Why we like it:
• The food! Every restaurant is exceptional
• A visit to the spa is an indulgent treat
• The view of the coastline from your balcony – try it, you’ll see
Location: On the coast of RAK, the Waldorf Astoria is a real landmark. It towers above the rest of the sparsely populated skyline, but doesn’t seem out of place. It’s a short drive from Dubai, less than an hour in good traffic, and once you’re out of the emirate and on the way to RAK you can feel the stresses of the city blowing away just as the orange sand of the desert blows over the surface of the road.
Character: The hotel retains the sense of grandeur that its New York forefather is renowned for, but blends it with plenty of Arabian touches. Most impressively, as you enter the lobby you’ll see a stunning clock, with the workings bare and set to announce the five daily calls to prayer. It is a work of engineering art. It’s set at one end of the hotel chain’s famous Peacock Alley, another grand piece of interior design.
Service: As with most places in the UAE, standards are high. When it comes to somewhere as stylish as the Waldorf Astoria, expectations are raised again, and the staff don’t disappoint.
Rooms: Whether you’re looking over the Arabian Gulf or the Hajar Mountains you’ll have an impressive view. We have to admit we prefer the sea-view rooms because when we sat on the balcony and watched the sun set on the horizon it was one of the most beautiful sights we’ve witnessed in the UAE. Rooms all come with a separate shower and bath, butler service, a mini bar and excellent TV and music systems, as well as Wi-Fi. Suites come with separate seating areas and some come with a dressing room (complete with mannequin). Bathrooms are extremely spacious and the toiletries are excellent.
Restaurants & bars: Three of the hotel’s highest points come here – UMI, Lexington Grill and Marjan. The latter is an attractive Arabic restaurant. Dishes are kept relatively simple but are bursting with flavour and we recommend asking the waiter for advice because when we visited every suggestion was spot on. The trio of hummus was particularly good. UMI is a classy Japanese restaurant, where the sushi and sashimi were fresh and pretty and the salon teriyaki was knockout. Lexington Grill is the hotel’s steakhouse, and does it extremely well. There is also a pool bar and an all-day dining restaurant, as well as the Cigar Bar and 17Squared bar and nightclub, which is very bling.
Facilities: There’s a great children’s club, with a nursery and outside play area, which will keep youngsters occupied. The gym is excellent and the spa is super. Once you step into the spa everything about it is relaxing: the sounds, the smells, the welcome drinks and the cold towels. We tried a couple’s massage, which was extremely good, but the experience was topped off by being left in the couple’s room to enjoy the steam room and Jacuzzi once the treatment was over. An extremely chilled and pampered Time Out emerged from that room.
Activities: The hotel has a golf course, which is a pretty impressive start. There are also water sports including scuba diving deep-sea fishing, and tennis available. The hotel can arrange tours of RAK itself, including a desert safari and trips to the Iceland water park. Back in the grounds there is a brilliant pool and the beach is a beautiful spot, with fantastic blue waters.
GET A DISCOUNT WITH HOTEL TONIGHT
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