Apr 28, 2016 I Nancy Loyan Schuemann

Plan an Escape to a New Eco-Resort in a Desert Oasis

It’s time to dial up your private pilot, get the Gulfstream prepped and grab your AmEx black credit card for an escape to the world’s “greenest” resort in the middle of Abu Dhabi’s Liwa Desert.

The emirate of Abu Dhabi is crawling out of the shadow of Dubai in seeking to become one of the “greenest” and most sustainable areas in the world. They are also aiming to attract the world’s high-profile jet setters. The remote Liwa Desert with its undulating sand dunes is already home to two luxury resorts. The newest is planned for completion in 2020.

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Guest suites invite nature inside.

Mr. Baharash Bagherian, founder of London-based Baharash Architecture, who designed the project says,

The UAE (United Arab Emirates) has some of the most beautiful natural landscapes in the region, such as Liwa, which is a perfect destination for eco-retreats … We are seeing a new generation of Emiratis who are looking to lead a more sustainable lifestyle, in line with the UAE’s vision to become one of the most sustainable countries in the world. Thus, eco-retreats are a great sustainable alternative to the usual jet-setting trips.

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A fitness center is available for exercise while away.

The desert’s claim to fame is that it was used as the set location for the most recent Star Wars film because of its isolated desert terrain. While Liwa has natural oases, the newest will be man-made, created by using a deep well to extract groundwater and create and artificial spring.

Bagherian explains,

At the very early stages of this project, we found out that we could extract groundwater using a deep well. This gave us an opportunity to create a story around the spring, which was of critical importance to Bedouins for trade and transportation routes.”

Water is at a premium throughout the UAE, yet the architect and developer Eco Resort Group insist that the luxury resort will ensure water will be used sensibly. The resort will have an onsite filtration plant for potable water and a wastewater treatment system, recycling water for irrigation for crops and fish farming.

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The lush grounds surrounding the man-made spring.

Crops grown will provide fresh organic ingredients for the resort’s restaurant. The restaurant is to also use food sourced from local farmers. A unique concept will encourage guests to forage for their own vegetables and catch their own fish. After, the chef will incorporate their finds into a custom meal.

Guests will be able to stroll down paths shaded by palm trees amongst marshland, gardens and sand.

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Solar panels atop the roof of guest suites at the eco-resort.

The entire project will be organized around the spring, with a single-story PV-topped building comprising 84 interconnected guest suites, each with a private terrace. The resort’s electricity will be generated by 157,000 feet of solar panels on the roof providing 100% of the energy for the 8,400 square-foot development.

Biologists and conservation staff will be employed by the resort to create harmony between the resort, its inhabitants and the desert with the handful of creatures that inhabit it.

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A view of nature.

Mr. Bagherian says,

The resort will provide job opportunities for locals, creating a more diversified economy. It will also preserve the region’s heritage and provide greater interaction with native people.

To keep the area emissions-free, the resort will utilize electric busses capable of traveling more than 200 miles on an electric charge. The busses will be used to transport guests from the airport in Abu Dhabi, 155 miles north. You won’t have to tack your camel for the desert journey!

Soon, you may enjoy midnight at the oasis!

Nancy Loyan Schuemann

Nancy Loyan Schuemann is a writer specializing in architecture, safes, profiles, histories and a multi-published fiction and non-fiction author and is Nailah, Middle Eastern dancer.

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