"It's fantastic," added the 48-year-old Qatari. "No mistakes during the entire rally. It was a very, very difficult rally for everybody.
"The good thing was that from day three we were leading and we built on our time everyday until we came to the last day with a big, big lead.
Loeb seemed like the driver most likely to challenge Al Attiyah.
The nine-time WRC winner picked up four stage victories at this Dakar, but a troublesome waypoint undid his tilt for the title.
Loeb and co-driver Daniel Elena finished third overall in their Peugeot 3008DKR, their second Dakar podium finish.
"I prefer to finish first rather than third, but it was a good fight," said Loeb.
2018 FIA Cross County Rally World Cup winner Kuba Przygonski brought plenty of momentum into this edition of the Dakar.
The Pole's four-wheel drive MINI was competitive throughout and he just missed out on the podium with a fourth place result.
"The first week was perfect and then we had some problems. Then we made these last days in the dunes almost perfectly and made it back to fourth place," said Przygonski.
It was a tough debut for the X-raid MINI JCW Team despite boasting a superstar driving line-up of Stephane Peterhansel (FRA), Carlos Sainz (ESP) and Cyril Despres (FRA).
This trio came to Peru with 20 Dakar wins between them, but were unable to add another to their collective tally.
Peterhansel crashed out on stage nine, while Despres and Sainz finished fifth and 13th respectively.