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Style Destino is my personal style space bout cruelty-free and vegetarian style. Fashion is not above someone's life and it is irresponsible when someone makes a fashion choice that involves taking a poor animal's life. I believe in style that has a conscience. We are in 21st century where technology has advanced immensely, there are myriad options available and any person with a desire can make things happen. So it is sheer selfishness and irresponsible behaviour when people make unethical fashion choices. Through StyleDestino I share everything cruelty-free and ethical in my style. I do not use any handbags, shoes or accessories made from leather (animal skin), the make-up I use is also vegetarian and cruelty free. Luxury and compassion can coexist stylishly and Style Destino is an attempt to prove just that. Vegan fashion is not about dowdy clothes, cheap bags, or tawdry shoes. I can just easily be vegan and trot in my Olsen heels, sporting a Stella McCartney luxurious vegan handbag while showing off my red lips painted with OCC lip tar!! I travel the world around and never find dearth of stylish, high quality vegetarian fashion.


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Anantara's Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort: A Luxury Oasis In the Middle Of The Desert

Qasr Al Sarab Entrance - Vegan Luxury Travel - Best luxury resorts near Dubai

A weekend at Qasr Al Sarab located in the middle of Liwa desert was more than I'd hoped for. An oasis in the middle-of-the-desert that allows you to disconnect from the muddied mind of modern lives and experience the luxury of pristine nature in the beautiful desert setting, where there is only the beauty of golden sands for as far as you can see, and beyond, beautiful sunset and sunrise to marvel at the nature yet understand the fragile nature of our existence and reflect about our life and its journey, and evenings under the beauty of stars. Our escape to this beautiful and majestic desert resort was one that definitely left me enchanted and an amazing service that made it a holiday worth its while!

Where? Located in the middle of world's largest uninterrupted sand desert, Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi is about 2 hours from the city and three hours drive from Dubai. 

The moment you take an exit from the highway to get to the hotel, you are transported to the shimmering desert with breathtaking views. After a mesmerizing scenic drive in the Liwa desert, watching the beautiful sand dunes changing its color, each shade more beautiful than before from golden to orange to red, we finally reached the hotel, which looked more like a giant fortress from the fairy tales. 

I've been to beach-front resorts on the private island, palace hotels, forest villas but a desert resort was even a first for me. The minute you enter the hotel entrance you are transported to a different world, an isolated space where you are close to nature yet in an opulent setting.

I was the driver for the trip and was exhausted, but pleasantly surprised when I bumped into a friend who came all the way to the hotel for lunch! We were promptly seated in the lounge to finish the check-in formalities and served milk-based welcome drinks and dates. I immediately informed them about my vegan diet and they offered some fresh juices. 

Being the New Year's weekend, the hotel was completely booked, and despite that, it didn't seem crowded - thanks to its grand size and plenty of activities on offer to keep everyone engaged. They had a souk style hotel shop with local handicrafts and usual junk curated from all over the world. Right outside the shop, and at a few other spots in the common areas, the hotel had wooden carts with local spices on display - adding a nice traditional touch to the place. A beautiful blend of Arabic grandeur and history was emanating from this sprawling resort, and a hint of magic because of it's setting in the desert. 

We were lucky to get in time to watch the magnificent sunset from our room. It was my first experience at a desert resort and was truly an amazing one. A weekend getaway to this luxury oasis should be a must-visit on your list of places to travel - and it's also perfect for a romantic holiday!


We had a garden and a balcony deluxe room, both beautifully decorated in Arabic style with dark wood furniture, carved large mahogany doors, draped curtains that open to beautiful views of the desert, traditional-style rich rugs, and spacious bathroom with separate shower cubicles and jacuzzi area. The rooms were spacious, with everything you expect from a luxury hotel, and each room and villa had spectacular desert views. 

Qasr Al Sarab Resort
This image is via CNN - I couldn't get a better capture

The Breakfast

Special avocado smoothie with cashew milk

When we reached the hotel, I informed the guest service exec about my vegan and Jain diet and she immediately put me in touch with the hotel chef. I requested the chef to make cashew milk and an avocado smoothie for breakfast, and a pasta and salad for later and we were impressed to find everything ready for us the next morning. In addition to the lavish breakfast spread with freshly cut fruits, juices, cereals, steamed idli and nuts, they had a good selection for us (vegan and Jain). 

The service at their restaurants and at the breakfast was impeccable and the staff was very accommodative to even the most finicky eater - healthy, Jain and vegan! However, I didn't eat anything cooked from the kitchen, just had the smoothie, cereals and fruits and was carrying my own meal.

The hotel has limited vegetarian and vegan offerings at some of its restaurants, but if you tell the chef in advance, you will not be disappointed. 

Activities and Amenities

French band playing in the evening (New Year's weekend special)

Cut-off from the world, surrounded by the majestic rolling sand dunes, you can dive into the tranquility of this luxurious desert retreat or pick from a host of activities the hotel has to offer - from early morning until midnight there's a lot you can do at this hotel. Sunrise yoga, learning archery, watch the sunrise or the sunset from the sand dunes, chill out in the spacious spa, take a plunge in the pool with desert all around you, go out for mountain biking or desert hikes or just watch the amazing view and read your book - there's a host of activities to please everyone. The hotel also takes you for dune bashing, desert safari and the Liwa desert nearby for a day trip, if you like. We'd already done desert safari when we came to Dubai as a tourist, so give that a pass.

Instead of taking up paid walks and activities, we decided to take a walk (or hike) in the desert by ourselves while our stay - to watch sunset, sunrise and enjoy the sand and the desert in the dark. Watching the dawn break and the sand changing its color with the sun rays was really a special experience - something you should not miss while at the hotel (coming from someone who is not even a morning person usually).

After taking a dip in the pool, I used the steam and sauna at the spa and later went to the library to just sit down and read  - something I didn't get a chance to do in a long time and finally had the luxury to! 

Did I mention, the resort has its own helipad, villas with private pools and four restaurants?


The service at the hotel was impeccable, and barring a delay at the time of check-in, the staff was generally prompt, very friendly and hospitable.

I have to say that it was one of the best hotels and most interesting places I had been and trust me I'd explored a lot of them. It was more of an experience than a stay and something I truly recommend. In fact, I was told that the hotel also adopts sustainable practices and has been awarded Green Globe certificate for its environmental commitment. 

Due to the New Years, we paid a bomb for the weekend, but if you plan ahead you can get a good bargain for this place. Don't even think about going to this resort in the summers as it is going to be a torture with the heat. The best weather to plan a holiday at Qasr Al Sarab would be between November-February.
Some random shots from our road trip to the hotel.

(got this vegan chocolate from the chocolate boutique at Citywalk Dubai)

P.S. I paid for my own stay and meals at the hotel and all the opinion in this post are unbiased.

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