Dubai’s Bab Al Shams Desert Resort closing after 17 years for renovation

The Arabian-style retreat will undergo a complete transformation before its reopening in 2023

The pool area at Dubai's Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa, which will undergo a complete revamp from May. Photo: Bab Al Shams
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One of Dubai’s original desert hotels is closing its doors for a complete renovation.

Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa will close to the public in May, with bookings set to remain suspended until it reopens in 2023.

During the seven-month closure, the desert resort will undergo a full renovation, with rooms, restaurants, public areas and facilities set to be upgraded.

Fans of the popular resort keen to spend one final night at the low-rise retreat on the outskirts of the city have until May 7 to book a stay in the original Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa.

Surrounded by sand dunes and with endless desert views, the property has long been popular with travellers seeking an authentic desert experience in Dubai.

The hotel first opened on UAE National Day in December 2004, more than 17 years ago.

Bab Al Shams Desert Resort first opened in Dubai in 2004

“We’ve had a lot of warm memories at Bab Al Shams with our guests and team members,” said Ziad Sleiman, hotel manager at Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa.

"While we will miss providing our guests with such a unique desert stay experience, we are also excited for the unique changes that are coming. The renovations will give Bab Al Shams a new and updated look, and we look forward to unveiling the resort to visitors soon."

A staycation favourite with UAE residents keen to escape city life, Bab Al Shams is known for its three temperature-controlled swimming pools with shaded in-pool cabanas, jacuzzis and a swim-up bar to enjoy. Its desert location also makes it popular with local wildlife, and visitors can routinely spot gazelles and Arabian Oryx when staying at the family-friendly resort.

It’s not the first time the resort has closed its doors to guests.

In June 2020, at the outset of the global pandemic, Bab Al Shams was among several UAE hotels that temporarily closed to visitors as a precautionary measure.

The hotel — which is a sister property of The Meydan Hotel — stopped taking room reservations and also closed its restaurants, spa and swimming pool.

“We have chosen to use this time to carry out essential works and maintenance at both properties, so that when we reopen, we will continue to provide seamless five-star experiences to higher standards for all of our guests,” Sleiman told The National at the time.

The hotel reopened in July 2020 with a newly renovated swimming pool and new safety measures in place to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 among guests.

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Updated: April 25, 2022, 10:09 AM