My review of the Waldorf Astoria Ras Al-Khaimah (Part 2)

This is part two of my review of the Waldorf Astoria Ras Al-Khaimah hotel.  Part one can be found here.

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.

This was my first Hilton stay since I was promoted to Hilton HHonors Diamond status in the recent status match promotion.  The bad news is that guaranteed benefits at Waldorf Astoria branded hotels are slim – you don’t get free breakfast (you do at other Hilton brands) and they rarely have club lounges, to which I would have had guaranteed access.

Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah review

It worked out worse than I expected.  The hotel was roughly 30% full at a guess and most of those people appeared to be on packages and so would have been in standard rooms.  I had booked a King Deluxe Sea View which is two categories above a standard room, expecting an upgrade into one of the many empty suites.  Instead, I was given a one category upgrade to a Junior Suite which is only 15% larger – not hugely generous.

The Junior Suite had no desk.  I went back downstairs, complained, and was given another Junior Suite which I was told had a desk.  It didn’t.  I went back downstairs.  I was then told that no rooms in the entire hotel have desks.  Fantastic.  I was then given a one bedroom suite which at least had a table in it.  The table was nowhere near any power sockets but the hotel brought up a some extension leads.

Do not visit this hotel if there is any risk that you might have to do any work during your stay.

The good news is that the suite – and indeed the two junior suites I rejected – were lovely rooms.  There is nothing like having two bathrooms and three TVs to keep a man happy.  They were well designed and the colour palette was well chosen to complement the sun outside.

This was the bedroom:

Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah review

with an interesting light fitting!

Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah review

The large seating and relaxation area:

Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah review

My own walk-in wardrobe and dressing area:

Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah review

and one of my two large black bathrooms (toiletries were Ferragamo):

Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah review

I was particularly impressed by the brass / copper tiling in the bathroom which looked lovely in the light:

Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah review

This photo, which I also used yesterday, is the view down from my suite.  What you can’t see from this is the empty building plot next to the hotel.  Some very clever landscaping at sea level means that, whatever you are doing on the beach or around the pool, you never actually see the dead patch of land next door.

Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah review

Food and drink

My screwy schedule meant that I didn’t get to try out the many food and drink options.  Arriving after midnight, I slept through breakfast and began my day with a poolside lunch.  For dinner I had a light meal in the ground floor tea lounge.

There are no shortage of options but they may need some rethinking.  The top floor bar is set up as a sports bar and looks out of place compared to the rest of the hotel.  It was empty when I visited – not surprising as most of the guests midweek were retired couples or families with pre-school children.

Similarly, the fine dining restaurant one floor below was also empty.  The main restaurant was full of people of half-board packages and I didn’t fancy it.

What it lacks is more casual dining options.  There is nowhere to get a quick coffee (the tea lounge charges £7 plus service for a latte).  The snack menu in the tea lounge was OK but was identical to the snack menu at the pool bar which I’d visited for lunch – and the low sofas and low tables do not make for easy eating.


The hotel was happy to give me a 4pm check-out as a Diamond member after a gentle prod.  I was pleased with that.  The actual check-out was a disaster due to the Dynamic Currency Conversion scam they pulled on me.  It was only then that I realised they had also charged me for internet access which I had to get refunded in cash.

The stay itself generated over 40,000 Hilton HHonors points which was an excellent result.  This was due to my Diamond bonus, the current double points promotion and the three extra bonuses on offer for Conrad or Waldorf Astoria stays.  That was enough points to book Anika into the Hampton by Hilton at Gatwick Airport for the night …. that article is coming up tomorrow.


The Waldorf Astoria Ras Al-Khaimah is a very good value luxury hotel, in the context of beach-side Middle East 5+ star hotels.  You will probably pay half the price of a similar Dubai property.

You won’t be fighting for space by the pool, at least Sunday to Thursday.  You won’t struggle for a sun lounger.  You won’t struggle for a cabana.  It is a huge hotel and I wasn’t there long enough to see it all – I didn’t touch on the spa, the golf course, the kids club, the boutiques, the library, the water sports centre (parasailing seemed very popular), the impressive business centre etc etc.  The good reviews it gets are generally well deserved.

If you want to do a desert safari or the like, that is also possible.  The only thing Ras Al-Khaimah lacks over Dubai is the huge shopping malls and wide variety of other eating and drinking options outside your own hotel.  Given that Dubai is under an hours drive, you could add a few days here to a few days in Dubai and see both sides.

As they generously sponsored my flight, I should also remind you that Qatar Airways now flies directly to Ras Al-Khaimah from Doha four times a week, with flight times connecting nicely to selected UK to Doha flights.  You can also drive up from Dubai if you take British Airways or Emirates.

If you want to learn more about the hotel, or book, its website is here.

(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.)

