Why The Ritz-Carlton Al Hamra Beach in Ras Al Khaimah is an exceptional Marriott Rewards redemption (Part 2)

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This is Part 2 of my review of The Ritz-Carlton Al Hamra Beach Ras Al Khaimah hotel resort.  You can find Part 1 of our Al Hamra Beach review here.

The next picture shows the view from our villa looking right.  As the resort is L-shaped the villas are curving around you.  You are a fair way from the sea here but some other villas (we were in No 8) are closer.

When you look at this picture, remember that it was taken during the busiest period of the year for Middle East tourism.  Any public beach would be heaving.  And there is no-one – literally no-one – in shot here.

(At 100% capacity, the resort will have 64 guests plus a few children.  There is probably half a mile of beach.)

Ritz Carlton Al Hamra Beach Ras Al Khaimah review

If you choose the slightly more expensive, ultra private Al Naseem villas this is what you get.  There is a fence at the bottom of the ‘garden’ and, for even greater privacy, they do not open onto the beach so it is unlikely that anyone will walk past.  I wasn’t convinced.

The tall building in this picture is the Waldorf Astoria.

Ritz Carlton Al Hamra Beach Ras Al Khaimah review

Here is the spa, with an adjacent fitness centre, which has a great position overlooking the gulf:

Ritz Carlton Al Hamra Beach Ras Al Khaimah review

This picture was taken from the front of our villa (street side, not beach side) where there is a water inlet:

Ritz Carlton Al Hamra Beach Ras Al Khaimah review

Turn in the other direction and you can clearly see that you are not in a remote area:

Ritz Carlton Al Hamra Beach Ras Al Khaimah review

Shore House

With only 32 villas, the resort only has one restaurant, Shore House.  I was told that many people choose to eat in their villas via room service and I doubt the restaurant is very busy.

Breakfast is served here.  You won’t get it for free on a redemption irrespective of your Marriott Rewards status (there is no breakfast benefit at The Ritz-Carlton) and it costs Dhs 140 for adults with children half-price.  This includes a variety of egg dishes from a menu as well as an extensive – for a 32-room property – buffet.

Ritz Carlton Al Hamra Beach Ras Al Khaimah review

On the Shore House terrace is a bar, a dining and lounging area ….

Ritz Carlton Al Hamra Beach Ras Al Khaimah review

…. and:

Ritz Carlton Al Hamra Beach Ras Al Khaimah review

…. and a large shared pool.  You can see that the sea is a lot closer at this point than it was outside our villa.

Ritz Carlton Al Hamra Beach Ras Al Khaimah review

We had one lunch on the terrace one day (I had an excellent piece of salmon, the children ate from the very cheap kids menu) and lunch on our patio the next day.  We went up to the mall to eat on both evenings for a change of scene.

Conclusion

The Ritz-Carlton Al Hamra Beach is, as you can see, something very different from your usual beach hotel.  At 60,000 Marriott Rewards points per night – for an £800 villa at peak season, ie now – it is exceptional value as a redemption.

The Ritz-Carlton inherited the resort from Banyan Tree a couple of years ago and made numerous changes and improvements.  Everything is of the highest quality.  Toiletries are Asprey, for example, and all of the furniture appeared new.  The mini-bar is high end but, of course, you pay for it if you use it.  There is a free Nespresso machine too.  The staff were great and did a good job of remembering not only my name but also the names of my children.

If I’m honest, the resort is better for couples than for families.  Two full days (three nights) was enough for my kids, even with a private pool at their disposal.  I can imagine that you could have a very pleasant time here with just your partner, and it is a world away from the family-focused chaos of many Middle Eastern resorts, even luxury ones.

3-4 nights is potentially enough for a couple, although if you are redeeming remember that Marriott Rewards offers ‘five for four’ so it makes sense to book five nights rather than four.  You’d probably get bored of the one restaurant but it is a modest stroll down to the Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah where there is plenty of choice.

I would be tempted to come here either for a long weekend or as part of a broader Middle East holiday, perhaps mixed in with a mountain retreat in Oman next door.

If you fancy a secluded retreat in a beautiful villa with your own private pool (and virtually your own private beach) then I do recommend The Ritz-Carlton Al Hamra Beach.  It isn’t as remote as it seems but, sitting on your villa patio, you cannot see anything except the beach and the water and you can easily imagine you’re on your own private island.

