This is part one of my review of the Waldorf Astoria Ras Al-Khaimah hotel.
This is a continuation of my recent Middle East trip report. I have already covered the Qatar Airways Premium Lounge at Heathrow, the Qatar A380 business class seat and food and my transfer to Ras Al-Khaimah.
Ras Al-Khaimah is a far, far smaller Emirate than Dubai, which is a 50 minute drive away. If you looking for man-made attractions (megamalls, indoor ski slopes etc) then you’re in the wrong place. Ras operates on a far more human scale.
If you were staying for a week or more, you may want to visit the Hajar Mountains:
…. which hug the border with Oman and apparently make for a fascinating day trip. The hotel also recommends Dhayah Fort:
and the abandoned fishing village of Jazirat al-Hamra:
or bathing in the hot natural waters at the Khatt Springs. There is also the must-have Middle East tourist accessory, the water park. In this case, the Ice Land Water Park which has a ‘snow and penguins’ theme:
Obviously I didn’t do any of this …..
With a limited amount of time on the ground, and a full HFP schedule to keep up, I remained in the Waldorf Astoria for the 36 hours I was there. This was not a tough decision to make once I had seen the hotel.
A good reason to stay in Ras Al-Khaimah, as opposed to Dubai, is that it is cheaper and quieter.
The Waldorf Astoria in Ras Al-Khaimah, for random dates I checked in April, was Dh 1,060 per night including tax. For the same dates, the Waldorf Astoria in Dubai (which appears to be an inferior hotel looking at the reviews) is Dh 1,999 including tax. That is a substantial price difference, especially as you could get a taxi to Dubai for a day of shopping at minimal cost.
Apart from Waldorf Astoria, other major brands in Ras Al-Khaimah include Banyan Tree (x2, one of which is a private nature reserve), Hilton, Rotana, DoubleTree and, in the Hajar Mountains, a Golden Tulip spa resort with natural hot springs.
(I mention all of the above because Qatar Airways provided me with a free flight to Ras Al-Khaimah as part of their campaign to promote their new Doha to Ras Al-Khaimah flights. All of my other expenses, including my hotel bill, were paid personally.)
The Waldorf Astoria Ras Al-Khaimah is in Al Hamra, about 10 miles from the city centre. The Hilton beach resort is not far away, as is a mid-sized shopping mall and a large housing development. One of the two 18 hole golf courses in Ras is also part of the complex.
The amount of money that must have gone into this hotel is mind blowing. If you have visited Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai you will recognise some of the design and layout ideas – this may or may be coincidental. There is a monumental palace-style entrance leading to a vast lobby:
The clock is an echo of the 1920’s design ethos of the original New York Waldorf Astoria. To the left in the picture above is reception and, to the right, a huge Peacock Alley lounge and bar area (pictured below, shot from the balcony above). Beyond reception is a tea lounge called Camelia.
This is how the hotel looks from the beach:
and the beach itself:
This is the main pool complex, taken from my bedroom window:
There is a separate lap pool, theoretically for adults but children did not seen to be banned, on the edge of the beach:
Overall, the Waldorf Astoria Ras Al-Khaimah is a very accomplished hotel indeed. I will continue this review tomorrow, when I will take a more critical look at the quality of what is on offer as well as showing you the fantastic suite I had.
You can find out more about the hotel, and book, on this page of the Hilton website.
(Want to earn more hotel points? Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)