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.
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.
Here is the spa, with an adjacent fitness centre, which has a great position overlooking the gulf:
This picture was taken from the front of our villa (street side, not beach side) where there is a water inlet:
Turn in the other direction and you can clearly see that you are not in a remote area:
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.
On the Shore House terrace is a bar, a dining and lounging area ….
…. and a large shared pool. You can see that the sea is a lot closer at this point than it was outside our villa.
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.
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.
How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards (October 2022)
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.
EDIT: Until 8th November 2022, the sign-up bonus on the Marriott Bonvoy American Express card is doubled to 40,000 points!
You can apply here.
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 Gold and MeliaRewards Gold status. We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.
EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.
You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points indirectly:
- American Express Gold (20,000 bonus Amex points)
- American Express Rewards Credit Card (10,000 bonus Amex points)
and for small business owners:
- American Express Business Gold (20,000 bonus Amex points)
- American Express Business Platinum (40,000 bonus Amex points)
The conversion rate from American Express to Marriott Bonvoy points is 2:3.
(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.)