A night in the Liwa Desert

View of Liwa Desert from Qasr Al Sarab - photo by Rob McFarland

View of Liwa Desert from Qasr Al Sarab - photo by Rob McFarland

I’m starting to think this might be an elaborate joke. Allegedly, I’m on my way to one of the most impressive new resorts in the Middle East but I’m now more than 200 kilometres from Abu Dhabi and for the past hour have been surrounded by nothing but a vast expanse of featureless desert.

Suddenly, we turn off the main highway on to a small unmarked road that snakes among towering sand dunes. I give the driver a look that has “are you sure you know where you’re going?” written all over it but he continues regardless. All I keep thinking is why on earth would anyone build a hotel out here. It’d be too hard, too complicated, too expensive. No, someone is definitely having me on.

And then I see it. A riot of towers, turrets and serrated roofs in the sandy vastness. It is enormous. It’s not a resort, it’s a city. It’s the sort of vision that should be accompanied by a fanfare of trumpets.

Read the rest of this story here.

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