Monday, December 05, 2022 | Jumada al-ula 10, 1444 H
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Qatar embraces the unique offerings of its desert and nature

As the FIFA World Cup fever rages on at the capital of Qatar in Doha, the rest of the country is also in a frenzy to finish the construction of different entertainment and hospitality properties.

The country is not only focusing on the World Cup but also exploring other means to offer world class experience for fans beyond stadiums and matches across newly revealed tourism attractions, hotels and resorts.

About an hour’s drive out of the city towards the heart of the Qatar desert in Al Barari, this was also the case as a luxury desert resort is fast taking shape readying itself to be opened before the official World Cup opening.

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In this unique inland sea nature reserve, the dunes tower over the construction. In the distance, several four-wheel drives are already taking in the sight enjoying one of the exciting thrilling rides dune bashings in the area provides.

Dr Peter van de Bunt is the Founding Partner of a new concept that hatched in Qatar and soon will see rising in the Middle East. The Outpost Al Barari combines some of the world's best concepts into one luxury experience celebrating Qatar's rich natural environment and heritage. Surrounded by soaring sand dunes and desert wilderness, once completed, the resort will be home to twenty-one tented villas that grant maximum privacy and deliver authentic close-to-nature experiences blended with the luxury hospitality that Qatar is known for.

In an exclusive meeting with the media, Van de Bunt explained that this concept is purely about experiences.

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"The Outpost al Barari is about combining close-to-nature experiences with luxurious hospitality. The idea is to be always embedded in nature, disconnect from the city life and just enjoy and celebrate nature," he said.

"The Outpost is a brand with a purpose and that's the beauty about it. It's not just about hospitality where we are selling the rooms for the money. Al Barari as a name means wilderness. Outpost is a brand where we have a subtitle which can be a description of the location or it can be the location itself," he explained.

"This one is named Al Barari because it's quite explanatory, we are in the middle of the wilderness here. The concept starts in Qatar but it will expand into the region. By the end of this year, we will be signing all the contracts. We will start doing two to three properties and then from there, we will plan the next ones because from there, it will just snowball," he added.

Once the people come, they will see. Once they see it, they will like and understand the concept. The beauty of this is that it's not only beautiful but high-yielding. We are targeting the ultra-luxury market so the yields are high compared to conventional hotel investments," he said.

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Van de Bunt said that the trend of being close to nature has always been there and picking up but when Covid happened, it fast-tracked the concept of being in nature.

"We've seen this trend over the last 15 years. There was more and more interest in close-to-nature experiences. With this kind of resort, everyone understands that they are disconnected. It's also all about privacy. Nobody ever asks me 'Does it work?' cause everybody immediately understood that this is a concept that fits into the time," he said.

What activities to expect

"We are trying to take everything to the next level including the dining concept. When we talk about desert tours, it will be more educational," Van de Bunt shared.

"We are a brand with a purpose and one of those purposes is that we are much about nature conservation. We have this tagline actually from one famous conservationist in the 1960s which is "You only protect what you love. You only love what you understand. You only understand what you have been taught." So that is how we approach everything."

He explained, "When you go out on a desert tour, people will learn that these are not just dunes for dunes bashing but these are habitats for foxes, rabbits and other animals. When you take kids out in the morning and take them trekking, you would see the trails made during the night. Because in the desert, life also happens not just during the day but also the night. These are the fascinating things you will see when you go over there in the morning and you will see all these trails and you will understand that this is a habitat. And you will appreciate it and will love it and start protecting it as well."

"Again, it's about the purpose and that is the meaning that fits into the time," he emphasised.

Unique luxury experiences

The Outpost al Barari offers many experiences that are unique to the desert and the wilderness. They will be offering guided excursions for their guests to learn about the flora and fauna of the area. They will also offer desert yoga while taking in the view of the inland reserve.

Food-wise, they offer gourmet dining and also look into offering Qatar's most exciting high tea.

Inspecting the property, the resort is filled with artisanal works, many of which were handcrafted. The decor, furniture and displays at the resort not only were infused with modern touches but some semblance and echoes of Qatari heritage.

They have Heritage Villas that have private pools offering mesmerizing desert views. Their Emiri Villa is suited for families as the three-bedroom feature allows a spacious, comfortable stay for guests and visitors.

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