In Points savvy, we’ll be sharing distinctive experiences you may rating on factors from superb resort stays to throwing your hat within the ring for a spaceflight with Virgin Galactic.
I’ll admit it’s ever occurred to me to stay in a desert. When I consider a desert I consider being scorching, thirsty and tumbleweeds rolling by —that a lot sand simply isn’t inspiring.
But there’s one place the place the desert is completed in utter luxurious, and that’s the United Arab Emirates. Grand villas, non-public infinity swimming pools with a floating breakfast and drinks amongst sand dunes.
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When planning my final Arabian journey, there was one such institution on the very high of my record: Al Maha Desert Resort. The luxurious resort is in the midst of the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve: the nation’s largest nationwide park devoted to preserving the pure desert habitat. It’s completely guest-only which implies no day trippers can pop in for dinner or get a therapeutic massage.
There are 42 suites however they’re all staggered so that you don’t see anybody else tanning on their lounge chair. Instead, you look straight onto your non-public infinity pool and desert gazelles and Arabian oryxes wandering by.
From the skin of the suite, you’ll suppose you’re glamping beneath a bedouin tent. Step inside, and it’s complete Arabian luxurious with an infinite you’ll-never-bump-your-partner mattress, soaking tub, his and hers vainness, and considerate touches like binoculars to watch roaming wildlife, and an easel and artwork equipment to do your finest Picasso.
In case you aren’t relaxed sufficient, there are two day beds contained in the room and lounge chairs by the pool. The unique oasis is a forty five minute drive away from Dubai and prices a steep $1,700 per evening throughout peak season or $1,333 throughout off-season. You’re proper in considering, there’s no manner I’d cough up that a lot.
The fee consists of all meals, non-alcoholic drinks, a ridiculous Nespresso choice, and two desert actions per day. There’s a variety to select from comparable to nature walks, archery, a wildlife safari, dune rides, a formidable falconry, camel trekking and sundowners within the dunes.
You can both have your meals as room service, by your pool and overlooking the desert for, or dine on the most important restaurant.
What factors do you want?
It’ll value you about 85,000 factors per evening and Al Maha is a part of the Marriot Bonvoy chain. Hotels inside that chain embrace Four Points by Sheraton, Westin, Le Meridien, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, W Hotels and plenty of extra. That’s the fantastic thing about this program: there are such a lot of resorts to gather factors from, and seven,000 resorts throughout 131 international locations to redeem them in. Earning factors through this large vary of resorts is a method to stay at this resort.
The different manner is by transferring American Express factors to Marriott Bonvoy, which is the route I took. With an American Express bank card, I earned Membership Reward Points (that’s what Amex calls their factors) and cashed them in for an evening at Al Maha. All that was left to pay was round $10 in native taxes.
American Express has a variety of journey partnerships you should utilize bank card factors for comparable to Emirates, Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines, Etihad, Hilton, and even Ticketmaster.
About the loyalty program
You can be part of Marriott Bonvoy for free and rating the entry-level standing (Member standing) —this stage will get you little or no, however you gotta begin someplace. Perks embrace unlocking member charges for resort stays, free Wi-Fi and the power to use a mix of money and factors for future stays. The program goes on to Silver Elite (10 nights per 12 months), Gold Elite (25 nights), Platinum (50 nights), Titanium (75 nights) and practically-live-in-hotels Ambassador (100 nights).
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