After a two-night stay at the Renaissance Downtown Hotel in Dubai, we went to the Al Maha Hotel , a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai for 3 nights. A great review of this unique hotel, accessible thanks to Marriott Bonvoy’s points.
This hotel is part of a tiny circle of hotels particularly sought after by point and mile hoarder
Just as The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort , the W Verbier, or even The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort, Al Maha Hotel , a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai is on the bucket list of point collectors since August 2018!
Indeed, for a limited period – between August 2018 and March 2019, there were only seven categories in the Marriott Bonvoy program.
It was then possible to book rooms with points for a very affordable rate – given the services offered – that of category 7, i.e. 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night instead of the astronomical price of CA$1,454 per night (at the time of our reservation) !
As of March 5, 2019, most high-end hotels have switched to Category 8, costing a minimum of 70,000 points in low season and up to 100,000 points in high season!
As early as August 2018, this hotel was in my sights (and I wrote you an article about it to encourage you to take advantage of Marriott’s very generous pricing schedule before the change of categories on March 5, 2019).
So I booked at first two nights for 120,000 points but after reading different reviews on the “restful” side of the Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort and Spa, Dubai, I decided to add a 3rd night!
Short on Marriott points, I chose to transfer 50,000 Select Membership Rewards points from my American Express Cobaltᵐᶜ Card to get us that extra night!
Otherwise, the easiest way to earn Marriott Bonvoy points is via American Express-issued credit cards like this one:
After 45 minutes of driving from Dubai, we take a small exit, not necessarily well indicated, to find the entrance of the track to reach the hotel Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai.
This hotel is located in a reserve, and you have to show white paw to enter!
Here you will have the choice: either leave your car in the parking lot so that a 4×4 can come and pick you up (in case of big heat, you will be able to wait in an air-conditioned room).
Either go directly to the hotel, which is about ten minutes away. We will choose this option.
On the road, we meet the local wildlife!
As soon as we arrived, we were taken care of by several employees of the Al Maha Hotel , a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai: one taking care of our luggage, another bringing us refreshments, and another guiding us to the check-in lounge.
While waiting for the person in care to explain the activities available in the hotel, we will be served tea.
We can enjoy the beauty of the different pieces during the registration.
The Marriott Bonvoy specialist confirms that the 60,000 point rate includes the night as well as all meals and 2 activities per day! A great deal… it pays to be loyal!
Our suite at Al Maha Hotel, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai
Our Bedouin Suite number 24 is within walking distance of the reception.
In the entrance are an office, the minibar and a beautiful bottle of Whisky (courtesy made available by the Reception for our attention). Also a Nespresso machine with a collection of capsules to keep us awake the whole stay!
The main room is our bedroom with a bed much larger than the King size we are used to (I would say King “and a half”!)
Another office allowed me to answer many questions on the milesopedia facebook group during our stay (including the famous 10X Cobalt + Aeroplan card cross-promotion that fell at the same time)!
On this desk, you will find a list of activities to book.
In the middle of the room are 2 sofas and a coffee table on which we will find as a welcome gift fruits and dates!
The bathroom is huge with an imposing bathtub in which we could have got comfortable with our two children and that will be big enough for both of us!
A large shower is adjoining.
This makes the Bedouin Suite its unique charm: a surprisingly large circular terrace and of course, the private pool!
Throughout our stay, gazelles and kittens accompanied us!
For artists, an easel is provided…
We had all our dinners on this terrace, the room service is also included!
The hotel services
Every morning, you can have breakfast in your suite or at the restaurant of Al Maha Hotel, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai.
In the restaurant, it is in the form of a buffet. Nothing out of the ordinary, but the dishes are quality. We particularly appreciate the calm on the terrace and the surrounding wildlife!
Dinner at the restaurant
We only dined at the restaurant once during our three days, the day of departure. On other days, we preferred to be served on our terrace!
Here’s the map on offer:
and examples of our dishes:
Suppers at the restaurant
What Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai is known for: 5-course dinners every night on the terrace.
