A Desert Staycation

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A few weeks back I received an email telling me that a significant number of points that I had accrued with a particular hotel group were due to expire in the not too distant future. Of course, not wanting to miss out on the benefits of the points, I scanned the group’s website to see what options might be available, and decided that a 3 night stay at the new Ritz Carlton desert resort in the nearby Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah, would do very nicely for Mrs E and myself.

The Al Wadi desert resort had previously been managed by the Banyan Tree group, but had switched to Ritz Carlton during 2017, therefore had undergone major refurbishment and rebranding prior to its formal re-launch in November of last year.

We arrived after a 90 minute drive from our Dubai apartment, and were greeted by very friendly staff, valet parking, and a most welcome upgrade to our accommodation. The opulent central areas of the resort gave a taste of the high standards we were to enjoy throughout our stay.

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The Al Wadi desert resort covers some 500 hectares, so a fleet of golf cart style buggies are always on hand to ferry guests to and from their accommodation, and other features of the resort. In addition, for those who want to be more self-sufficient, each residence includes access to bicycles.

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After a short buggy ride from the lobby we were introduced to our villa, and right from the first moments, we were both delighted with what we had been allocated. The tent style villa was simply stunning – we have both stayed in hotels and resorts the world over, but we agreed that this was probably the best accommodation that we had ever had the pleasure of staying in.

The spacious villa had a boomerang shape, with the main entrance in the middle, then one side for the lounge and sleeping area, and the other featured the dressing room space, and very luxurious bathroom features.

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The best however, was saved by the excited bell boy until last, as he opened up the blinds and doors to the rear of the villa to reveal expansive decking, sun beds and our own private pool – just wonderful!

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IMG_5997_v2A key feature of the villa was the numerous glass panelled doors – it was emphasised to us that the area around the villa, especially to the rear, was very private. Therefore depending on your preferences, it was possible to have the entire villa completely open to the outside, including bathroom and sleeping areas! Of course, for more modest guests, blinds can be drawn throughout.

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The resort offered an array of (chargeable) desert related activities, including archery, camel and horse riding, falconry and dune bashing, but we abstained from these, choosing to spend most of our time taking advantage of the pool, and the luxury of the accommodation. I did however manage a couple of short bike rides during our stay, and discovered that as the bikes only had single gears, the uphill paths were quite a challenge!

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For most of our meals, we ventured beyond the resort to the local eateries of Ras Al Khaimah, but we did enjoy an excellent steak dinner at the resort’s ‘Farmhouse’ restaurant, under a cool, moonlit sky. To make us feel more at home, we even chose a bottle of Barbera to accompany our meal – a particular favourite of ours when we are visiting our home in Gabiano.

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As might be expected, desert wildlife could be seen in and around the resort, lead not surprisingly by the ever-present camels, but well supported by oryx and gazelles, amongst others.

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All too soon our stay came to a close, and it was time to head back to the hustle and bustle of Dubai. For both of us, in addition to the luxury of our villa, the abiding memory of the Ritz Carlton Al Wadi Desert Resort will be the complete peace and quiet that it offered, it is definitely a place that we would be happy to return to, so much so that we have already spoken about coming back later this year in the Autumn / Winter time – fingers crossed!

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The resort’s website can be found here

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