Glamping in Dubai
Nest by Sonara
Dubai’s newest luxury desert glamping experience lies just a 40-minute drive out of the city in the burnt-orange dunes of the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve. Part of Sonara, a luxury desert activities and experiential dining camp in the heart of the conservation, Nest By Sonara offers guests the chance to take the experience further by enjoying the night under the desert skies – staying in a retro-futuristic type private pod designed by award-winning architect Gianni Ranaulo. There are 14 ‘nests’ in total spread across the sands – almost camouflaged due to their curved exterior and chic earthy interiors – and each has an ensuite bathroom, private terrace and double bed (an extra bed can be added on request for up to two children). The standard nest experience runs from 4 pm to 10:30 am the following day and includes sunset drinks and food, soft archery, a desert camel trek, sky safari with an astronomer and breakfast. For an extra AED480 guests can enjoy access to the main Sonara camp, with drinks and snacks, a three-course dinner, live entertainment and unlimited desert activities.
From AED 2,680, nara.ae/nest
Terra Solis Dubai
From the group behind Tomorrowland, Belgian’s iconic annual dance festival, comes Terra Solis – perhaps the coolest place to go glamping in Dubai. Located in the Dubai Desert, just a 30-minute drive from Downtown, the retreat turns the traditional glamping experience on its head, with vibrant music, a relaxing pool scene, a handful of restaurants and wellness activities. Guests stay in lodges with en-suite bathrooms, king-sized beds and a modern, minimalist feel (think white linen, wood accents and concrete floors with walk-in showers) – which come with breakfast and a guaranteed sun lounger by the pool. Wellness is at the heart, and the resort is home to one of the biggest pools in the UAE, with other pulls including yoga classes and a jungle-inspired gym, while two restaurants serve Mediterranean and Levantine cuisine. Being the brainchild of Tomorrowland, music plays a key part in the glamping experience – and the site hosts regular and exclusive parties emulating the feeling of the Belgian event.
From AED950; terrasolisdubai.com
Hatta Dome Park
Hatta Dome Park is one of the latest additions to the UAE glamping scene, offering a more elevated option in Hatta’s impressive portfolio of camping and leisure attractions. The dome park comprises 15 dome-shaped tents perfect for experiencing the rugged Dubai nature reserve in a more premium way, each tent fully equipped with air-conditioning, free wi-fi and hotel amenities like a mini bar, safe and tea and coffee-making facilities. Domes come in an attractive white with soft brown curtains and sharp wooden flooring, complementing the natural mountainous surroundings. Tents accommodate two adults and two children with a double bed and comfortable seating area, plus the option for additional twin beds, and there’s a private outdoor terrace with BBQ and firepit for convivial evenings. But self-catering is merely an option, as there are a variety of dining options on-site like mixed-cuisine food trucks and a coffee shop.
Domes from AED1,375; visithatta.com
Damani Lodges at Hatta
One of three glamping options in Hatta, Dubai’s rugged, nature-focused region popular for glamping in the UAE, the Damani Lodges are the more rustic option – built into the rugged Hajar mountains in Hatta and overlooking the Hatta Wadi Hub. Each lodge has a private bathroom, wi-fi, TV and tea and coffee-making facilities, plus a wooden terrace with views over the breathtaking Hajar mountain range. Guests can choose from standard lodges, perfect for couples, standard plus lodges (for one child) and spacious suites for two adults and two children.
Lodges from AED 945; visithatta.com
Sedr Trailers at Hatta Resorts
Explore Dubai’s mountain destination of Hatta in style from a shiny chrome Airstream trailer on the banks of the serene Hatta Dam. The elegant Airstreams are located in the mountains, and guests leave their cars at reception before being whisked away to their premium accommodation by off-road vehicle. Trailers are designed for two adults and up to two children and have their own bathroom, wi-fi, tea and coffee-making facilities and a private terrace with a protective awning which has daybeds and cosy camp chairs. There are many activities in the Hatta area and on the dam like kayaking and hiking, and food is provided by the on-site Sedr Bites food truck – plus there’s the option to self-cater with a barbecue.
Trailers from AED 940; visithatta.com
Starlight Camp, Dubai
Starlight Camp is one for those seeking a romantic glamping experience in the UAE. Set up for couples, this cosy pop-up site in the middle of the desert gives serious space vibes, with its gaggle of illuminated bubble tents with transparent roofs for long nights of star-gazing. The bubbles are fully equipped with touches like small fridges, Bluetooth speakers, board games and a barbecue for alfresco meals. Talking of alfresco, cosying up by the fire pit with blankets and stargazing is a perfect way to spend the night, while days are occupied with nature walks, treasure hunts and sundowners atop the dunes – all of which can be arranged. The camp is also dog friendly and can provide dog beds and even a special doggie day tent for shade.
