Vast, empty, dramatic, mystical – fabled lands of sand have been inspiring (and expiring) intrepid travellers and chapped lips for eons. Thankfully, the dust has gone uppercrust these days – just feast your peepers on these vista-riffic stays ruling the dunes. Sandals on!
Hello, sunshine! This shimmering Arabian oasis has got more swag than Aladdin, with 200+ exotic rooms, sumptuous suites and private pool villas, all fully tricked-out with king beds, oversized soaking tubs and tech gadgetry. If you do manage to drag yourself away from your tryst bliss, up the romance ante with a sunset meal prive atop the golden dunes, pull up a rug for cocktails and mezze at open-air Al Falaj, or simply sprawl at poolside Ghadeer. Beat the heat at the beaut spa and hammam too.
1 Qasr Al Sarab Rd, Abu Dhabi, +971 2 886 2088. qasralsarab.anantara.com
Utah may be dryer than a rattlesnake’s chuff, but this minimalist rock block has chilled the harsh climes to cooler than cool. Sleek, concrete-slab quarters keep it calm and clean, while the pant-dropping expanse of Canyon Point’s plateaus, ridges, cliffs and valleys at once hypnotise and reenergise. Canyon hikes, hot air ballooning, and horseriding will keep blood pumping, while trad Navajo-inspired spa treats, hot saunas and cold plunges will soothe weary wanderers’ bones. Swoon.1 Kayenta Road, Canyon Point Utah, +1 435 675 3999. aman.com
Once you’ve parted with enough hard-earned cash on Dubai’s label-studded glitter strip, bid adieu to the city lights and palm-fringed shores and head 40 minutes southwest to this stone mirage come to life. Balconied, Bedouin-style chambers are swathed in exotic textiles, feature commodious rain showers, and offer sweeping desert, landscaped garden, or atmospheric patio views. Culture vultures shouldn’t miss the falconry display and Tanoura dance performance in Al Hadheerah fort, then sheikh it off at the Al Sarab rooftop bar, Satori spa, or in the postcard-worthy pool.Al Qudra Road, Dubai, +97 148 096 100. meydanhotels.com
The Chilean family behind the adventure-luxe Tierra Hotels group certainly knows a thing or two about highlighting their country’s striking natural landscapes in decidedly off-piste locations. Besides the Andes-perches Ski Portillo lodge and properties in Chiloe and Patagonia, Tierra also reps the northern Atacama desert region, where a former cattle corral has been cleverly restored and reborn as an uber-mod retreat far from the madding crowds. Pads are tranquil and minimal, algarrobo and chañar trees are dotted around the site, and a bubbly neighbour (Licancabur volcano, that is) add to the charm. Best of all? Stays are all inclusive which means you can jeep, hike, bike, ride and gaze without selling an organ to cover the sneaky extra costs. Fab!Calle Séquitor S/N, San Pedro de Atacama, +56 222 078 861. tierrahotels.com
More Paris than Priscilla? If your threshold for sand spans less than your mink hotpants, you needn’t venture too far from your natural Melrose habitat. A quick skip to The Parker, Palm Springs means you get all the arid atmos and tanned chillaxation you need, along with a healthy dose of Mid-Century Jonathan Adler design, A-list hobnobbing, and big name shopportunity nearby. Country club vibes abound with croquet, tennis and bowls by way of leisure, a manicured lawn beset with lush greenery, hammocks, and a lemonade stand for comfy sips supine, plus a full-service spa to iron out all those kinks. Game, set, match!4200 E Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, +1 760 770 5000. theparkerpalmsprings.com
Liv left behind the lanes, arcades, and wide-open plains of Melbourne for the concrete jungle of Hong Kong, joining the team at LUXE after a stint at Swire Hotels.