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After my stay at the DoubleTree by Hilton Marjan Island Resort, I had another two nights at the Hilton Ras al Khaimah Resort and Spa. I stayed here a couple of years earlier, however during the peak Christmas season and in a standard room. I was curious how my experience now would compare.
While the DoubleTree is located in the Al Hamra area between Dubai and Ras al Khaimah, the Hilton Resort is actually in Ras al Khaimah city, half an hour further to the north. After checking out of the DoubleTree, we took a taxi to the Hilton Resort, passing the city centre, corniche and the lagoon. The resort is located in the middle of a residential area. There are next to no eateries, shops or other hotels within walking distance, so if you want to venture outside the resort for a bite you’ll have to take a taxi to a mall or the city centre. Luckily taxi’s in Ras al Khaimah are plentiful and cheap, and the city centre is close by.
A version of this article was first published on InsideFlyer.nl
Note: this stay occurred in early March before any restrictions due to COVID. The hotel has taken measures in line with Hilton’s CleanStay programme, local regulations and standards from the tourism board. Some facilities may temporarily not be available or comparable as described here. Check with the hotel prior to your stay.
Hilton Ras al Khaimah Resort and Spa
The hotel has a large entrance with a driveway to the first floor. At the reception, we were assisted immediately. After handling all the formalities, the receptionist ask us to sit down for a moment to wait for the keys. Eventually this took almost half an hour without an explanation why. In the meantime we were not offered any welcome drink while other guests checking in were.
The receptionist also did not explain which room type received. We booked a standard family room with two beds. Through the Hilton Honors app I saw we were upgraded to a Family Suite, however this only has one bed so that would pose an issue. All in all not the best check-in experience.
The hotel was renovating the main restaurant during my stay. As a result, some hallways were closed which meant quite a detour to our room on the first floor.
Once in the room, it seemed we received an upgrade to a Hilton Suite – a room type seemingly not listed on their website. Right after the entrance there was a small living room with table, couch and two seats.
Straight ahead was the bedroom with two large beds and access to the balcony with view of the garden and sea. There also was a desk here.
The bathroom, accessible through sliding doors, was very spacious with a separate tub, double sinks and a nice walk-in shower.
Then there was a large walk-in closet as well.
All in all, there was plenty of space and the interior of the room was perfectly fine. But, in comparison with the DoubleTree I visited prior, a tad more dated. The room and hallways also smelled quite damp and the aircon was loud.
Something to mention is that the standard rooms at this resort already are quite spacious to begin with. You can check some pictures of my previous stay in a Family Room here (text is in Dutch).
The same afternoon, a welcome amenity was delivered due to our Hilton Gold status. In addition we also received a pair of flip-flops as a gift.
Beach, pool and facilities
While the main building of the hotel is somewhat outdated, and also the common areas could use a refresh, the beach is the absolute highlight of the hotel. Almost a mile of beach stretches in a crescent shape along the property. Due to the large beach, the sunbeds are placed in a spacious setup. You have all the space you want.
As well as the beach, there are multiple pools. The main pool in the garden next to the main building is salt water. Then there is a separate, shallow, pool for kids, a pool near the villas and an adult-only pool. In comparison to the DoubleTree, there were fewer families with younger children. Instead, the resort seemed to be frequented by (older) couples. There was a much quieter atmosphere here.
The hotel also offers a spa.
The main restaurant Maarid was being renovated during my stay and will re-open as The Kitchen. This is the all-day dining restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Temporarily this was served in another restaurant.
In the lobby, the Italian restaurant Piaceri da Gustare and the Dome lounge for (alcoholic) drinks are located. Near the reception is the X.O. bar with live entertainment.
On the beach, the Rio Beach Bar serves bites and drinks and the main pool also has a swim-up poolbar.
Next to the main building, Pura Vida normally offers South-American cuisine including churrasco. There is seating indoors and outdoors. During my stay, the breakfast and dinner was served here in buffet style. The selection and quality were good with all the usual offerings, though not extraordinary. During dinner there were some live cooking stations such as BBQ and pasta.
About half way in the villa area is the Sol Beach Lounge & Bar, right up the beach. It’s a nice spot to spend the evenings and we had dinner here one night. Fresh fish is on display which can be cooked to your liking.
Right at the end of the beach is the Lebanese restaurant Al Maeda. I tried their branch in Dubai on Jumeirah Beach and can definitely recommend this place!
As well as the main building with several room and suite types, the villas on the beach come in different categories as well. I had the opportunity to get a tour of the different villa types, which range from one room to an entire villa with four bedrooms. On the first floor, villas have a balcony while the ones on the ground floor offer direct beach access. The latter are quite exposed to guests walking by and the neighbours, so I’d prefer a room on the first floor. Some villas have their own plunge pool.
The villas have recently been refurbished, and you can definitely see the difference. The interiors are much brighter and contemporary. Both in the bedroom and bathroom, it’s a definite improvement. The villas are also popular with locals and expats for a staycation, as well as tourists.
This stay was made possible by the Ras al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority. The opinions expressed are solely those of the author.