It is an exceptional setting to enjoy tasty dishes, one-on-one, under the stars!
During the three suppers, we varied our choices (and each evening, a special menu is offered alongside the à la card dishes).
Everything was absolutely delicious from appetizer to dessert! And what about the presentation? Here are some examples of our entries:
Not to mention… a stay at the hotel, in the milesopedia family, is often the occasion to celebrate a birthday ?
All meals were included with points. Only the drinks were extra.
Al Maha Hotel , a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai has a beautiful spa.
It is located slightly below the main building, and can be reached after a short 2 minute walk.
It is possible to bathe in a hot bath after the massage.
If you want to swim laps and your private pool in your suite doesn’t work for you… this is the place to be because the spa has a beautiful pool! Always with the local wildlife present!
A stay with points at Al Maha Hotel , a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai includes two activities per day per person.
Over three days, you have the opportunity to do almost all of them! Some need to get up early, while others will invite you to “plenitude” at sunset.
The camel ride
On the evening of our arrival, we chose to start with the camel ride.
Lasting about 45 minutes round trip, this walk takes you through the middle of the desert dunes to watch the sunset.
On-site is waiting for you a buffet with champagne and fruit.
About twenty people take part in the activity each evening and each couple can find “their dune” to be quiet and toast to a new day that is ending… and have fun with the sand!
A happy couple!
The sunset over the dunes
The last evening, we chose to go back to see the sunset… this time brought in the comfort of a 4×4! The place is identical to the one of the camel ride… but you get there earlier!
The flight of falcons
The activity that requires you to get up early – an opportunity to witness a spectacular sunrise -: witness the flight of various birds of prey.
After a short walk to the Al Maha, the animators tell us about the history of falcons in the region, once used for hunting, now only for what is now considered a sport.
The activity lasts about 1 hour, and you will be able to witness, at the same time as the sunrise, several impressive flights and captures of artificial prey by these majestic birds.
Here is the photo gallery of the experience:
An unforgettable experience!
The ride in 4×4 on the dunes
This is a paid activity (approximately CA$80 per person).
We highly recommend it if you’re a thrill-seeker!
We travel through the desert dunes in an air-conditioned 4×4: the closest feeling is that of the roller coaster of La Ronde! A new opportunity to take beautiful shots during breaks… necessary for some!
To conclude our stay, on the morning of our departure we practiced archery, to think about what next cards we can hang on our hunting board!
Our general impression of the hotel
This stay at Al Maha Hotel , a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai will surely be remembered as THE best hotel stay we have ever had thanks to Marriott Bonvoy points. If you want to know how to earn Marriott Bonvoy points, read on!
From start to finish, we were impressed with the amenities offered… for only 60,000 points per night! This hotel has switched to category 8 as of March 5, 2019, and a night now costs between 70,000 points (low season) and 100,000 points (high season).
This remains to us rather a bargain vs. all inclusions!
Get Marriott Bonvoy points
There are two main methods to earn Marriott Bonvoy points through credit cards:
- Directly: with Marriott Bonvoy credit cards
- Indirectly: by transferring Membership Rewards from American Express
Directly with the Marriott Bonvoy Marriott Bonvoy credit card class="term" data-original-term="Y2FydGU=">cards
You can earn Marriott Bonvoy points directly with the two Marriott Bonvoy credit cards:
These two card s each offer a excellent welcome bonus. And, for each of your expenses, you can earn Marriott Bonvoy points.
Besides, upon renewal, with each of these cards, you get an annual reward night certificate.
Indirectly, by transfer of points
Marriott Bonvoy points can be earned indirectly via American Express Membership Rewards by transferring points via American Express Membership Rewards credit cards.
These cards each offer a nice welcome bonus. You can transfer Membership Rewards Points to Marriott Bonvoy at the rate of 1:1.2. That means that by transferring 50,000 Membership Rewards points, you will earn 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points!
Our favourite card here is the American Express Cobalt® Card: you can earn up to 5 points per dollar (that’s 6 Marriott Bonvoy points per dollar) for everyday purchases how grocery stores, restaurants or convenience stores.