A Sustainable Resort in the Empty Quarter of the UAE

Qasr Al Sarab is no mirage. This desert resort combines luxuriousness with planet-friendly practices.

Dean Hayter
Origin travel curator
The pool and traditional architecture at Qasr Al Sarab
An Eco-Friendly Oasis

Once you get away from the big coastal cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the landscape quickly changes as you drive deeper into the United Arab Emirates. Surrounded on all sides by desert as far as the eyes can see, the Qasr Al Sarab Resort rises out of the sand like a sultan's palace. Its otherworldly beauty is best explored on the back of a camel or in the driver's seat of a dune buggy—both of which are excursions offered by the hotel.

Luxury is to be expected when you stay at a property in the Anantara hotel family, but more surprising is how even in this bone-dry area, the resort is a trailblazer toward going green. The ecosystem of the desert is just as delicate as any forest or tropical island and Qasr Al Sarab is taking steps to actively protect its natural habitat.

Exterior of the Royal Pavilion Villas at Qasr Al Sarab
Arabian Nights Powered by Arabian Days

Since there's no shortage of sunshine, solar energy is harnessed to power the guest rooms and produce hot water, drastically reducing energy consumption. Choose an electric vehicle for getting to the hotel and you can even use one of the solar-powered charging stations to "refuel."

The water bottles provided each day in your room are completely biodegradable and made from corn, which is just one step the property is taking to completely phase out plastic. The material from the bottles is either composted or recycled to make more bottles.

Desert dining under the stars
Traditional Meals Through Innovative Means

Sustainability isn't just behind-the-scenes magic at Qasr Al Sarab, as you can take part directly every time sit down for a meal. The menus are all created using organic produce that's grown in the on-site greenhouse, an amazing feat considering the arid surroundings. Whether you're enjoying the views at the rooftop lounge or dining Bedouin-style under the stars, the ingredients didn't have to travel far to reach your plate.

Always looking to minimize waste, the hotel uses kitchen compost and gray water to nourish the gardens, so not a single food scrap or drop of water is misused. Through these evolving practices, the Qasr Al Sarab has been awarded the Green Globe Certification every year since 2013.

Captivating desert views from your room
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