When I first moved to the UAE back in 2006, Ras Al Khaimah was – dare I say it – a bit of a wasteland, there was just nothing there! But on looking for a location for a weekend break recently, Ras Al Khaimah kept popping up, and although I’d never really have thought to go there specifically before, there were some really reasonable deals available from some lovely hotels, so we decided to give it a go and booked a long weekend at the Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah.
We chose the hotel because, well, it looked pretty darn fabulous there’s no two ways about it. It pretty much had everything we were looking for – a lovely pool and beach, a great spa, reputedly excellent food and service… what more can you want?!
It was clear pretty quickly on arrival that it was pretty grand… Did you see that staircase in the images above?! I mean that’s the stuff of film sets, and conjures images of glam 1930s film stars sashaying coolly and dramatically down them. It’s all very – well, Waldorf Astoria with its signature Art Deco style modelled on its famous namesake, the original Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York.
The rooms are also fabulous and very spacious – I’m pretty sure you can’t go wrong with whatever class room you book. We had a King Deluxe room with sea view and balcony and I was very impressed with the size – it may as well have been a suite, and is certainly not far from what many other hotels may pass off as a small suite! The large room was divided into two parts, the bedroom part, and behind a large partition there was also a lounge and dining area – particularly useful when you’re travelling with kids and need somewhere to feed them! It’s also great to have a separate area – perfect for keeping one part of the room dark for sleeping children while you can still enjoy your evening without having to eat your dinner in the bathroom or watch TV with the volume down! 🙂
The hotel is certainly quite imposing on the landscape and that may not be to everyone’s taste, but it’s laid out well with vast, spacious hallways so you never have a feeling of being crowded. Apparently the hotel was at over 80% occupancy when we stayed and I wouldn’t have guessed that it was anything close to that – it certainly never felt that way.
Of course the hotel grounds are beautiful and the pool and beach is lovely. There’s plenty of places to sit in comfort and it’s all well spaced out so you have plenty of privacy and never feel on top of other people.
The hotel has some great restaurants too, along with our favourite holiday indulgence – a great room service menu! There’s also even a really good pork section at breakfast with the best sausages I think I’ve had in the UAE – none of those overcooked, shrivelled up, dried excuses for a sausage that you can find elsewhere.
It’s also worth noting that Al Hamra Mall is right around the corner from the hotel so if you forget anything, or need anything as is invariably the case with kids in tow – you’ve got everything you need right there. We foolishly forgot the swim nappies for Baby Arabian Notes and since the hotel had no shop that sold them, it was lucky for us that the mall was so close by!
And if lying by the pool or beach isn’t your thing, you might be surprised to hear that Ras Al Khaimah also has some really interesting things to see too, especially if you’re into the history of the Emirates. More about that coming soon…