Although less than two hour’s drive from Abu Dhabi’s international airport, Qasr Al Sarab feels a world away. Tucked amid the towering golden dunes of the Liwa Desert’s Empty Quarter- home to wild gazelles and rare oryx- the resort has been built like a medieval Emeriti fort, with earthen walls topped with crenellated parapets. The 206 guest rooms are just as romantic, each finished with finely carved dark-wood furniture, stone floors, wroughtiron lampshades, rich Persian carpets, and terrazzo bathtubs, and opening onto a private terrace from which you can watch the sun set crimson over the dunes. Book a villa and spend the day lounging beside your own plunge pool while nibbling on freshly baked pistachio pastries washed down with pots of bitter Omani coffee, or hop aboard a four-by-four for a desert tour with one of the in-house guides, who will shed light on the local ecosystem.

Liwa Desert; 971-2/886-2088; qasralsarab.anantara.com; doubles from US$305

This article appeared in the October/ November 2010 issue of DestinAsian Magazine.