Review: Bab Al Shams | Romantic Getaway & Wedding facility Tour
Romantic Getaway & Wedding facility Tour
A few months ago, the hubby and I were invited by the team over at Insignia PR to celebrate our ‘legal’ wedding anniversary in style at the five star, luxury resort ‘Bab Al Shams’ (meaning “gateway to the sun” in English). I love any excuse to celebrate, so having two anniversaries (one for our legal wedding and one for our wedding blessing) is awesome, he-he! In fact, we have just celebrated our 2 year ‘blessing’ anniversary, yay! More on that next month.
Today, I review our romantic night’s stay at the gorgeous Bab Al Shams resort. With all of its arabesque charm, great service and delicious food, the hubby and I had a wonderful 24 hours celebrating, and finished off our experience with a guided tour of the venue’s facilities and options for an authentic desert wedding. Enjoy!
Bab Al Shams Desert Resort and Spa is located amidst the dunes in the heart of the desert, approximately 45 minutes away from Dubai International Airport. It’s perfect for people who don’t want a long drive, but at the same time it gives the impression that you are much further away from the city than you actually are, meaning that there is much more time to relax.
We were greeted at the resort with cold towels and a refreshing drink, which was a welcome touch, considering the high temperatures at the time. After a small amount of confusion at check in, our lovely butler guided us through the resort, via pretty courtyards and corridors, to our deluxe suite for two located on the ground floor.
Our suite had its own private balcony with a calming and scenic view out onto the dunes. The interiors are beautifully authentic with rustic hues of sandy browns and reds.
A large bowl of colourful fruit awaited us in addition to an inviting ‘happy anniversary’ cake, and a hand written letter from the management. These small gestures really make a difference when staying at hotels or resorts on special occasions.
Our in-room facilities included high speed internet connection, coffee and tea making facilities, satellite TV and radio, a mini bar, some lovely bathroom goodies and also a fabulous sink-in deep bathtub, which is always a bonus.
A large walk-in dressing room was connected to the bathroom and the suites offer a combined king bedded room with a separate majilis style lounge. The bed was super comfy, but may not appeal to all, as they are quite hard. I’m not a fan of really soft beds personally.
The resort has around three pools, including my favourite, the infinity pool, which spills over as you look out onto the uninterrupted views of the desert landscape. Additional facilities include a children’s pool, a fully equipped gymnasium and a Jacuzzi.
The hubby and I enjoyed cocktails by the awesome pool bar (which has seats submerged in the water – perfect for staying cool) as we took in the views and soaked up the sun’s rays! I absolutely loved the pools at Bab Al Shams. Afterwards, we tried out the resorts giant chess board.
Anniversary Dinner at Al Hadheerah
After freshening up, the hubby and I headed off for the evening’s dinner, an Arabic buffet at the Al Hadheerah camp. A golf buggy collected us from the main reception and dropped us off at the entrance a short while after. Upon arrival at the camp, we were taken aback by the setup and design of the entrance. It looked like we had been transported back to the era of the Arabian nights; decorative carpets were placed over the sand and small kiosk tents featuring creative Arabic art work, spices and jewels were on display. As we approached the restaurant we could smell the delicious aromatic spices in the air! YUM!
As soon as you enter the outdoor restaurant you can see lots of chefs creating their culinary magic at live cooking stations. There’s lots of roasting, grilling, carving, frying and baking going on and the hubby and I both gave each other that look…you know, they kind of “what on earth are we going to eat?” look you often give each other at buffets. There was even an underground oven that could roast a small goat quite easily….All very well for you meat eaters out there, but I’m a pescatarian, lol.
We were shown to our table, which was placed close to the main stage where the evening’s entertainment takes place. Our waiter began serving us lots of delicious Arabic starters including salads, pickles, hummus, babaganoush and flat breads for dipping.
After whetting our appetites, hubby and I headed to the live cooking stations to choose our main course. We were spoilt for choice with kebabs, seafood, rice dishes and so on.
Adam filled his plate up with lots of meat and I stuck with what I know best, seafood, a little rice and lots of salad.
As we feasted under the night sky, we were entertained by a mix of singers and dancers….my favourite being the Arabic band who played the most moving melodic music.
The service was great, the food was top notch (especially by buffet standards), and the staff were super attentive and helpful. I would not recommend dining there during the middle of summer though – I was sweating profusely and it kind of ruined my experience a little.
Couples Massage in Satori Spa
After a hearty breakfast at Al Forsan and some final sunbathing by the pool, we finished our delightful stay at Bab Al Shams with a couples’ massage at the award winning Satori Spa.
Our massage started off with a written consultation. We were then shown around the spa’s facilities and changing rooms before starting our session off in a private fragranced steam room to help relax our muscles and submerge our senses.
Once we were fully relaxed, our therapists got to work massaging our stiff and tense muscles, and believe me, since we have both started working out hard at the gym, our muscles needed a good massage. We enjoyed our own luxurious private suite for couples and totally relaxed into our massage session, drifting into a light sleep towards the end.
Wedding venue tour and facilities
During our stay, we were taken on a guided tour by one of the lovely Bab Al Shams events staff, ‘Princess’ who showed us resort’s wedding venues. Unfortunately, the weather at the time was searing hot, so we kept the tour short and sweet.
Rising elegantly from the vast desert, the resort captures all the romance and tranquillity of the land and blends it with luxury and authentically Arabian experiences, presenting a uniquely breath taking setting for your picture perfect wedding.
Offering intimate blessing ceremonies beneath a star-filled sky, lavish wedding breakfasts overlooking the tumbling dunes and stylish receptions beside tranquil pools, Bab Al Shams enthrals the imagination and presents endless opportunities for an incomparable desert wedding.
With its Arabic arches and beautifully lit gardens, not to mention the desert environment, there are lots of lovely locations to take some stunning and memorable wedding photos.
There are several options to choose from, including:
♡ The outdoor Falcon Courtyard, which would be Ideal for a smaller wedding blessing and reception.
♡ The indoor Falcon Room/ Foyer. This is a superb setting for smaller wedding receptions for approximately 50 people.
♡ My personal favourites are the outdoor Masala Courtyard – which would be a lovely option for a medium to large wedding blessing, cocktail or dinner reception – and the open air Masala Rooftop Lounge, which offers stunning views. These locations would suit cocktail receptions, pre-dinner drinks and wedding dinners.
♡ An option for those of you having larger weddings would be exclusive use of the outdoor venue Al Hadheerah for a traditional Arabic wedding reception, accommodating a minimum of 250 guests.
I am pretty sure that I have not covered all of the fabulous locations available at Bab Al Shams, however the helpful events team would be delighted to take you and your fiancé on a guided tour if the resort takes your interest. We hope to be welcoming Bab Al Shams into the BCME vendor club very soon.
Bab Al Shams offers up so much for engaged couples in the UAE, be it for a relaxing staycation to celebrate your engagement, a romantic dinner for two at one of their restaurants, an intimate wedding in one of their beautiful court yards, or a large and lavish wedding reception under the Arabian night sky at Al Hadheerah.
To enquire about booking your wedding at the Bab Al Shams, visit the resorts weddings & events page here for more information. Interested in celebrating your anniversary at the resort? Click here to reserve a booking.