Logo 468x60

Glamping in the UAE desert

DUBAI (Arabnews): It was over a decade ago that I took my first trip to Hatta. Back then, the Dubai exclave was known for its limited desert adventures (wadi bashing anyone?), and nearly every visitor stayed at the same hotel. Mainly because it was the only hotel.

Fast forward to the 2020s, and the area is remarkably different. In recent years, Hatta has been given something of a makeover, attracting a wider demographic of adventure travellers. There’s definitely more to do, with a range of activities catering to couples, groups of friends, families, and solo guests. It even has its own giant Hollywood-style sign perched up in the mountains.

The limited choice of accommodation is also, predictably, long gone. But one of the newer options, which has been a particular hit on social media, is also one of the hardest to book. With only 13 airstream trailers on location, the key to landing a stay at the Hatta Sedr Trailers Resort is to plan in advance — well in advance. For example, I booked my February stay in November.

Now, don’t be fooled by the word ‘trailers.’ the Hatta Sedr Trailers Resort is undoubtedly less trailer park and more desert glamping site. The price for a night’s stay (around $380) confirms that. 

Nestled in what feels like the middle of nowhere, the resort lets you ‘camp’ out in the beautiful Al-Hajar Mountains — a safe and secure environment — but without all the hassle of traditional camping. The location is quiet and peaceful, with no cars or external guests allowed on the premises.

So how do you reach your trailer? I am told to leave my car at an outdoor reception area that’s not connected to the site itself. Once you’ve checked-in, you’re transported to the trailers in a 4×4.

The sun has already set, and the location is quiet, crickets chirping in the background. The trailers are laid out so that you get to enjoy some privacy, with minimal noise from the neighbors.

Each trailer comes with its own viewing deck and chairs, along with a barbecue area. One fairly major drawback is that in order to grill you have to bring everything with you — even the charcoal.

Inside the trailer, there’s a surprising amount fitted into such a small space. On one side there’s the ‘bedroom’ — a double bed with two side tables and a mini closet; on the opposite side is the bathroom with a full shower. In the middle, a dining area is set with a booth-style table and seats, and there’s a small TV. You’ll also find a fridge and kettle, along with basic coffee/tea provisions.

There isn’t a lot to do at the resort, particularly in the evening. So come prepared to relax. Perhaps an early dinner followed by some tea under the stars. It’s amazingly peaceful past midnight; perhaps one of the most enjoyable parts of the stay. For colder evenings, there’s a common bonfire area that guests can gather at.

A restful night’s sleep later (the bed was surprisingly comfy), and it was time to take in the surroundings. A short walk from the trailer are steps that lead to the most stunning view of the Hatta Dam, and guests can book a kayaking experience in advance.

Speaking of activities, the majority actually take place at the nearby Hatta Damani Lodges (about a 15-minute drive). So if you are staying for one night, it’s pointless to leave the site before check-out. Head there afterwards and take advantage of special discounts on activities including archery, bike tours, horse riding, and hiking.

Which brings us to the one major downside to the resort: Even though the atmosphere and service are excellent, it’s a shame that check-in is only from 4 p.m. By the time you’ve arrived and set up, you’ve already lost the majority of the day. Check-out is at noon, so you do have to wake up early to make the most of the location.

What’s more, considering the price, it would have been nice to have some additional touches — a fully outfitted barbecue perhaps? Ultimately, though, you’re paying for the secluded location, the minimal number of neighbors, and a unique camp-style experience.