Dubai is known for many things: its skyscrapers, its record-breaking feats and its over-the-top love of luxury. What it’s not so well known for is its animal-friendly environment, but a new luxury camp in the middle of the Arabian desert could help to change that.
Starlight Camp is a luxury pop-up experience that takes place in the desert about 45 minutes from Dubai Airport. This place is so exclusive that they only take one reservation at a time, but don’t worry – that can include your other half and your four-legged friend.
The company will pick you up and drive you via 4×4 to the campsite, which they’ll have set up solely for you. Pooches get their own dog bed and a doggy bag while human guests get the comfort of a queen-sized bed paired with prime stargazing position thanks to a specially-designed dome tent that offers unobstructed views of the night sky. With no other guests or tents around, you have complete privacy, but if you do feel a little shy, there’s close-able curtains that wrap around the bed.
Inside, there’s a heater to keep things cosy as desert temperatures can fall to less than 10°C overnight. There are also electricity sockets to keep your devices charged as well as books and board games to keep you entertained. Kids are welcome, and they can bed down on small mattresses next to the main bed or sleep in their very own mini-tent just next door. A wooden-enclosed camping-style shower and toilet just outside takes care of bathroom needs.
The brainwave of Swiss expats and long-term UAE residents Fabienne and Urs Eiselin, the idea came about when Fabienne was sitting in her garden, enjoying the night view. ‘I wondered if tents existed that allowed people to see the sky and the stars from inside the tent as I thought it would be a good way for people to really enjoy the beauty of the UAE desert with its peace and tranquility’, Fabienne told Lonely Planet News. ‘Urs, as an industrial business owner, worked with his team and managed to source the material to realise the Starlight Camp’.
The couple also credited their rescue dog Safa as being the inspiration behind making the spot dog-friendly, and the company donates funds to a local dog rescue charity every time they secure a third booking that includes a furry friend. Guest can wander deserted dunes spotting camels, gazelle and Arabian oryx. When night falls, light the campfire and toast marshmallows or get grilling – all the necessary BBQ equipment is provided.
Fall asleep under the stars and awake to a picnic breakfast and morning cup of coffee, best taken under the shade of a desert tree. Those endless dunes are ideal for giving your pooch one last walk before the Starlight team come to drive you home. Don’t worry, they’ll return straight after to remove every trace of the camp from the desert leaving it as it should be, entirely undisturbed.
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