Hotel Review: The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert
Ninety minutes north of Dubai is Ras Al Khaimah Al Wadi Desert from The Ritz-Carlton hotel group, a sanctuary among the dunes. On a recent visit to stay in one of the private tented pool villas, Georgie Bentley-Buckle checks in for a serene stay in the Arabian desert…
Hotel Review: The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah Al Wadi Desert
On the flip side of Dubai’s metropolis, a stay at Al Khaimah Al Wadi Desert hotel will bring you up close and personal with the natural landscape, its wildlife and the Bedouin culture. Spread across the hotel’s 500-hectare private nature reserve, 100 of the luxury tented villas each reflect an ornate Bedouin design. This includes Arabian interiors, plush furnishings and neutral, earthy tones, blended thoughtfully with the arid landscape.
The widespread resort stretches generously across the private estate, inviting guests to cycle or buggy to the restaurants, pool, spa or the ornate lobby, which is centred around an ancient olive tree to a bougainvillaea backdrop. Aside from the company of the reserve’s local camels, their entourage of goats, long-horned antelope, and many birds, Al Khaimah Al Wadi Desert is a private place; it’s ideal for couples and family groups looking to keep a low profile.
Discover desert living at your own pace at Al Khaimah Al Wadi Desert. With falconry being the Middle East’s most popular sport, interactive shows led by the desert eagle owl, barn owl and Harris hawk highlight the importance of its role in Bedouin culture. Archery, fishing, desert biking, horse riding, stargazing and camel rides at sunset (or under the full moon) also make use of the nature reserve’s land.
Explore beyond the novelty of your private pool (whilst importantly remaining cool) at the hotel’s Oasis Pool & Bar. On the perimeter of the interlaced resort, this real-life mirage replicates a beach club hidden unknowingly in the desert – ideal for those looking to spend time outside their villa and in the alfresco lounge areas, swim-up pool bar and jacuzzi.
Found within the walls of the spa, Al Khaimah Al Wadi Desert also has a rainforest. With local herbs and healing traditions, European hydro thermals are blended with Middle Eastern bathing rituals. A refreshing change, this leads spa-goers along a mapped route of 16 stations, one being an ice igloo to cool the body, and ultimately relax the mind. Treatments that take place in one of the spa’s ‘pavilions’ include signature rituals, facials, massages and body therapies.
The majority of the food and drink at Al Khaimah Al Wadi Desert is inspired by an Arabic way of life. From bespoke Bedouin-style ‘destination dining’ in the desert, as the local people have for centuries, to the on-site bars and restaurants, like Kaheela where breakfast is served with its menu of Indian and Middle Eastern dishes. Or, for a taste of the Moroccan coast and its Mediterranean ties, there’s Moorish, a restaurant dressed in lanterns and the glittering sequins of belly dancers with a menu of tagine, koftas and tabbouleh.
For a familiar touch of European style dining, with homegrown vegetables and wild meats, try Farmhouse, one of the hotel’s most popular restaurants. A widespread dining space split across two floors, including a whisky and cigar lounge, meat and fish dishes can be selected from the smokehouse or josper grill. For a pre-dinner aperitif as the cooler evening draws in, you can also step up to Moon Bar on the rooftop. With views over the treetops, the picturesque bar serves a selection from tapas to shisha to be enjoyed after a day in the desert.
Villas are available to be reserved on B&B, half board and full board basis. ritzcarlton.com
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