Tuesday, October 29, 2013

HOTEL REVIEW: Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah

Posted at  12:47 AM  |  in  Ras Al Khaimah

Junior Suite at Waldorf Astoria RAK (Image supplied)
Hotel connoisseurs are spoilt for choice in the United Arab Emirates, with luxurious five-star resorts on offer throughout the country. While the competition to attract high-spending customers has never been stronger, the brand new Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah needn’t be concerned.

Since opening its doors in August 2013, the lavish hotel has been luring a massive number of guests from across the world. And after our recent weekend stay, we totally understand why people are arriving in their droves.

Within minutes of arriving at the Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah, we knew our stay would be a special one. The property has been designed to reflect the opulent features of an Arabian palace and the exteriors are truly stunning, especially in the evening.

The ‘wow factor’ continues inside too, with two of Waldorf Astoria’s signature features instantly catching your attention. The first, a grand lobby clock, has been inspired by the legendary Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York, although the design has been localised to honour regional Arab culture (it includes the five daily prayer times, which is a nice touch). The second feature is Peacock Alley, located across the ground floor and mezzanine levels, which reflects the grand social promenade that connected the original Waldorf and Astoria hotels in New York. Both are great backdrops for your holiday snaps!

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The hotel boosts a number of other features to keep guests entertained, such as a 350-metre private beach, two outdoor temperature-controlled swimming pools, an 18-hole championship golf course, four signature restaurants, six exclusive dining and entertainment venues, a children's club, fitness centre and state-of-the-art spa.

Peacock Alley at Waldorf Astoria RAK (Image Supplied)
The hotel's stunning Peacock Alley covers two floors 
Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah offers 346 deluxe rooms and suites, ranging from the lower-end (but still impressive) King and Queen Classic Rooms, measuring at least 56 square metres, all the way through to the King Imperial Suite (a massive 422 square-metre duplex that stands alone over two entire floors with its own private internal staircase, a VIP elevator and direct private spa access). The price-range for these rooms might be above average for Ras Al Khaimah (or the UAE in general), but given the overall quality on offer, we imagine the cost will be acceptable to the target market.

Regardless of which room is selected, you’ll also receive what is termed ‘the true Waldorf experience’. Based on service principles introduced at Waldorf Astoria New York, a personal concierge is assigned to each qualified guest and acts as their primary contact before, during and even after a stay. Exclusively available through direct bookings with the hotel, the personal concierge covers all guest needs from greeting on arrival to arranging any special occasion details. It's a great touch that reflects the brand’s efforts to provide an unforgettable experience.

The grand lobby clock at Waldorf Astoria RAK (Image Supplied)
The grand lobby clock honours regional Arab culture 
However, we do have a word of warning. During our stay, we were initially booked into a room on the far end of Waldorf Astoria RAK, where the hotel joins the neighbouring Al Hamra Palace Beach Resort. During the night, Al Hamra Palace Beach Resort has some rather loud outdoor parties, the noise from which travelled right into our room, making it impossible to sleep.

This was perhaps our only grievance during the stay and after complaining, we were moved to the other side of the hotel, where we finally got a peaceful night’s sleep. Apparently these parties are frequent during the weekend, so avoid getting a room on this side of the hotel, if possible. It could ruin your stay!

Aside from that, we definitely recommend the Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah. As the first Waldorf Astoria property to open in the UAE, it's a stunning addition to the local hotel community. After enjoying our two-night stay, we cannot wait to visit again! 

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