Domes from AED 2,200; starlight-camp.com
Glamping in Abu Dhabi
Pura Eco Retreat, Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi‘s glamping scene has seen some new additions in recent years, the latest bedding down on the leafy Jubail Island next to the Jubail mangrove park. As the first dedicated eco-retreat in the capital, Pura celebrates the art of slow living and aims to help its guests reconnect with the natural world by offering a rustic, glamping experience that’s adults only. Peace and contemplation are encouraged, and a daily excursion isn’t more than a gentle stroll by the waterside or one of the wildlife activities in the beautiful Jubail Mangrove park – an area encompassing 4,000 hectares of land. Guests stay in either tents or aptly named ‘Chic Domes’ – the latter offering a fabulous glamping experience with air conditioning, a private bathroom, double bed and earthy interiors.
Doubles from AED 1,800; staypura.com
Bab Al Nojoum, Abu Dhabi
For a glamping experience just 20 minutes from Abu Dhabi central head to Bab Al Nojoum, a glamping and activity site in the recently unveiled Hudayriat Leisure and Entertainment District. There are nine categories of accommodation to choose from: from an entry-level tent, cottage or caravan to the more premium chalets and even deluxe two-bedroom ‘bungalows’ – effectively two-storey tents with private beach access, stargazing experiences and private plunge pools with sun loungers and sleep six people. An a la carte restaurant served a continental and American breakfast plus international cuisine throughout the day.
Camping vans from AED500; babalnojoum.com
Pura Retreat Jebel Hafit Desert Park
Lying in the foothills of the impressive Jebel Hafit in Al Ain, an inland oasis on the eastern border with Oman, the Jebel Hafit Desert Park offers a spot to spend the night in the UNESCO World Heritage Site and enjoy its fascinating archaeological and historical remains. While some campers pitch their own tent, those who want to enjoy the full glamping experience can book into one of nine bedouin-style tents, or one of the camp’s air-conditioned bubble or dome tents with plush furnishings. Whatever category of tent you choose, all guests can explore the historical finds dating back to the Neolithic period and excavated 5,000-year-old tombs and enjoy desert activities like hiking, horse riding, biking and buggy tours.
Tents from AED500; jebelhafitdesertpark.ae
Glamping in Ras Al Khaimah
Banan Beach is one of Ras Al Khaimah’s best-kept secrets, attracting well-heeled city-slickers looking for a stylish glamping experience while still embracing the rustic vibe. The beachy boho campsite is one of the most elevated spots for glamping in the UAE, transporting its guests to the Greek islands with its blue-tiled pool area, white loungers, white-washed tents and lofts and luxurious blue and white chalets. There are 50 small tents (with a shared bathroom and no air conditioning), but treat yourself to one of 12 lofts or 10 chalets. Charming, air-conditioned triangle-roof lofts have quaint private courtyards with a jacuzzi, and barbecue area and inside have a private bathroom and one queen and one double bed, comfortably sleeping four adults. Chalets are the most premium and reminiscent of a Mykonos guest house, with a blue and white tiled courtyard, a lovely blue door, bougainvillaea, a private pool, swing, and bar. Inside there are three bedrooms and three bathrooms. The main camp has a swimming pool, barbecue restaurant and bar. The best news? Banan Beach is also pet friendly and welcomes furry friends.
Tents from AED 360; bananbeach.com
Sitting along a 300-metre stretch of golden beach, Longbeach Campground offers an inclusive and all-encompassing glamping experience. The large resort spans tents and various air-conditioned glamping pods, from chalets to domes, and keeps guests entertained all day long with a large swimming pool, waterpark with an obstacle course, outdoor spa and volleyball. Packages are half-board and include breakfast and a selection of house beverages plus Longbeach’s famous beachside buffet and barbecue dinner alongside a long list of activities for the whole family. For one of the most extra glamping experiences in the UAE, there’s the air-conditioned Sunset Terrace Suites – a 143-metre miniature home encased by fences with a private bathroom, queen-sized bed, sauna, outdoor jacuzzi, hammock, terrace seating, beach access and ocean views.
Tents from AED 899; binmajid.com
Glamping in Sharjah
Mysk Moon Retreat
Bringing an eco-luxury take on family-friendly glamping to the breathtaking setting of Mleiha in Sharjah, Moon Retreat has been designed with desert adventures and budding glampers in mind. Guests check-in to either one of 10 dome tents or six tents – four for families – each fitted with all the amenities guests would require for their stay, and many also come with the added luxury of a private pool. As well as the basics, resort-style facilities include private barbeque grills, where guests can order ready-to-grill meals direct to their digs and cook out on their private terrace, surrounded by the dramatic desert landscape. Communal areas will offer spaces for guests to meet and mingle, from a reception area to the community space, where a bonfire and larger BBQ experience await.
Tents from AED 1,275, @myskmoonretreat
Glamping in Fujairah
The Retreat, Fujairah
Set in the foothills of Fujairah’s rugged Hajar Mountains, The Retreat offers its guests the chance to escape from the city and connect with nature and the UAE’s beautiful topography. The earthy, mountainous campsite has just 17 tents which were built using natural and sustainable materials, each powered with solar energy, and produce used in the on-site restaurant is locally sourced where possible. Unlike many places offering glamping in the UAE, this isn’t a campsite with frills, but it has all the essentials for a comfortable stay (the focus is reconnecting with nature and one’s self). Guests are invited to roam the grounds and pick fruit from its trees and take part in activities provided by Absolute Adventure.
Tents from AED 1,260; theretreat.ae