Qasr al Sarab is the kind of place Indiana Jones and Marianne would discover halfway through the film, only to have the Nazis interrupt them - perhaps as they’d settled in by the pool or booked their falconry class. It feels like a city for Sheiks (probably because it was built by them). The resort is in the heart of the Rub al Khali, the largest uninterrupted sand desert in the world. Visiting it is a magical experience - like seeing the glaciers of Patagonia or the Cliff's of Moher (AKA Insanity) in Ireland, but from the comfort of a world class resort.
Our perfect travel day begins with the included hotel breakfast. Among hotel breakfasts, this is the best we’ve ever tasted, and among free hotel breakfasts, it’s in a class entirely of its own. The camel’s milk and plump dates are no surprise (you are in the Rub al Khali after all), but the maple syrup, crepes, Asian soups, perfect cappuccinos, and French cheeses are unexpected delights.
After breakfast it's time to lie by the pool, which -unless you're visiting during the dead of winter, you'll be entering every 15 minutes or so. The central pool at Qasr is the modern answer to the Bedouin Oasis. Visitors gather round its flowing waters and cold beer buckets like caravans of the past must have gathered around date palms and hand dug wells.
To complete your Bedouin experience, book the falconry experience. The resort is constructed to appear lifted from the days of Saladin, and a falcon soaring overhead completes the picture.
Finish the day with a middle eastern feast in a Bedouin tent. If you're visiting during the summer (when activities are limited by the heat, you'll have to settle for a Waygu beef filet mignon and Grey Goose cucumber martini at Suhail, the rooftop restaurant.
Since a Macbook can’t cool off with a dip in the pool, it may be best to leave electronics in your room. Working at the desk, with fast internet and sweeping panoramic views of the resort and dunes, is a much more Sheik-like way of doing business anyway
The prices at Suhail (the resort’s rooftop restaurant) compare more with NY than South Africa, which still seems very reasonable when you consider that Qasr is built in the world’s most intimidating desert.