Are you ready to be rendered speechless? Then head 240km out of Abu Dhabi, into the Liwa desert, to a place like nowhere you've been before.

Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara is a huge magic-kingdom sandcastle, sculpted into smooth, sloped towers and turrets, peppered with flame torches straight from an Indiana Jones film.

It opened in October 2009, but sandstorms have already softened it to a stunning and sexy desert palace. The surrounding ocean of wavy dunes is mesmerising, especially at sunrise.

Despite being in the middle of nowhere, there's plenty to do. Try aromatic massages in the spa, take a desert trek across the Empty Quarter by foot, camel or 4x4. You can feast on mezze by the pool, enjoy French-style fine dining or experience an Emirati banquet in an outdoor tent.

Get to Qasr Al Sarab by car or helicopter in, like regular guest UAE President Sheikh Khalifa.

Wow factor: For adrenaline junkies, a hair-raising and heart-stopping 4x4 'dune-bashing' drive across the desert is a must.

Flight time: From six hours.

Go: Deluxe Room doubles from £205 B&B ( Etihad Airways (0800 731 9384; flies to Abu Dhabi from £710 return.