Watercolour elevation by Rashid Taqui of the Timeless Spa at the Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa designed by RTAE, Dubai.



Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Map of Umm Al Quwain

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Project Facts

Project Timeless Day Spa and Fitness Centre
Client Emirates
Built-Up-Area 9,700 sq.ft (900 sq. metres)
Services Concept, Preliminary and Details Design, Interior Design including FF&E, Project Management, Local Authority Approvals, Tender, Construction Supervision.
Status Complete, 2004
Budget Undisclosed
Awards Nominated for Agha Khan Award for Architecture, recognised as ‘One of the Top 10 Best Spas in the World’ by Conde Naste

Project Features

Guests Entrance and Foyer, Reception with Retail Area, Manicure/ Pedicure Room, Juice Bar, 4 Single Treatment Rooms, 1 Double Treatment Room, Rasul Therapy Room, Wet Treatment Room, Jacuzzi with glazed roof, Relaxation Area, Gym with Sauna, Steam Room and Jacuzzi, Men’s Changing Room with showers, Ladies’ Changing Room with showers, outdoor infinity-edge, organically shaped Swimming Pool and open-air covered Majlis.
Support Management Office, Admin and Staff Areas, Bathrooms and Storerooms.

Designed as Phase 2 of the Al Maha Desert Resort and Spa, the Timeless Spa was the first spa to offer couples treatment facility as well as the Moroccan Rasul therapy. Designed in keeping with the architectural style established in Phase 1 of the Resort, the Day Spa buildings is designed with nine level changes to follow the contours of the land.

Located adjacent to the date palm oasis the entrance is reached by descending to and crossing the water stream running below the oasis. Entering the building, guests are greeted with a vista that looks through the building, over the pool and into the horizon.
Other vistas are used to guide the guests through the building that feels like a collection of separate smaller structures and just before reaching the focal point, a new vista branches off into a new direction. Thus, a playful environment is created that encourages the guests to explore the numerous spaces and facilities. The water stream at the entrance is allowed to meander through the building accompanying the guests on their journey. Additional water features and lush vegetation with abundant natural sunlight create a tranquil experience while blurring the boundaries between the inside and out while views of the desert root the building to its unique context.
Main Entrance and the Reception Hall of the Timeless Spa at the Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa designed by RTAE, Dubai.
Internal spaces are flooded with natural light during the day and show the stars at night at the Timeless Spa at the Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa designed by RTAE, Dubai.
View from the pool of the Timeless Spa at the Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa designed by RTAE, Dubai.

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With over 40 years of experience in project and construction management across the region, Al-Kayyalli has worked in senior-management level roles with some of the biggest real-estate development companies across the Gulf region.

Specialised in working on complete project lifecycle, Al-Kayyalli’s has wide-reaching experience in all stages of project development and delivery ranging from initial preliminary and feasibility studies, financial and time planning, costing and procurement, value engineering, construction supervision and management to commissioning and testing before final handover.

Before joining Rashid Taqui Architects and Engineers, Al Kayyalli was the CEO of the Saudi Qitaf al Ardah Development Real Estate Co. (Al Nahda & Al Omar Group) where he re-structured the company to fully develop in-house turnkey developments through the establishment of an in-house project management and procurement office.

Prior to which, he was the Vice President Project Management and Engineering of Al-Oula International-Amar International Real Estate where Al Kayyalli successfully implemented major investment programs for the firm’s operations in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, as turnkey solutions tailored to the findings of market analysis studies.

Earlier, Al-Kayyali was the Director of Development & Project Management for Al-Nahdi Group (KSA) and KCMCC(Kuwait Commercial Market Company), and Director/ Construction Manager for a number of key contracting firms including Al-Jafr Trading and Contracting Co. (KSA), Ali & Fouad Al-Ghanim Co. (Kuwait), Al-Habtoor Engineering (UAE), Al-Muhairy Contracting Co. (UAE) and Al-Hani Construction & Trading Bureau (Kuwait).


Born and educated in the United Kingdom, Rula Hannoun completed her undergraduate in anthropology at the University of Manchester in 1979 prior to completing her postgraduate MBA (Finance) at the Manchester School of Business in 1981.

Hannoun’s professional career began at the First National Bank of Chicago, Corporate Finance division before moving to Project Finance, Oil and Gas. As the Deputy Head of the Oil and Gas division for EMEA at 26, Hannoun became the youngest Vice President in the history of the bank.

After marrying and relocating to Dubai, Hannoun left the banking sector in 1985 to raise her family. She resumed her professional career in the mid-90s as Advisor to the Economic Department of Dubai, spearheading the establishment of Dubai Internet City – the second and one of the most successful free zones in Dubai.

With an inherent passion of architecture and design and a key eye for business, in 1999 Hannoun established the firm Tala Furniture, dedicated to providing quality furniture to the booming hospitality sector across the Gulf and North Africa. Nearly two decades later the company is recognised as one of the leading suppliers of complete hotel interior products, operates 3 factories in CEBU, China and Indonesia and boasts over 120 professional staff focused on project management, technical services, manufacturing, sourcing and quality control.

A member of the Young President’s Organisation (YPO) and an active fundraiser, Hannoun has dedicated much of her personal life to raising awareness for children with special needs. She was instrumental in the establishment of Asseef School (Dubai Centre for Special Needs) in the late 80s, the first special needs school in Dubai to receive funding from the late HH Sheikh Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum and remains equally diligent in her quest today, to protect the rights of the children without a voice.


With near 30 years of experience in the design, management and delivery of complex architectural projects, Rashid Taqui’s portfolio spans multiple sectors in Australia, Greece, Kenya, Mauritania, Morocco, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, UK, and the UAE.

Taqui has a Master’s in International Architecture Studies from the University of Huddersfield (UK), and two theses to his credit: The UAE – Searching for a Lost Identity, and The National Museum in Al Ain, UAE.

Starting his career in 1996 as a fresh graduate at German firm Schuster Pechtold’s Dubai office, he won instant appreciation and international applause for conceptualising and designing the multi-award-winning Al Maha Desert Resort and Spa – the first eco-resort in the Middle East attributed to having changed the discourse of architecture in the UAE. His involvement in other ‘firsts’ for the region include the establishing a voice for the architects and designers by the launching Dubai’s premier and the regions’ leading architectural journal, Architecture Plus, shaping the annual architectural networking event, Cityscape and founding the international awards for architecture and design in the UAE.

Taqui’s broad-ranging experience covers urban planning projects, resorts and hotels, palatial residences, shopping malls, airports, schools, banks, offices and varied public and cultural facilities, and undertaken while holding senior positions in the UAE offices of German multi-disciplinary firm Kling Consult, civil engineering firm Italconsult SPA, and architectural firm Incorporated Consultants (Conin).

Rashid Taqui Architects and Engineers, established in 2008, is his personal brand that specialises in contextually authentic, eco-aware architecture. He ardently advocates integrity and sustainability while targeting high yields for stakeholders through innovative design, investment opportunities, and value engineering.

Taqui often speaks at public events and writes regularly for local publications. His interests include fitness, films, food, and travel.

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