Desert Nights Camp, Oman

LOCATION: The desert is deceptive. Which means guests spend much of the final ‘off-road’ 11km of the journey to Desert Nights Camp feeling as if they’re driving towards nothing but the red gold rolling dunes of Oman’s Wahiba Sands. But suddenly you spot the pristine white canopies in the distance, like a veritable oasis, and the 250km drive from the capital Muscat has all been worthwhile.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: On closer inspection the relief quickly notches up to pleasure. There’s a wide ring of Bedouin tents, though ‘canvas room’ is a truer reflection of the air-conditioned accommodation, the solid walls and sweeping pavilion roof enclosing a small lounge that looks out to a little terrace, a large bedroom and a bathroom with tasteful Arabian furnishings and all the mod-cons you’d expect from a hotel in a much less remote location. There’s no drought when it comes to fluffy robes, slippers and a mini-bar, and there’s even Wi-fi available at an extra charge.

THE FACTS: There are 24 double tents, two family tents with extra bedrooms and four attached units – where the second bedroom has a separate entrance – so the resort holds 64 at maximum capacity.
The Two Dunes restaurant serves buffet breakfasts and dinners, the latter with live Bedouin music, and the half board rates include this option. For an extra charge of £66, a traditionally Omani ‘shuwa’ lamb barbecue can be served around a campfire.
After dinner, sip a glass of wine or a cocktail under the stars at the Oasis Bar – the kids can pass the time in the lounge where there’s a library of DVDs to choose from.

A GOOD BASE FOR: Activities are unsurprisingly desert-related, from adrenaline-fuelled dune-bashing (£66 for 25 minutes), sand-boarding (£19 for an hour) and quad-biking (£20 for 30 minutes) to the more relaxed star gazing and visits to local souks (£39 for a two hour trip) or wadis (£39 for a four hour trip). Included in the accommodation rate is a short camel ride around camp, a great taster for those who don’t want to set off on a longer cruise on one of these so called Ships of the Desert.

WOW: Sundowners on the dunes overlooking the camp are included in the price, and after a short four-wheel drive trip up the steep slopes you can survey the desert sprawling out on all sides. It’s easy to get hypnotized by the changing colours of the sand as the sun drops behind the horizon.

HOW MUCH: From £285 per night half board

 desertnightscamp.com

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