Are We Still In The UAE? This Super Affordable Hotel Is Only One Hour From Dubai
Dubai is FULL of hotels. So why travel an hour outside the city, to Ras Al Khaimah of all places, to visit one on your weekend?
This was exactly the question I asked myself as we drove towards the Hilton Al Hamra Beach & Golf Resort in RAK (**RAC city territory). On arrival, I was surprised to find that the hotel was pleasantly busy, but as the weekend went on I began to see why people make this hotel a staycation destination. Here are a couple of the reasons why...
1. It's good to get out of the city
Away from the crowds and traffic, a genuinely slower pace of life awaits you in RAK. It's only an hour's drive from Dubai, although it felt slightly longer on the way back, as the dreaded Saturday evening blues took over. A taxi each way costs about AED 200, alternatively, you can hire a car for as cheap as AED 120 per day.
2. There are PLENTY of things to do
I'm usually all for exploring a new place, but we genuinely felt no desire to leave the resort. Our afternoons were taken up with eating and drinking, (lucky us) but the best bit? If you're energetic and feeling brave you can totally act like a kid again. Everything from jet skiing, flyboarding (which is basically powerful jets pushing you upwards from the surface of the water) parasailing, tubing, paddle boarding and kayaking are all available at the resorts private beach.
If you're not a water baby, head to the resort's incredibly scenic 18-hole golf course, or perhaps attempt to scale the nearby Hajar mountains; (check out some great trails here) whatever you decide, you certainly won't be bored.
3. The spa is a perfect for those who like a bit of downtime
Quiet, tranquil music greets you as you enter, and while you don one of the spa's fluffy white bathrobes your masseuse discusses the treatment....Bliss. After a minor banana boating injury the day before (totally self-inflicted), I opted for a soft-pressure, full-bodied massage. It was 45 minutes long (not long enough) and I left feeling totally rejuvenated.
4. The service is amazing
A hotel is a hotel, and you generally get what you pay for, which is why you really appreciate when a hotel goes above and beyond for your stay. From the tastefully laid-out Arabic treats and fruit when we arrived, the innovative dessert selection at turndown service, to the incredibly attentive staff, and a seaview room with a quality sunset; (weather dependent of course), you feel confident you're in good hands all weekend long.
5. It's really affordable
So affordable we're thinking of making this a bi-monthly trip. Screw waiting six months for a holiday, why not do a staycation every month or two? (As well as the holiday, obvs.) Scroll down for prices.
6. You won't be stuck for places to eat
We tried Trader Vic's (and of course had a couple of their infamously-lethal Tiki-Tiki Puka Pukas), Scirocco, which despite what the name suggests, is a cosy nook-bar serving up wholesome British grub (we recommend the steak pie) and Le Chalet, where their Friday brunch is hosted. The brunch was great; totally chilled with an entertainer playing some cheesy brunch classics and an attentive staff who don't allow your glass to run dry....Ideal.
The hotel also has an authentic Lebanese and an Arabic/international restaurant.
What will you pay?
Rooms start at only AED 345 per night based on two people sharing. For more info and bookings, take a look at their website.
*Activities are separate