The Ritz-Carlton Al Hamra Beach website is here if you want to find out more.

(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.)

Why The Ritz-Carlton Al Hamra Beach in Ras Al Khaimah is an exceptional Marriott Rewards redemption (Part 1)
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Comments

  1. Peter K says:

    Maybe it’s me, but the thought of this place leaves me cold. It seems to have no personality.

    • That is possibly the point. This is somewhere for you, potentially with someone special, to totally disconnect from everything else for a few days. Not everyone is capable of that – I’m not.

    • Not just the thought – the pictures give a sterile impression. It looks dead and lifeless, and I’m not really talking about the lack of people. Certainly doesn’t make me change my opinion of the Middle East as a holiday destination.

  2. Stephen E says:

    We stayed next door at the Hilton in October 2017 and I went jogging through the hotel whilst it was being refurbished. The villas looked nice but the beach suffers from the same problem as the Hilton – the sand is terrible! Since the google maps imagery, the beach has been extended out to be much wider and they’ve done this by trawling up the sea bottom and grinding up anything and everything. The result is a white dusty mess with sharp broken shells mixed in. Not nice, painful to walk on, nasty to play with, dusty to lie on or near and my 3 year old hated it. Otherwise we really liked the area, but we longed to be on the beautiful sands of… Bournemouth beach… I’m at a loss as to why the resorts didn’t simply redirect some of the surplus and beautiful natural sand from the dumper trucks that are widening the road interchange just a mile away from the resort!

    • Stephen E says:

      When I say “we really liked the area” I should say it was clean, quiet, accessible, practical and sunny. It was pleasant to have morning jogs around the gold course, the local mall provided useful conveniences and practical shopping for families and some entertainment for young children inside on the days when it got too hot. It was also bland, soulless, over an hour from Dubai, and the scuba diving is terrible (the local dive shop is also best avoided). There is no cultural activity to speak of. But a trip to the sand dunes by 4×4 is worthwhile for those who travel well.

      For 10 days of winter sun with a young family, the Hilton next door was good value (a fraction of the price of this) and all it needed was some better sand.

  3. Any recommendations for a family friendly option in Dubai (2 kids <7 years)? I have points in most of the big hotel schemes

    • Waldorf is the only decent big brand beach option. Jumeirah has stitched up the best beach locations – and to be fair are outstandingly good.

      Big more choice in Abu Dhabi eg St Regis on Saadiyaat.

      • New Card says:

        StR Saadiyat is lovely.

      • what about ritz carlton Dubai? anyone got thoughts on this place? am considering a stay.

        • Superb. Have stayed there 3 or 4 times with wife and our 2 sub 6 yr old kids. We tried the Waldorf one year but while it is a good hotel, it is v secluded at the end of the Palm…. RC has great restaurants and location is ideal – you can walk to The Walk at JBR which has plenty of options in the evening. We had a club room which was useful for brekky and snacks during the day and drinks before dinner, though I think its no-kids after 6pm ish. I think we got free HB when we booked which was very good and could be used at most restaurants. Highly recommend it.

        • thanks simon, your thoughts much appreciated, have similar age kids so very pertinent.

          cheers

        • Not stayed there, but went there for dinner at the Amaseena restaurant last week outside it was superb. Reception and staff were great.

        • Thomas Tuyaerts says:

          Defo give RC a go, lovely kids pool area, plenty of space to play with kids, spot on breakfast lunch pre dinner drinks. Its small and the beach is great.

        • Definitely agree with the other comments. RC is my number one choice in Dubai, mainly because of the location. JBR/the Walk is right outside and there are a number of restaurants within walking distance. Makes a nice change from other hotels where you need to take taxis everywhere. The service is excellent and there are quite a few pools to choose from so it doesn’t feel too crowded.

          I am booked to go Dubai in January and staying at RC for 5 nights. I have also booked 3 nights at the One and Only Royal Mirage as never been there before (travelling with wife and kid). Has anyone tried it before and if so what are your thoughts? Was going to spend the whole time at RC but thought I would try and mix it up this time

          • The O&O in the Palm is generally seen as the best one. My one visit to Royal Mirage for lunch was underwhelming but when you come from Madinat next door with its canal, souk, outstanding restaurants etc it all pales a bit. That said, I would not do Madinat for 3 nights as you’re unlikely to find your way around before you have to leave ….

