Why we like it:
• This is a hotel that has been designed by people who properly understand family life
• Staff are the happiest we’ve experienced in ages
• Breakfast and the beach will be a big hit with the kids
Location: We arrived late at the Hilton Ras Al Khaimah Resort & Spa. Remember that name, because it’s important. This is NOT the Hilton just down the way from the Waldorf in RAK, no matter how much your wife insists it is on the hour-long drive down there. Nor is it the Hilton Double-Tree just around the corner. So, in other words, actually put the full hotel name into the sat-nav and when you arrive, on time, stress-free and not about to kill each other, you will discover an impressive entrance that gives way to a bustling lobby and staff so friendly they should look to do a bit of marriage counselling on the side.
Character: This is a modern, quality hotel with an easy vibe and design touches that are either cute or terrifying, depending on your travelling companions. Make no mistake: some buttons on the OUTSIDE of the bathroom, that draw up the blinds over the window that separates it from the bedroom is a neat touch if you are a couple who want to lovingly gaze at each other while one of you brushes their teeth and the other watches TV in bed. On our visit, however, they became a daily terror, in which our kids in the bedroom would find it hilarious to open up the blinds to reveal one or other of their parents sat on the toilet. This is not a function designed by someone with much in the way of modesty, or children, unlike the rest of the hotel. That aside, the Hilton Ras Al Khaimah Resort & Spa is a fantastic family environment. Many hotels bill themselves as family resorts, but this Hilton really should scream its credentials from the rooftops. Or hire one of those planes with a banner hanging out the back. That’s how accessible and easy it is.
Service: Every member of staff here, from those who greet you at reception, to the hostesses at breakfast, to the lifeguards and the cleaners go out of their way to make you feel welcome. Faultlessly friendly.
Rooms: Rooms here are decently sized if not huge but come armed with generous balconies, and that aforementioned bathroom with the remote-controlled blinds. There aren’t many frills but everything is comfortable. Room service is swift and there’s plenty to choose from.
Restaurants & bars: There are four bars. The Dhow Beach Bar offers a decent drinks list and idyllic sea views, the Dome Lounge is ideal for sundowners, X.O. is an adults-only affair intended for post-dinner mixed drinks and Esprit is its more informal sister joint – all sports on TV and billiards. Restaurants cover Italian, Thai, International, as well as the beach barbecue option of Al Bahar. Breakfast at Maarid, meanwhile, is great – with a good mix of treats for kids and adults. The highlight on our visit, though, was undoubtedly Pura Vida, a Brazilian carnivore’s delight with a long list of cuts of beef, lamb and chicken. Our steak, which was about as thick as Hulk Hogan’s forearm, had a crunchy crust on the outside and was perfectly cooked medium-rare in the middle. Seriously tasty, melt-in-the-mouth stuff.
Facilities: The pool facilities here are brilliant. There is a raised version for adults only, a salt water pool with a swim-up bar, a kids pool with a big watery umbrella-shaped fountain to splash in, as well as a separate pool with a big yellow slide that we couldn’t get the kids out of for most of our three days. They all filter down to a simple, shallow-ledged beach that is perfect for splashing around in, between mocktails from the beach bar.
Activities: Shopping and golf are a five to ten-minute drive from the hotel’s Al Maareedh location, while there are daily packages available for excursions and activities across the emirate. On site there is a spa and beach water sports available, with everything from jet skis to a hireable powered parachute – a Little Nellie from 007 contraption that drives you up the sand and into the air, for a quick scoot out over the ocean. We didn’t have the courage to try it on our visit, but it all looked very exciting from our far more tranquil vantage point at the beachside bar.
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Value: 150 AED
Min Spend: 400 AED
Redemption period: 14.12.2015 - 21.12.2015
Booking/Checkin period: 06.12.2015 - 23.03.2016
Markets: all markets