Escape the city at this family-friendly beachfront retreat.
The Northern Emirates have seen an influx of visitors since the early days of the pandemic. While borders remain closed for many countries, the staycation market in the UAE has seen an increase, with residents looking to indulge in some much-needed downtime, albeit a little closer to home.
Driving up a winding driveway flanked by slender palm trees, we feel as though we’ve left the city from the moment we enter into the picturesque grounds of the Hilton Ras Al Khaimah Beach Resort. Pink bougainvillaea in full bloom adds bursts of colour to the expansive resort’s sandy facade, built to resemble traditional Arabic architecture.
The Hilton Ras Al Khaimah Beach Resort lies within the city’s confines but is built upon a prime stretch of private beachfront. Hemmed in by the Hajar mountains on one side and the turquoise waters of the Arabian Gulf on the other, the five-star resort represents a good option for those looking to flop on the beach for a day or two.
Passing through the sliding doors and into the lobby, we’re startled but just how busy it is. Following an efficient valet service, long socially distanced queues form at the six check-in desks, and while it’s not quite the relaxing arrival we had in mind, the team are friendly and have us on our way to the room as quickly as they can.
The property features a range of 475 rooms, suites and villas designed to suit various budgets and requirements. Ranging from the simply furnished guest rooms in the main hotel building through to a Royal Suite with its private steam room, sauna and Turkish Hammam. During our stay, we check-into Deluxe Suite Villa with beach access, which is well-sized as 66 sqm and offers complimentary WiFi, a separate living area and a sofa bed, making it the ideal choice for families.
The Suite Villas are set apart from the main hotel building, evenly spaced along the shoreline’s curvature and accessed via a short walk or complimentary buggy service. Much like the Maldives, the idea of privatised villa accommodation is very appealing in light of the pandemic, and the notion of having your own indoor and outdoor space would surely account for the hotel’s high weekend occupancy. The low-level villas are complemented by arid landscaping that features desert plants and winding passageways that lead through verdant foliage and down towards the ocean.
These newly refurbished Suite Villas are simply furnished in a contemporary style with Arabian touches present in the canopied bed. The bathrooms boast a double vanity and separate bathtub and rainfall shower – ideal for washing away the sand after a day at the beach.
Tech-savvy guests will appreciate the mod-cons, with two flat-screen televisions, ample plug sockets, and USB chargers to ensure your phone battery will stay fully charged. It’s for the best, considering the Insta-worthy terrace that leads directly onto the beach. There’s also a small patio with garden furniture and a comfortable daybed, making for the ideal vantage point for watching the sunset or for your morning cup of coffee. Stepping off the tiled patio, we find our toes in the sand within moments, with a large crescent of sand forming a protective bay of shallow waters that is perfect for the little ones.
Sun, Sand & Sea:
As a beach resort, the hotel affords guests plenty of outside space to indulge in sun-worshipping. Aside from the considerable swathe of sand directly accessed from the Villa Suites, the hotel has six swimming pools that include adults only, family and saltwater options. The elongated central pool close to the Sunset Bar is where you’ll get the best shots for the Gram, while the shaded kid’s pool nestled at the back of the resort is the quietest and more secluded spot. While the resort caters to various guests, there is a strong focus on families, and little ones will enjoy Tree House, the fully supervised kids club that offers an indoor play area, outdoor playground, swimming pool, and a water slide. The Hide is where you’ll find video games, karaoke, and even a nail bar for teenagers! While water sports and henna are available at the beachfront for an additional charge.
With the children kept busy, adults can relax at the Spa and enjoy blissful relaxation and pampering with a choice of revitalising body massages, facials and wellness treatments. Ten bars, restaurants and lounges are at guests disposal, whether it’s playing billiards at X.O. Bar, sipping on cocktails poolside at SOL Beach Lounge and Bar, or relishing the moment at Deck Bar situated at the adults-only pool, Hilton Ras Al Khaimah Beach Resort has you covered.
When it comes to eating, there is something for everyone. Tuck into the Latin and Caribbean cuisine at Pura Vida, combining sugar-cane based drinks with Brazilian churrasco and a Reggaeton soundtrack for a lively evening under the stars. For something more refined, Piaceri Da Gustare offers an a la carte Italian menu paired with grape. Highlights include the Carpaccio di Manzo, Burrata, Walnut Ravioli and a selection of crisp pizzas with a range of artisanal toppings.
There’s also Marhaba for an authentic local experience and all-day-dining restaurant The Kitchen, which caters en mass to guests on full and half board packages via an expansive buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
While it would be easy to hide away in the resort’s confines during a stay at Hilton Ras Al Khaimah Beach Resort, there is plenty to explore nearby. Shop until your drop at Manar Mall, RAK Mall or Al Hamra Mall, play a round of Golf at Tower Links Golf Club or visit the UAE’s highest peak at Jebel Jais and ride the world’s longest zipline.
Ras Al Khaimah, which means ‘top of the tent’ in Arabic, has become a staycation hub in recent months. With its mountainous topography and isolated natural beach, this private beach resort feels a world away from frantic Dubai. Visit mid-week for complete privacy and seclusion, or on the weekend for a little bit of fun in the sun.
Throughout March, the resort invites guests to “RAK IT UP” with a staycation deal inclusive of all beverages, a King Room within the main hotel complex and breakfast for two adults. Additionally, all kids under 14 will be entitled to a free stay and breakfast with this offer. AED 1,650 (two-night stay) or AED 1,995 (three-night stay).