    • Sussex Bantam says:

      We stayed in the Double Tree a couple of years ago and it was lovely. There were some building works nearby but it wasn’t at all intrusive for us.

    • The Westin Mina Seyahi has rooms that accommodate families at the standard points rates and is a great all round hotel, if not the height of luxury. It shares its beach and facilities with the Le Meridien next door.
      The Jumeirah properties have been faultless in our experience.

    • Nick Burch says:

      The fairly old Sheraton Jumeirah Beach could be worth a look. In decent shape, and because of when it was built, has huge huge grounds and beach for the size of the hotel (it’s tiny compared to all those around). Cash prices were very good when we stayed there. It’s at one end of JBR, so you’re just a few minutes walk from all the shops / restaurants etc, and not too far away from the mall. Won’t win any luxury hotel awards, but for a chain at decent value with a big beach / big pool / lots of loungers it can be good!

  4. Mark1980 says:

    Anyone any experience with the Hilton Doubletree resort & Spa Marjan Island? Obviously at a lower price point than many options but my kids would love the on site splash park…

    • Mr(s) Entitled says:

      Stayed here in 2016. Nice hotel, lots of pools for the kids, splash zone is good (probably best 7 and under), always space on the beach, often space at the pools but not always on the first row of loungers, buffet style restaurant was good, room big enough for four (2 adults, 2 kids).

      If Diamond you can get a cabana reserved for the duration of your stay. That is a godsend because it means that you always have shade and a space by the pool.

      We were there seven days and really there isnt much to do. At the end it became a bit like groundhog day. Not the hotel’s fault, but while I would return 5 nights would be the limit.

      • Mark1980 says:

        Thanks Mrs E – much appreciated. Was thinking of doing 5 nights and another 2 or 3 in Dubai. I’m diamond so the cabana sounds ideal – did you reserve that in advance or when you got there? Thanks, mark

        • Mr(s) Entitled says:

          Reserved it when we got there because we were not aware of it as a perk until told by the concierge on day 2. If I was you I would email the hotel in advance to try and secure one at the main pool.

  5. Many thanks for this review. I was looking forward to it and hoping you would review it soon. I’m planning a 6 night trip to Dubai (2 nights here and 4 at the PH). I know you mentioned 3 was a good amount for your kids. Do you recommend 3 instead of 2 nights? I’m looking for a secluded get away to relax and unwind from the busy city. Also, do you recommend this over the other property? Do you think to will do a review comparing the two? I’m debating between the two. Probably going to book this one. No kids. It will be a couple trip. Do you have any recommendations for other similar properties with private villas at 60k for Marriott? I tried looking, but these two look to be the best redemption wise. Thank you in advance for your help.

    • 2 nights would be OK if you were there at 2pm to check-in. Bit pointless if you’re flying from the UK and don’t arrive until midnight on Day 1. I personally preferred this to the desert one but it really depends on, frankly, whether you want a desert or beach. You can drive between the two in 15 minutes and there is a free shuttle once a day so if you want to do, say, horseriding at Al Wadi you can wherever you stay.

      • Lady London says:

        I don’t know if I was just lucky or if I had a sudden charm boost after a long and tiring flight, but I managed to negotiate a 12 midnight checkoutwhen checking in with a decent Dubai hotel, when I reached the hotel from the flight for my first night of my 2 night stay at 1.30am. I asked nicely and no extra charge was applied.

        I’m not normally known for blagging things so perhaps it could be worth your while approaching the hotel and seeing what’s possible?

      • Thank you Rob for your response! Just wanted to give you an update. I booked my two nights at Al Hamra Beach. My flight is arriving very early from NYC (730am or so) so I think I will have a good amount of time there. I understand I will probably have to sit and wait around before they let me check in, but that’s okay. Thank you for the tip regarding the free shuttle. That is helpful! I haven’t booked my Dubai hotel yet, but probably planning to stay at the PH for the rest of the my trip. Also, just read your review of the HP in Dubai. I didn’t know they have one there. The HP looks very nice!

  6. Nabeel P says:

    Good review Rob thanks for all your pointers as am scheduled to spend just 1 night here during my 5 night stay in the Emirates.Am going with my partner and my 2 kids both aged 5 and under so you mentioned to contact the hotel directly with ourselves request to accommodate us all ?

    • The Marriott website won’t accept your booking so you will need to go direct – or, if using points, get permission in advance from the hotel and then do a booking for just 3 on the website.

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