Review: Al Maha Desert Resort Dubai Dining

Introduction
From Airbus To Megabus: A Trip Of Contrasts
Review: Six Senses Zighy Bay Villa
Review: Six Senses Zighy Bay Activities & Dining
Review: Al Maha Bedouin Suite
Review: Al Maha Desert Resort Dubai Dining
Review: Al Maha Desert Resort Dubai Activities
Review: Dubai International First Class Lounge DXB
Review: Qatar Airways First Class A320 Dubai To Doha
Review: Qatar Airways First Class A380 Doha To London
Review: British Airways First Class A380 London To Los Angeles
Review: British Airways A380 First Class Tasting Menu
Review: Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles Airport LAX
Review: American Flagship Lounge Los Angeles LAX
Review: American First Class A321 Los Angeles To New York
Review: Hilton Austin Airport


Al Maha is an all inclusive resort, meaning each guest in entitled to three meals per day. You can either eat in the hotel’s main restaurant, Al Diwaan, or otherwise in your room. In the restaurant, meals are available at the following hours:

  • Breakfast: 7AM-10:30AM
  • Lunch: 12:30PM-2:30PM
  • Dinner: 7:30PM to 10PM

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However, the room service hours are much more flexible. There’s a breakfast menu, which had no specific hours (so presumably you could order whenever you want), then a huge all day menu available from 11AM until 11PM, and then an overnight menu available from 11PM until 6AM.

With that in mind, let’s talk about room service first, because that’s where we ate both of our lunches.

Here’s Al Maha’s room service breakfast menu:

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Here’s Al Maha’s room service all day dining menu:

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Here’s Al Maha’s room service late night menu:

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Here’s their special room service Sri Lankan dinner menu:

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Then here’s Al Maha’s room service beverage menu (all meals came with complimentary bottled water, though other drinks are chargeable — prices are in AED, so 1 USD equals ~3.7 AED):

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We had lunch via room service both days. Activities at the resort are usually in the mornings and evenings, so we spent our time during the day mostly relaxing inside.

In general I’m not a fan of places with food included or which are all you can eat, since it encourages overeating. If I can have an appetizer, main course, and dessert at no extra cost, why wouldn’t I? Well, at least that’s always my initial thought as a conscious person, until I realize I have pants which need to still fit. In both instances I ordered three courses. Of course I simply ordered so much food as a public service, because I wanted to get as many pictures as possible for you guys. 😉

Room service was always prompt, and usually delivered within 30 minutes of ordering. We had lunch outside, and the setup was impressive; they brought a tablecloth, and spent a good 5-10 minutes setting everything up each time.

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Al Maha lunch room service setup

The first day I had the burrata to start.

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Al Maha lunch room service — burrata

Ford had the lentil soup.

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Al Maha lunch room service — lentil soup

For the main I had a salmon pizza.

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Al Maha lunch room service — pizza salmone

Ford had the halloumi sandwich.

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Al Maha lunch room service — smoked turkey and halloumi sandwich

Then for dessert we each had a bite of the peach cobbler and flourless chocolate cake.

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Al Maha lunch room service — peach crumble

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Al Maha lunch room service — flourless chocolate cake

The next day I had a salad to start.

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Al Maha lunch room service — salad

Then I had the penne, while Ford had the beef burger, which was served with fries.

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Al Maha lunch room service — penne arrabiata

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Al Maha lunch room service — beef burger

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Al Maha lunch room service — fries

I ordinarily love Arabic food, but at this point in the trip we had already consumed all the Arabic food we could handle, based on our Emirates flight and our time at the Six Senses. While the food was (fairly) simple, it was delicious. It was always served hot and prepared perfectly.

The highlight of dining outside, though, was our resident gazelle who was always hanging out near our suite. He quite seemed to enjoy the breadbasket on one occasion, when we weren’t looking.

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Al Maha room service with friends

We had breakfast both mornings at Al Diwaan, the hotel’s main restaurant, located one level below the lobby. The restaurant felt a bit outdated, though was still well maintained. We had breakfast indoors both mornings, while there was also an outdoor seating area overlooking the desert (where we had dinner both nights).

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Al Maha Al Diwaan Restaurant

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Al Maha Al Diwaan Restaurant

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Al Maha Dubai’s Al Diwaan Restaurant

Breakfast consisted of a buffet, though you could still order hot dishes off the menu. The breakfast menu read as follows:

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The buffet was okay, I thought, but nothing special, at least compared to the dinner. The buffet consisted of mostly cold options, like fruit, cheese, cold cuts, cereal, croissants, etc.

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Al Maha Al Diwaan Restaurant breakfast buffet

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Al Maha Al Diwaan Restaurant breakfast buffet

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Al Maha Al Diwaan Restaurant breakfast buffet

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Al Maha Al Diwaan Restaurant breakfast buffet

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Al Maha Al Diwaan Restaurant breakfast buffet

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Al Maha Al Diwaan Restaurant breakfast buffet

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Al Maha Al Diwaan Restaurant breakfast buffet

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Al Maha Al Diwaan Restaurant breakfast buffet

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Al Maha Al Diwaan Restaurant breakfast buffet

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Al Maha Al Diwaan Restaurant breakfast buffet

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Al Maha Al Diwaan Restaurant breakfast buffet

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Al Maha Al Diwaan Restaurant breakfast buffet

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Al Maha Al Diwaan Restaurant breakfast buffet

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Al Maha Al Diwaan Restaurant breakfast

We loved the four hot dishes we ordered over the two days, including the Arabic eggs, burghee, crepes, and eggs benedict.

