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December 2016

Desire: Acquire Camel View or Ocean?

By Courtney Bannerot & Johana Langi

When we think travel, we think vacation, we think sun and sand. With these PageDaily picks at either end of the universe—geographic, budget, and view—get ready to kick back with a cocktail and watch the sunset from an Arabian desert resort or a Venice Beach hotel. The view’s great from here!

Your Desert Vacation Awaits at
Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa

About 1 hour outside of Dubai, the 42 suites of the Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa are sprinkled across the sand dunes of the Arabian Desert. But this is no desert wasteland. Opened in 1999, the Al Maha was the first eco-tourism resort built in the United Arab Emirates and was named 1 of National Geographic Adventure’s “World’s Top 50 Ecolodges.” The desert resort displays over 2,000 artifacts from the UAE, Oman, Qatar, and Bahrain, among other countries. Guests can start their day at dawn with yoga on the terrace, take archery lessons, and even go riding atop retired racehorses. Perhaps you prefer a dip in your personal temperature-controlled pool or 1 of over 50 holistic therapies at the resort’s spa.

For a truly authentic, albeit luxurious, desert vacation experience, go on the 25-minute camel trek to the dunes to watch the sunset while sipping champagne. Dinner at the hotel’s Al Diwaan Restaurant is gourmet dining with Arabic influences. Start with cinnamon-and-saffron-cured Wagyu beef carpaccio with compressed watermelon, set in rosewater jelly and 7-spice emulsion. Follow with Moroccan chicken tagine with cous cous, citrus labneh, and fattoush.Leave room for dessert—the Al Maha Persian Plate’s Turkish delight, petal marshmallows, pistachio nougat, orange jellies, and burnt-honey ice cream. Or have dinner under the stars with rugs and cushions arrayed in the dunes and a menu specially designed for you.

Luxury tent life will cost you—$882 per night, all meals and 2 daily on-site, nature-based activities included. Or, you can up the ante and go for the Presidential Suite with 3 bedrooms, private courtyard, pool, and staff for $7,400 per night. The amenities and endless activities are sure to leave you feeling like royalty.

For reservations: email almaha@emirates.com or call 971.4.832.9900

Relax on the California Coastline at
the Hotel Erwin

Not up for the princely cost of the desert stay or sand view? Venice Beach is for you. A mere 200-foot stroll from this sunny stretch of California coastline sits the Hotel Erwin. Part art gallery, part beach house from the ’70s, the Hotel Erwin offers quirky packages entertainingly appropriate for the surfer-hippie-tourist haven that is Venice Beach. For $399 per night, the “Scratch and Play” package includes a private DJ lesson on the hotel roof with a private bartender. A standard stay during the week will run you $229.

Rooms are outfitted with beds with pillow-top mattresses, balconies with ocean views, and modern art and décor—and the hotel is close to hip restaurants and funky shops. Rent bikes and ride along the boardwalk for great exercise and some seriously cool people-watching. Drop by N’ice Cream for a quick break and sample its homemade organic gelato and sorbet. Nearby on Abbott Kinney Boulevard, stroll through art galleries with works by local artists. For dinner, we love Gjelina with its wood-fired pizza and outdoor patio. But book early, reservations fill up fast. If you can tear yourself away, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and West Hollywood are nearby.

Make reservations at Hotel Erwin at jdvhotels.com
Make reservations at Gjelina, 1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, CA 90291, 310.450.1429

Top 5 Travel Apps
By Taylor Napolitano

Buy Freeverse Postman, $2.99, at itunes.com
Create the perfect postcard with your own vacation photos and personal message.

Buy myLanguage Translator Pro, $4.99, at myLanguage.me
Full-immersion translation from standard phrases to ancient proverbs.

Buy Lonely Planet Discover Guides, $5.99 each, at lonleyplanet.com
Comprehensive and trustworthy advice on where to go and what to do around the globe.

Buy Hendrik Holtmann eCurrency Currency Converter, 99¢, at eidac.de
Keep your travel budget in check with accurate currency conversion.

Buy Bubblesort Laboratories iJournaler, $2.99, at ijournaler.com
A digital take on the travel diary.

Have a fashion or lifestyle question? Tweet @PageDaily or post it on the PageDaily Facebook page. Get more luxury picks with their budget-friendly counterparts—read Desire: Acquire Caffeinate Your Life with Espresso Machines & Coffee Accessories.

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by PageDaily, PageDaily. PageDaily said: Time to start planning that Christmas vacation! We've got two great (and very different) options! http://ow.ly/2QCtq […]