Bits: BA Gatwick schedule changes for Summer, free night promo with Starwood & Design Hotels
'Part Pay with Avios' offering 1.33p per point until 22 March - fly Club Europe from £97 return!
About Head for Points

We help business and leisure travellers maximise their Avios, frequent flyer miles and hotel loyalty points. Visit every day for three new articles or sign up for our FREE emails via this page or the box to your right.


  1. How long is the flight from Doha?

  2. Thanks for the review raffles. We are currently staying at the Hilton resort & spa in Ras al Khaimah – I booked a basic room & as a diamond member (thanks to you) was upgraded to a great suite with the biggest balcony I’ve ever seen. The hotel itself is great & for me using the flash sale was significantly better value than the Waldorf. So definitely worth considering for anyone wanting to come to RAK.

    • Oh! Matron! says:

      I also stayed at the Hilton. What a fantastic hotel! The suite I was upgraded to may have been the same as you. The second room was bigger than my first studio apartment in london! I’m not entirely sure how much more the waldorf would give you over the Hilton, to be honest

      • The only thing with that suite is the noise from the staff string up breakfast from 5.00 am!

  3. OT apologies. I just hit the £750 spend on my Hilton Visa. Any idea of time frame to receive my free night voucher? Is it emailed or posted to me?

    • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

      Seems to be done in batches every month or so. Will be by email.

    • Stuart_f says:

      I got my card on 12 Sep 15. The transaction that took me past the £750 mark posted on 20 Sep 15.

      Email with the voucher code arrived on 28 Sep 15 and the expiry date was 28 Mar 16 (6 months from the date the email arrived)

      • Thanks very much. Perfect!

        • Enjoy the voucher and remember if you have Diamond status you can access wider availability, just book through Diamond Desk rather than the main call centre (worked for me earlier this week in NYC)

          • I only have lowly Gold status sadly…. Hoping to wangle a family room at Gatwick somehow.

            • Genghis says:

              If it’s applicable to you, Hilton run a status match to other schemes to enable you to get diamond.

      • stuart f

        what efficiency!

        methink u might be running an excel spreadsheet to run your hobby…u wouldn’t be the first :-)

        • Doesn’t everyone have one of these?!

          Miles earned, redemptions planned, forecasts of points to be earned from different sources 😉

          • Genghis says:

            How else can people keep track of points…

            • Personally I use a combination of AwardWallet, having a ‘pending’ tag in Gmail for things I’m waiting for to post and Quicken for finance. A lot of it I keep in my head after years of playing this game 😀

            • that would be an interesting article actually (if you like that kind of thing-which I spose you do if reading hfp)…

              “tools people use to track/manage the collecting/churning/ whatever u want to call it”

  4. Still not convinced that the ‘only thing’ RAK misses over Dubai is shopping malls etc. It completely misses the world city vibe and all the things going on. That might be fine for some who just want to stay within the hotel complex, but I’d caution anyone from flying to RAK thinking they’re getting Dubai-lite.

    • That is true. However, we did 10 days in a hotel on The Palm once and only left the hotel once – our kids never left the hotel at all. On that basis, we might as well have been in RAK at half the cost.

      If you’ve never been to Dubai, of course, you really should do it and see it. If you tend to head to the Middle East on a regular basis and have no need to see the dancing fountain show again, or go indoor skiing again, this is another option.

      • Genghis says:

        Raffles – I think you rate the Middle East far too highly!

        • I don’t :)
          We have stayed on the Palm for the last 5 years, for between 10-13 nights each time. Have left the hotel once each time, to go to Kidzania, and can’t contemplate a taxi to the water park, in RAK, rather than the golf buggy we use daily, albeit if it is too busy we walk the 5 mins to the water park.

    • Genghis says:


  5. I’ll be interested to read Anika’s review of the Hampton by Hilton Gatwick Airport tomorrow having stayed there 3 or 4 times now.

    • I’ll be even more interested: we are staying there before our next flight, but since we take off at 0650 we shall not be seeing much of it. No doubt it will be undistinguishable from the other three that we have stayed in.

      • She arrived at 10pm and left the building at 5.30am so there won’t be much more to it – basically “is it more than acceptable?” and “is it easy to get to the terminal?”! I know there is a pizza involved somewhere ….

        • Genghis says:

          For me, “is it more than acceptable?” is all I need to know from an airport hotel. You generally arrive late, have a kip and then leave early the next morning.

          • It is more or less joined to the terminal so since we are taking off at 0650 that was all I needed to know!

        • Ha! I’ve done those sorts of stays, and longer ones.
          The main thing I found I disliked about the hotel was that you could clearly hear the baggage handling carts rattling away all through the night, on definitely 3 stays. Amazingly they weren’t soundproofed against that.
          Plus on our most recent stay friends were on a lower floor which was adjacent to where they had their flag or banner mounted on the outside of the building…..rattle…rattle….rattle all night long :'(
          But those 2 points aside, I rate it highly & usually get excellent rates, especially including the Hilton public sector discount rates.