The Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah- A local escape for all Senses
By Zehra Bani
The journey to this remarkable property from Dubai leads you along highways surrounded by beautiful local farms and the depths of the Arabian desert. If you are lucky enough you will be able to witness camels casually crossing the street so make sure to drive slowly not only for the sake of your safety but also it will give you the chance to capture a nice shot.
Some 45 minutes out of Dubai you will reach the Al Hamra village where the Waldorf Astoria is situated. Along the beautiful coast of Ras Al Khaimah you will find a variety of hotel chains: they say the best comes last, and the Waldorf is located at the very end of the hotel mile in the beautiful and newly built village.
After an efficient check-in, a small tour through the hotel is highly recommended as the remarkable design of the property created by the renowned Gallery HBA London is worth admiring as it combines traditional UAE culture and heritage. The architecture and artwork - topped up with modern artwork in colours that compliment the surrounding desert, mountains and sea - gives the whole property a very unique feeling of tranquillity and peace.
Strolling through the lobby gives a great sense of Waldorf’s rich history. Not unlike all Waldorf Astoria hotels it includes the Peackock Alley, created by Gill Wilson, a signature lounge accompanied by a marble fountain, including elements in shape of beautiful peacock feathers. An iconic clock in the form of a compass is located amidst the lobby, displaying the exact prayer times. It has been said that it is set for the next 1000 years to come. A very special selection of artwork is displayed throughout the property. A calligraphy collection as well as sketches of Sheikh Al Qasimi the ruler of RAK, just to name a few.
The hotel’s architecture gives a different impression at each time of the day. Overlooking the resort and its beach or lit up at night it both gives a highly exclusive feel and creates a very memorable atmosphere.
Strolling down the outdoor area the atmosphere gets even better as speakers playing soft Arabic music turn a walk into a unique experience. Above and beyond that, the resort has two large outdoor pools.
The family pool is surrounded by the Azure restaurant offering options for pool side dining. The family pool is a very lively place whereas the adult pool gives a more relaxed vibe. Beautiful covered chalets along the adult pool are just perfect for a rest in the shade.
The gorgeous beach is accessible from both pools and it offers sun-beds with umbrellas and a drink service upon request.
The Blue Coast Water Sports Centre located at the property’s beach offers a great variety of water sports activities that can be booked there and then.
No place better after a long day at the beach than the award-winning Waldorf Astoria Spa - which offers a variety of treatments incorporating exclusive and very worthwhile local ingredients. These include elements from the mother of pearl which has been a source of wealth to the UAE since more than 7000 years.
Pre treatment, a visit to the venue’s sauna rooms that consists of a variety of saunas, a steam room and adventure showers is highly recommended in order to prepare for the treatment.
For those that are looking for a more intimate experience the VIP room that has its own jacuzzi and shower is the perfect place. The Spa also offers in room treatments such as the famous bath master, a bath that contains different etheric oils and ingredients, ideal to recharge after a long trip.
Even though the central location of the property offers possibilities to take trips out and visit surrounding sights - such as the famous fisherman’s village or a boat trip to the neighbouring Oman - it gives plenty of possibilities to stay within the resort.
An exclusive variety of international fine dining options are located on the property allowing a great culinary experience.
From authentic Japanese at UMI restaurant to Middle Eastern delicacies at Marjan, a contemporary dining experience, there is something for everyone. UMI offers traditional Japanese cuisine, which can be enjoyed a la carte on their exclusive dining tables as well as by the grill, witnessing live cooking.
You can find mouth watering Middle Eastern cuisine created by Lebanese award winning chef Jo Barza at the Marjan restaurant. Remarkably the menu changes completely every three months to ensure a unique experience. The dim lights, soft traditional Arabic music and extravagant décor is the perfect place to enjoy an exclusive dining experience 1001 style. Private dining options are available for those that are looking for an even more exclusive experience accompanied by an award winning service.
The Lexington Grill originated in the US is a highly exclusive steakhouse, NYC style.
The Casa Al Bahr is the perfect place to enjoy a delicious breakfast buffet. It offers indoor as well as outdoor dining options and offers delicacies from around the world, allowing travellers to not miss out on their local dishes.
The Waldorf Astoria in RAK offers many more dining and entertainment options - it deserves exploration and time.
If you book directly on the website you can avail of a private concierge and several other treats such as the bath master or create your own bedding according to your preference.