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Al Maha Al Diwaan Restaurant breakfast — Arabic flavor

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Al Maha Al Diwaan Restaurant breakfast — burghee

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Al Maha Al Diwaan Restaurant breakfast — crepes

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Al Maha Al Diwaan Restaurant breakfast — eggs benedict

We had dinner both days in the restaurant, which provided a stunning setting. As the desert cools down in the evenings there’s just something so peaceful about the setting, where you’re having a beautiful candlelit dinner with no natural light as far as the eye can see.

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Al Diwaan Restaurant at Al Maha

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Al Diwaan Restaurant at Al Maha

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Al Diwaan Restaurant at Al Maha

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Al Diwaan Restaurant at Al Maha

Dinner was a real production, both in terms of the offerings and service. The Al Diwaan dinner menu read as follows:

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Tiffany and her husband also stayed at this hotel, and our stays overlapped by a night, so we had dinner together. The food was exquisite.

There was an amuse bouche to start.

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Al Maha dinner — amuse bouche

Then for starters we had a selection of sashimi grade seafood, foie gras with bacon and mushroom mash, and pan fried scallops with mango and vanilla puree.

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Al Maha dinner — selection of sashimi grade seafood

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Al Maha dinner — Omani prawns

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Al Maha dinner — foie gras with bacon and mushroom mash

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Al Maha dinner — pan fried scallops with mango and vanilla puree

After that there was a palate cleanser.

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Al Maha dinner — palate cleanser

Then the mains were brought out. We had the lobster thermidor, quail biryani, and braised shank of lamb.

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Al Maha dinner — lobster thermidor

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Al Maha dinner — quail biryani

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Al Maha dinner — braised shank of lamb

We were too full by the time dessert came around. I can’t say enough good things about the service at dinner. It was one of the most well executed dinners I’ve had. For example, when each course came out they’d place the dishes down with covers, and then two servers would lift all the lids at exactly the same time.

When the mains were delivered I even heard them do a countdown under their breath for timing the lid-lifting — “one, two, three,” and then all four lids came off at the same millisecond. Color me extremely impressed.

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Impressive service at Al Maha!

In addition to the above, the bar area just off the lobby had a nice selection of snacks in the mornings and afternoons. There was espresso and tea available all day.

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Al Maha espresso & tea setup

The afternoon tea setup consisted of scones, macarons, and assorted other sweets. Very impressive.

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Al Maha afternoon tea setup

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Al Maha afternoon tea setup

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Al Maha afternoon tea setup

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Al Maha afternoon tea setup

There was also Arabic coffee available at all times.

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Al Maha Arabic coffee

The espresso & tea setup was near the hotel’s bar, which didn’t seem to be utilized very much, given that most guests seemed to get up early and also go to bed early.

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Al Maha bar

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Al Maha bar

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Al Maha bar

Al Maha dining bottom line

For a resort with meals included, my expectations were exceeded. I loved the variety of food and the flexibility to dine in your room, in the restaurant, etc. Admittedly rates at this hotel are extremely high, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised the food was excellent. But when redeeming 39,000 Starpoints per night it’s at least easier to feel like you’re getting a great value with the offerings.

What do you make of the food offerings at Al Maha?

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Comments

  1. Lucky, thank you so much for all of your reviews and tips.

    I am going to al maha in my honeymoon in 20 days!! I know that Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner are included but do you know how that works when you use your 24 with SPG 75? I am checkin in at 12m and checking out at 2PM 2 days latter. Will I not have lunch the last day before check out?

    Thanks!!

  2. Your dinner sounded so wonderful!

    I’d be frustrating company at AL Maha as I would want to spend all my waking hours with the gazelles. And the falcons.

  3. Lucky, I’ve always wonder if it’s actually acceptable, comfortable and safe for two men to travel to the middle east together (ie UAE, Qatar etc) without others raising eyebrows? I didn’t sense any problems in Indonesia and Malaysia but not sure about the middle east. Thanks!

  4. You get three meals ‘per day’ but how does that work out to be the same per night? On a one night stay do you get three or six meals? Six seems like too many, but I could see wanting a fourth if you checked in fairly early and out fair late.

    Overall dinner looks very impressive. Lunch looks really simple but I understand you were deliberately ordering simple choices. Breakfast seems like a sizable gulf between the made-to-order dishes and a pretty sub-par buffet. Most notably though the FIFTY-TWO DOLLAR mimosa with breakfast may be the most overpriced drink I’ve ever seen. Do they have some sort of huge import duty on wine but not liquor? That would also explain the big price different between the room service sangria pitcher and mojito pitcher.

  5. It never ceases to amaze me how some luxury hotels/resorts will nickel and dime you, I get charging for premium wines and liqueurs.

    But soft drinks in the mini bar and for room service? At a paid rate of $1700 a day?

    @Tiffany@Lucky
    What would you say that the correct approach to tipping in resort like this when all the meal are included?

  6. That looks really good for that it is all-inclusive…still 3 hours until lunch break, I’m so hungry now.
    Thanks for the review!

  7. Very informative, though I find it a bit sad as a New Zealander that ‘sashimi grade’ seafood exists overseas. What a sad state you must be in where you have to distinguish between fish that is fit for raw consumption and fish that isn’t.

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