We are so lucky to live in the UAE with a choice of 7 wonderful Emirates to visit and staycation in. Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) is becoming one of my personal favorites, either for a family break or a kid-free getaway. Being less than an hour from Dubai, it’s quick and easy to get to, yet once in RAK you feel a real sense of escapism. RAK’s hotel industry is also flourishing, with a strong lineup of international brands setting up shop – Marjan Island is set to be a thriving hotel/resort hotspot in the coming years – very exciting!
My family and I recently had the pleasure of staying at the Waldorf Astoria RAK which was amazingly luxurious and huge in every sense – with some of the largest hotel bedrooms I’ve ever seen (but still friendly and ensconcing).
Once onsite, the personal concierge ensures guests receive a true VIP experience, starting with a private escort to guest rooms, bypassing the standard check-in process. While the personal concierge serves as the guest’s primary point of contact, he or she is also their personal resource for hotel and resort information and for coordinating with the full staff to deliver seamless, personalized luxury. Outside of this, guests have 24-hour access to designated representatives with local expertise and an informed understanding of their needs – Waldorf takes guest pampering to another level!
If you know much about the original Waldorf in NYC you will know that after it merged with the Astoria, every subsequent hotel (anywhere in the world) creates a signature Peacock Alley – a stunning area in the lobby which pays homage to its NYC roots yet combines it with local culture & tradition. In the RAK property the Peacock Alley takes the form of a grand seating area with a piano bar and a central fountain and its soft water music covering the area in a sound and feel that is very much in line with its beach setting.
All 346 rooms are seriously generous in size. We had interconnecting rooms which meant the children had enough space to really roam wild – although when they saw the aerial view of the pool they forgot all about the room and couldn’t wait to get in! The pool caters for families really well – the baby pool is fully shaded and has an accompanying large sun bed area.
For mamas and dads who want to get away from the noise of excited children there is a large “adult only” pool which has a cool chill out vibe with lovely day beds to relax on. Near the ‘adult’ area, we found a hidden gem of an area – a secluded, leafy setting with luxurious cabanas, ideal for peaceful privacy, but equidistant from both set of pools and the beach.
The hotel’s kids’ club had a massive playground area and a fully staffed indoor area with cots for babies and all kinds of entertainment for kids of all ages. Due to the size of the hotel grounds, we took the kids on a walk around the grounds as a little adventure finding the kids club. To be honest, the pool and beach were enough for my 3 kids so they didn’t actually spend much time in the club. The best recipe to get the kids into bed early is a full day of swimming followed by a yummy hotel meal. Tucked snugly into their cots and beds by 7pm, hubby and I got to take in the views from the balcony over a drink and I enjoyed a nice long soak in the bath – bliss!
I didn’t try it but I did read that the hotel offer two amazing services. One of them is a Bath Master, where you’ll be able to choose from a positively decadent selection of bath infusions, essential oils and aromas to luxuriate in. A member of the Waldorf Astoria team will come and run the bath personally for you whenever you ask – I kind of wish I’d done it! There’s also an ultimate pillow menu for those of you who are fussy about how you rest your heads, with everything from downy feather pillows to natural pillows of heated cherry stones (am quite intrigued by the latter!).
You can really enjoy a true, culinary journey at the Waldorf Astoria with over 10 restaurants to dine in. Umi is the hotel’s signature Japanese restaurant with the largest sake collection I have seen (apparently its one of the largest in the world); next to it is the Lexington Grill which is their signature steak house. We enjoyed dinner here and to start the night with smoked apple signature cocktails to start – accompanied with their own meat platters with the most amazing steak. The marriage of the sweet BBQ sauce on the meat with the accompanying apple cocktail is divine and a perfect way to kick start your dinner. Our main meal we ate al fresco with a large selection of meats – kobi, wagyu, endless choices. If you’re not a meat eater, they did have a large selection of fish and chicken dishes too.
Throughout all the restaurants, the kids menu had a great selection even though the first thing my kids always asked for was good old “pasta pesto”!
On our second day the kids enjoyed the beach scene and we booked to go out on a boat for a little tour around Marjan Island The weather was so amazing, the kids were so relaxed that they all feel asleep 5 minutes into the boat ride.
The overall service at the Waldorf is supremely excellent, true world class standards. All the staff are happy, smiling, engaging, professional, knowledgeable and ready to attend to your every need. Even though the hotel was large and the grounds huge, we really did feel a sense of privacy and relaxation.
As always, weekend getaways fly past you way too fast and next thing you know its checkout time. With so much to offer, I’m very much looking forward to my next visit to this fantastic resort as my family and I had a magical time. Any mamas looking for an amazing weekend getaway should put Waldorf Astoria RAK at the top of their list.
Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah, Vienna Street, Al Hamra, Ras Al Kahimah