Think deserts are all barren landscapes, extreme temperatures, and tales of survival? Think again. Some of the world’s top travel retreats are finding their homes in the dazzling vistas and tranquillity of the desert.
Here are some of our top picks that any discerning traveller would want to tick of their bucket list:
1. &Beyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge, Namibia
For those wanting seclusion, beauty, and serenity all in one, the &Beyond Sossusvlei, is the perfect escape. Tucked away in the heart of Namibia’s Namib Desert, the lodge has something for everyone. Adventure junkies can satisfy their needs with quad biking, safari experiences, hot air ballooning, and guided nature walks. For those seeking a bit more calm in their lives, find pure indulgence in the in-room massages, stargazing, and wellness services on offer.
Modern, cosy, and welcoming, &Beyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge is an oasis of calm where you can enjoy the scenic beauty of the desert, while wining and dining in luxury.
2. Alma Retreat. Ras al-Khaimah, United Arab Emirates
While much of the UAE’s resorts are extravagant, luxury experiences, Alma Retreat is perfect for those needing something more paired back and grounding. A retreat designed to get you connected back to yourself and nature, Alma is a collection of cabins nestled amongst the desert dunes. Forget lavish spas and fitness centres, this retreat is filled with yoga, meditation, desert hiking, art, music, and healthy cuisine. The aim is to leave guests feeling more balanced. The rooms are simple and minimal, and there’s no wifi available, staying true to the zen theme of the retreat.
3. Longitude 131, Uluru-Kata Tjuta, Australia
Located a little closer to home, the Longitude 131 is a relaxing experience right in the heartland of the Australian Outback. With privacy, tranquillity, and luxury all wrapped into one package, Longitude 131 is a destination for those needing an escape to reset their senses. Located alongside the World Heritage listed land of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, the site is a cultural and historic experience as well.
With a spa offering natural beauty services and bush medicine, a restaurant serving contemporary Australian cuisine, luxurious suites with indigenous artwork, and customisable itineraries to local heritage destinations, Longitude 131 offers everything their guests need to fully immerse themselves in the Australian desert.
4. Red Mountain Resort, St. George, Utah (first image pictured)
Not one for the faint hearted, this is an adventure resort fit for anyone wanting to get out into nature while also breaking a sweat. Sitting in the red rock cliff landscapes of Southern Utah, this resort is equipped with everything guests need to fuel their adrenaline needs. From hiking and biking, to wildlife photography, canyoning, and golfing, Red Mountain Resort provides the ideal environment for outdoor adventuring. The volcanic scenery, unique botanicals, and picturesque skylines make this truly a once in a lifetime experience. Fully inclusive wellness retreats are on offer as well, which are designed to enhance physical, emotional, and spiritual health, all within an unforgettable setting.
5. Scarabeo Camp, Marrakesh, Morocco
A true glamping experience, Scarabeo Camp is a beautiful arrangement of luxury oriental-inspired tents blend in harmoniously with their golden surroundings. The style is retro-safari, with iron lanterns, vintage fabrics, and woven mats colouring the interiors. While the accommodation is simple, it has pure luxury at its core. Traditional Moroccan cuisine is served at a candlelit communal table under the stars, relaxing massages can be ordered to your tent, and guided treks are available to all the nearby historic spots. Also on offer are camel-back rides, yoga classes, stargazing, lawn bowls, and dune buggy tours, so there really is something for everyone in this desert escape.
Words: Georgina Shearsby-Roberts