After spending an AWESOME time in the Maldives, we flew back to Dubai and spent two nights in the Dubai Desert. If you missed reading about the first weekend of our honeymoon experiencing city life in Dubai city, you can read about it here: United Arab Emirates Honeymoon: Travel Guide Part 1
UAE is so different than the USA, and we are happy we were able to explore more of this Arab country. Dubai is very "western", but still felt like a culture shock. If you have the lucky chance to visit Dubai, I suggest to experience both city life and desert life - they are both very different!
We picked Marriot Bonvoy's Al-Maha Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, 45 minutes outside of Dubai to experience the desert! We used our Marriott Bonvoy points and did not realize it was an all-inclusive resort (they don't advertise it openly). As part of the all-inclusive, we were able to enjoy 2 activities a day and all meals free! We were in paradise and ate our hearts out! Here is a little 15 second clip of a bunch of clips from our trip:
As a woman, I felt more of the culture shock while staying in Dubai city vs staying in the desert. Since everyone was a tourist at the hotel, it was a mix of cultures. In the city of Dubai, it was Arab enough that I noticed the culture differences. For example, in the taxi's, men would only talk to Dan and not me. This was out of respect to the men in their culture, but not something I was used to as an American. It was good to see a different culture and understand a different viewpoint better!
For a hotel room, you are placed in a villa with a large canopy on top of the villa. It felt like we were glamping (glamous camping)! We had our own pool and incredible desert views. We felt secluded, loved how much space we had (as NYC residents, anything feels big but this felt extra big!!) and loved our little desert home - we kept having Gazelles come up to say hi! To see a villa tour, check out the video below:
For our free activities to enjoy at Al-Maha, we selected: Falconry and Sun down at the sand dunes with champagne! We loved seeing the Falcons and learning about how they hunt, eat and how to care for them (it was the first time ever seeing Falcons in person before).
Sun down in the sand dunes was awesome! We didn't realize how cold it gets when sun goes down, but we loved seeing the sand, sipping champagne and looking at the scenic views. If you have the chance to visit this resort, a trip to the sand dunes is a must! There is nothing like it.
We are so happy we spent time in the desert and were fortunate enough to experience both city and desert UAE vacation spots! We miss the Arab culture already, and look forward to the day we can go back to experience the lifestyle again!