“Offering magnificent landscapes, breathtaking coastlines and rich, terracotta desert planes, the emirate has firmly established itself as one of the most authentic destinations in the Middle East.” Visit Ras Al Khaimah
Thinking about a staycation? Overseas visitor looking to escape the hustle and bustle of Dubai? Look no further than the UAE’s northernmost emirate, Ras Al Khaimah (RAK). Whether you are seeking an outdoor adventure trekking and camping in the UAE’s highest mountain or a luxury hotel experience, this tranquil emirate has it all to offer.
With it’s 475 rooms, suites and villas, the five-star Hilton Ras Al Khaimah Resort & Spa is an enormous property nestled on a 1.5km stretch of private beach overlooking the Arabian Sea. The large hotel features traditional Arabic design and offers guests an abundance of facilities including seven swimming pools (including salt water, family and adult only pools), several restaurants and bars, spa, kids club, 24-hour gym and water sports centre.
We stayed in a newly refurbished two bedroom sea-view beach villa on the upper floor. The spacious villa had two good size bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms offering a walk-in shower, separate bath and amenities from Crabtree & Evelyn. The lounge had a dining area, flat screen TV and sofa bed for any additional guests. The large balcony offered plenty of seating and a great view of the beach and resort below. The villa was perfectly located in between Sol beach bar, one of the many swimming pools and Al Maeda restaurant where breakfast is served for villa guests.
While the accommodation and resort may be five-star, the service and cuisine was sadly not up to the same level. Many guests, mostly European visitors, opt for the all-inclusive packages and we found the a la carte options were overpriced and underwhelming. While SOL beach bar may look great and it’s the perfect place to chill, the food and service were underpar, our order was wrong and what we did receive was distinctly average and pricey.
Unfortunately we were not informed at check-in that as the hotel offered an all-inclusive option so therefore it would be advisable to book a dinner reservation as restaurants would be overly busy. Without a booking we could not dine at the resorts only a la carte venue, Piaceri Da Gustare and instead of the Italian fine-dining experience we had to order room service. Luckily the in-room dining options were plentiful and the food was ok, it was served hot and ironically it turned out to be the best cuisine we had during our stay.
The all-inclusive crowd dominated the breakfast buffet at Al Maeda, the standalone Lebanese restaurant, so therefore it was too busy and many stations were not replenished, another disappointing dining experience. The hotel’s other dining options include the Dome Lounge and Marhaba Cafe that offer light bites, snacks and drinks, Latin/Caribbean all-day dining at Pura Vida that specialises in Brazilian flavours, Rio Beach Bar (serves great pina coladas) and Sunset Bar serve drinks throughout the day and X.O. specialises in cocktails and after dinner drinks. As of 1st March 2020 the hotel is undergoing restaurant renovations.
The standalone spa has nine treatment rooms as well as the Himalayan Wellness Grotto, two Moroccan Hammams, whirlpool, sauna, steam room and offers an extensive menu of treatments – click HERE for the spa menu. The Adventure Sports Water Sports Centre located on the beach offers plenty of activities such as fishing, scuba diving, parasailing, banana and donut rides as well as the hire of kayaks, paddleboards, jet skis, snorkelling equipment and sea bobs – click HERE to see everything they offer.
There’s lots of activities for the more active guests with the fitness centre open 24/7, beach volleyball and football pitches as well as table tennis, yoga and fitness classes in the main pool. The Tree House Kids Club offers entertainment for younger members of the family including an outdoor pool with a waterslide (for 4-12 year olds). Teenagers are welcomed at The Hide with its cinema and dance rooms, video games hub and nail bar.
With its laid back feel, Ras Al Khaimah is definitely a great place to visit. Relax on the beach at one of the many beachfront hotels (day passes are available at most resorts), hike in the Jebel Al Jais mountain range and try the world’s longest zipline, explore the spice and fish markets and visit the mall, marina and 18-hole golf course at Al Hamra.
The Nitty Gritty
Hilton Ras Al Khaimah Resort & Spa, Al Maareedh Street, Ras Al Khaimah, UAE
Telephone: 07 228 8844
Board Basis options: Breakfast, half board, full board, all-inclusive and all-inclusive dine around.
Check-out: 12 noon
Spacious seafront villas
1.5km of private beach
Good facilities and plenty of activities
The Not so Good…..
Disappointing and overpriced dining options
The hotel is set-up for the all-inclusive crowd
Service was not great both before and during our visit
Read more about hiking in RAK HERE
We booked our stay through Booking.com All views are my own based on my experience. Unless otherwise stated all photos © Jo Brett 2020. All rights reserved.