September 4, 2016 / 1 Comment
Whether you’re a looking to escape the summer heat, get some R&R or explore the other Emirates, Ras al Khaimah is a top choice. Just over an hour from Dubai, the isolated location of the seaside resorts means you can just put your feet up and have a guilt free getaway.
A spur of the moment decision to get away for a quick staycation lead me to discover a real gem of the Emirates, the Waldorf Astoria. A name synonymous with luxury, their RAK outpost certainly doesn’t disappoint.
The grand lobby, our first introduction to the Waldorf’s gorgeous seaside-appropriate peacock and sand colour scheme, foreshadows the seductively sprawling and spacious nature of the property. The abundant space on offer at this property has a rather profound relaxing effect – I found myself getting into holiday mode the moment I set foot in the grand lobby.
From the lobby we ascend to our room – and it’s rather gorgeous. Oh, and HUGE. We stayed in a King Junior Suite with Sea View and Balcony, and it was so lovely I would have loved to have spent more time just enjoying the space – but there was so much else to enjoy at the resort also (#firstworldproblems)! Our suite had a foyer area, huge walk-in dressing area/luggage storage area with dressing table, spacious bathroom, dining nook, lounging area, a spacious desk plus a sea view balcony. Oh, and not one, but two televisions – if you have time for that sort of thing that is. It was just such a lovely space to relax in! It’s definitely worth going all out on a higher room category to get the full Waldorf experience.
In-room amenities include again not one, but two fridges and tea and coffee facilities including a Nespresso machine with a range of capsules. Oh, and they may have the best robes I’ve ever seen in a hotel. Absolutely delicious. Attn. Waldorf Astoria: Where can I get one of these robes? I’m in love! Squishy and soft on the inside, cool and smooth on the outside…pure luxury.
The metallic cocoa-hued bathroom includes a rain shower with handheld standard shower head, double sinks, seperate bath and Salvatore Ferragamo toiletries (oh, and a red rose for good measure). There was also a control to pipe sound into the bathroom but I could’t get it to work on our visit. A spacious bathroom but I would have preferred to see some of the wardrobe space used to make a bigger bathroom/wet area and perhaps a double shower at this level of room category.
There are great bedside controls for lighting and also modern iPhone audio integration – amazing! Finally a hotel that isn’t stuck in the iPhone4-era! Loved this feature as I like to pop on some tunes when I’m on vacay.
The bed, bedding and pillows were squishy, silky and divine, always my most important factor in hotel room comfort. There was a turn down service and slippers (but no choccies on the pillow sadly – believe me, I hunted for them).
The decor and furnishings still felt really new being a young establishment and really incorporated the seaside setting well with gilded coral chandeliers (gorgeous), mother of pearl inlaid furniture, ocean blue fabrics and Arabic design features. You’ll definitely feel transported.
Firstly, I have to say I’m rather proud I made it to the gym on holiday, and I’m glad I did as it was probably the best equipped hotel gym I’ve seen. Again, a lot of space here – so many cardio and weight machines, free weights…it’s really impressive. It’s better equipped than most city gyms! I wonder how much use these machines will see with all these holiday goers…still, I’m stoked to see them! The window-side cardio equipment has a nice view of the grounds and there are towels, water and apples provided.
Two pools are on offer nestled amongst the beautiful grounds – a sprawling, family friendly pool, and a rectangular pool more suited to adults. The family pool has a swim up bar (FYI: this is where you’ll usually find me at a resort) and pretty decent cocktails on offer. Expect Dubai resort prices (from memory around 50-65dhs a cocktail) and…resort pace. A rather pleasant way to while away an afternoon, but a few downsides to this pool area – no happy hour, no beach view and it closes at sunset, which feels like overkill (but to be honest I’m not sure if this is a legislative requirement or hotel choice).
The alternative is the adult pool – it comes with large lounging beds, a beachside location and casual restaurant/bar. A nice spot, but again this one has a couple of issues – it’s beachside with a beautiful view, but that view is obscured by an ugly black fence. Why, WHYYYY!?! I can’t understand this one, especially when just a couple of metres away they have glass fencing. I’d have loved to be able to gaze at the sea from the pool!
Also, there’s no swim up bar in this pool – it’s very ‘lap pool’ in design. Some resort styling would have been great to see incorporated into this pool for adults that want to escape the kids, but still feel like they are at a resort. The day beds were comfy though and staff regularly dropped off ice buckets with water bottles to the poolside beds which was a nice touch in the searing summer heat.
You’ve got a large expanse of beach to enjoy in front of the resort, and rather lovely water it is indeed. I can’t say I love the view of the still-in-construction Marjan Island development, but nothing can be done about that. Motorised watersports are available at an additional charge, but the jet ski time was a little expensive for my liking so we sadly gave it a miss.
FYI: WiFi is complimentary for Hilton Honours members. Oh, there’s a kids club too, and it sounded like they were having a great time!
Poolside is not usually where you find fantastic food, but I was pleasantly shocked at the Waldorf. You know you’re onto a good thing when even the food served up poolside is surprisingly impressive. The steak sandwich I ordered was among the best I’ve ever tasted – it was spectacular! Brilliant onion rings and coleslaw – two of my favourite things. Our holiday companions ordered mezze platters and wraps that also looked fab. I’m told that Heinz Beck (the international Michelin starred chef that oversees Waldorf Astoria Dubai’s flagship restaurant, Social) curates the culinary programme at the RAK property too. You can definitely taste the expertise – I’m so glad they decided to put some love into the culinary aspect of the property. It’s a big relief when you don’t want to wander outside of the property for a feed.
That was just a taster for what to expect at the Waldorf’s steak restaurant, Lexington Grill. It’s pretty much dining in the dark the lights are so low, but the lamb tartare is divine and there are some great Wagyu cuts on offer. Definitely the perfect way to refuel after an exhausting day sipping cocktails in the pool!
The Waldorf Astoria has really hit a home run with their Ras Al Khaimah property, and I’m already dying to return. It’s the perfect spot to laze away a couple of days enjoying some swimming, sand, surf, spa…and steak. With only five food outlets, you might tire quickly, but they are top notch. I’d recommend a stay of two days, or three if you really want to have a good wind down. Trust me, you’re going to love it!
Style: Luxury Arabic Seaside
Would I return? Definitely!
Suitable for: Couples, families
Room Type Reviewed: King Junior Suite with Sea View and Balcony
Room Amenities: Two fridges, two televisions, WiFi, iPhone compatible sound system, (really yummy) robes, slippers, Salvatore Ferragamo toiletries, desk, dining nook, balcony, Nespresso machine, bottled water.
Price Guide: You’re usually looking at around AED 1850-2200 per night for King Junior Suite with Sea View and Balcony, though currently rates are as low as AED 1593. King Classic Rooms start at around AED 1450, but I can see them on sale now for AED 1106.
I rated it..
ROOM AMENITIES: 9.2
HOTEL FACILITIES: 8.8
VIEW & LOCATION: 8.8