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Exceptional new Middle East beach redemption in Ras Al Khaimah using Marriott points

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Long-term readers of Head for Points will remember that last year I visited The Ritz-Carlton Al Wadi desert resort in Ras Al-Khaimah about 60 minutes drive from Dubai International Airport.

The standard ‘room’ at Al Wadi Desert is the 1,700 square foot Al Rimal villa.  This is potentially bigger than where you live now.  All villas come with a private pool.

You can book Al Wadi for just 50,000 Marriott Rewards points per night.  To put this in context, I value a Marriott point at 0.5p usually, yet Al Wadi sells for over £600 per night including taxes at peak periods.  That implies a valuation of 1.2p per Marriott Rewards point or 3.6p per Starwood Preferred Guest points (they transfer at 1:3 into Marriott).

But what if you don’t want to stay in the desert ….

The Ritz-Carlton has thought of you too!  It has opened, just down the road in Ras Al-Khaimah, The Ritz-Carlton Al Hamra Beach resortAnd it looks stunning. 

Imagine a beach resort with just 32 rooms …..

…. except that each room is actually a private villa with its own private pool …..

…. and that these villas line the beach and are all 180 square metres (including the outdoor area)

It all sounds horribly expensive, doesn’t it?  By the standards of Dubai it is actually fairly reasonable – over October half term you are looking at £600 per night including taxes.

It makes far more sense, of course, to use Marriott Rewards points.

The Ritz-Carlton Al Hamra is just 50,000 Marriott Rewards points per night.  This gets you 1.2p per Marriott Rewards points and 3.6p per Starwood Preferred Guest point.

Due to the Marriott Rewards ‘five nights for the points of four’ deal, it gets even better value on longer stays.

The only slight downside is that, as it is a The Ritz-Carlton branded hotel, you won’t get free breakfast whatever your status in Marriott Rewards.

If you combined a few days at Al Hamra with a few days at Al Wadi you would have a very interesting – and cheap, with Marriott Rewards points – two centre Middle East holiday.  There is also a more traditional Waldorf Astoria in Ras Al-Khaimah which I reviewed here and which I also recommend if you want to add on a few nights at somewhere ‘buzzier’.

I have booked into Al Hamra on points for a couple of nights in October so, if my plans don’t change, I will be able to check it out first hand.  In the meantime, here are some TripAdvisor reviewsThe hotel website is here.

(EDIT:  I later stayed for three nights at Ritz Carlton Al Hamra Beach – here is my review.)

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards (September 2023)

There are various ways of earning Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.

The official Marriott Bonvoy American Express card comes with 20,000 points for signing up, 2 points for every £1 you spend and 15 elite night credits per year.

You can apply here.

Marriott Bonvoy American Express

20,000 points sign-up bonus and 15 elite night credits each year Read our full review

You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points by converting American Express Membership Rewards points at the rate of 2:3.

Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Marriott Bonvoy Gold status for as long as they hold the card?  It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Radisson Rewards Premium and MeliaRewards Gold status.  We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points indirectly:

and for small business owners:

The conversion rate from American Express to Marriott Bonvoy points is 2:3.

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which can be used to earn Marriott Bonvoy points

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Comments (33)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Boi says:

    Related….What is the best redemption in Dubai for 3 adults and 3 kids? I have SPG and hilton points. Thinking of taking a detour on our way to/from RSA/Mauritius.

    • Rob says:

      The issue is that Dubai has little public beach, so if you want beach then you need a beach hotel irrespective of availability off beach.

      This place takes 5 in a redemption room, but not on the beach (near it).

      • Boi says:

        Thanks Rob,
        I need 2 rooms. and either hilton or marriott/spg. As long as it has plenty to do for kids. Doesnt have to be beach (even though beach will be nice).

        • Rob says:

          Waldorf on The Palm for Hilton, Doubletree as a cheaper alternative. Plenty of SPG and Marriott options but Waldorf is best.

          A taxi to Ras is only £40 if you want the cheaper Waldorf there.

  • ankomonkey says:

    Great news if true 🙂

  • Nabeel says:

    Can you only purchase 30k Starwood points a year ?

  • Nabeel says:

    Also if you redeem spg points 20k onto Marriott points do you still get the 5k bonus ?

  • Brian says:

    So have I got this right? 420,000 Marriott Rewards points gets me 7 nights here plus 120,000 Avios. I can use the Avios to get two return business class flights from Inverness on a BA 241.

  • Jamie says:

    Has 5th night free on SATURDAY G disappeared?! Was going to book in San Fran and it’s not coming up!

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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