments once you wake up, so you never miss out. Business Class seats all have aisle access too, so there is no need to worry about stepping over anybody if you need to get up!
On arrival in Abu Dhabi, Louise transferred by private car to Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara, which took about two hours, but all along smooth, established roads. En route through the desert, the driver pointed out the Emirates National Auto Museum that houses the private collection of cars and other vehicles, of H.H. Sheikh Hamad Bin Hamdan Al Nahyan. Many of these have been customised to the Sheikh’s exact tastes too, and visitors can go and see them in all their glory if they wish.
Louise has enjoyed an excellent stay at Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara before and this time was no exception. The rooms are lovely, comfortable and have a traditional Arabian element to the decor. She says that it’s a good resort for either spending a few days to try out the various desert activities in the area, or to simply chill out in the sunshine by the pool that is split into three areas. These include a pool with a swim-up bar, a shallow area ideal for children and a quiet pool with a restaurant nearby.
All the restaurants that Louise has tried here have been consistently good, from the lunch buffet to the fine dining. On this trip, desert dining was on the menu, and it turned out to be a real highlight. Louise and her husband were seated at a table that was set up at the back of the resort against the dramatic scenery of the sand dunes. Then a personal Butler brought out a staggering array of delicious food, course by course. He left them to enjoy dining in peace, yet knew exactly when to bring out the next dish. This feast included an Arabian mezze, soup and grilled meats and fish, all served over the course of an evening as the sun began to set through to when the stars came out.
Louise also did two exciting excursions. The first was dune bashing, which Louise says you need a strong stomach for, as your Jeep climbs up dunes before it topples over the edge for its descent and you feel like you may well fall over. She and her husband happened to be sharing their Jeep with a mother and her son who they could tell were real thrill-seekers, so they, literally, went along for the ride, which was particularly exciting.