It opened its doors in Ras Al Khaimah in August 2013 as the first luxury Hilton brand and is the second youngest of six Hilton properties on this emirate; Double Tree Marjan Island opened shortly after. The Waldorf Astoria property is managed by Hilton, but owned by Sheikh Saud bin Saqr al Qasimi, ruler of Ras Al Khaimah.
WHAT’S IT LIKE?
The palatial lobby with high domed ceilings is dressed in blue, gold and colours of the dune. True to the signature style of the Waldorf Astoria brand, this one also has a clock – a tower in stainless steel, brass polish and gold plating – that welcomes you into the lobby. Around it is a sofa seating with coffee tables. Straight ahead is the reception behind which is a frame with hand-stitched sequins on turquoise silk. It resonates the emirate’s relationship with the sea. To the left of the reception, there are luxury boutiques, one of which is rented out by the largest diamond brand on the emirate. Walk towards the right, past a waiting area, and into the Peacock Alley lounge. A magnificent fountain is surrounded by another set of sofas and chairs. Its purpose is to create white noise such that the table next to yours can’t hear your conversation.
WHERE IS IT?
It is in Al Hamra Village, about a 60-minute drive from Dubai International Airport with traffic and 45 minutes otherwise.
Room sizes start from 56 sqm. A balcony, walk-in closet with a luggage rack, minibar, kettle, espresso machine, free water bottles, MP3 player, work desk, marble bathroom with a separate tub and rain shower, and Ferragamo toiletries are common across all rooms and suites.
The work desk in the living room of my King Junior suite, which has a clear view of the property’s pools, the beach and the sea, is unconventional. Oval-shaped and drawer-less,
it is placed (not adjacent to any wall but as an island) beside a cabinet that holds the minibar and sockets to plug in gadgets, as well as basic utilities such as paper and pencil. The suite comes with an open-plan living room that also has a sofa for two and a coffee table.
The bed is cosy with soft pillows and a mattress. There is enough lighting to brighten the room’s turquoise, white and beige décor in the evenings. Unfortunately wifi is weak and disappeared at random when I was on my bed.
Wifi is available at AED 50/₹910 per day and is free for HHonors members. However, wifi is free for everyone in all common areas of the property, and requires no password to connect.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS
Lexington Grill is an American steak house, famous for its air- dried beef cuts; Marjan serves Middle Eastern cuisine; Qasr al Bahar is where the breakfast buffet is served; Peacock Alley serves coffee, tea and snacks; UMI is a trendy Japanese restaurant; Camelia has over 150 varieties of teas; 17Squared has an exclusive Champagne menu apart from its selection of spirits and liqueurs; Azure is the poolside restaurant and bar; Al Fayrouz is another poolside restaurant.
The first floor of the hotel holds all the indoor event spaces. During the day they receive plenty of natural light and have a view of the sea: Luuli (79 sqm), Fadda (83 sqm), Gewaher (81 sqm), Ruby (98 sqm), and Al Hamra (67 sqm). The business centre has two PCs and two Mac computers, a photocopier, scanner, printer and free wifi (open 9am-6pm). A function lawn, the beach and gardens of the property, all of them can be set up for an event, as per requirement and number of guests.
There is a family pool, an adults only pool and cabanas on the beach. The spa is open from 9am-9pm and has aroma steam, sauna, herbal bath, ice chute, and 13 treatment rooms. It uses Voya, organic seaweed products, and QMS Medicosmetics. The gym is open round the clock with a personal trainer available all 24-hours. There is also a tennis court and a 24-hour library on the property. VERDICT It is a luxurious property in all aspects. Despite the property being busy with almost full occupancy, I received prompt service from the hotel staff. Designed keeping the leisure traveller in mind, it caters to the needs of a business traveller too in style.
It is a luxurious property in all aspects. Despite the property being busy with almost full occupancy, I received prompt service from the hotel staff. Designed keeping the leisure traveller in mind, it caters to the needs of a business traveller too in style.
HOW MANY ROOMS?
348 rooms and suites.
Working at the large desk while enjoying the sea view, and sampling sake at UMI.
Internet rates for a midweek stay in November started from AED 975/₹17,722.
Vienna Street, Ras Al Khaimah; tel: +971 7 2035555; waldorfastoria.com