The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert Review

Published on: Feb 17, 2021
Alyce Gibson
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Set in a desert landscape and truly off the beaten path, The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert is a destination for those seeking refuge from the hum of traffic in the big cities or busy beaches. Established within a nature reserve and surrounded by rolling sand dunes, this resort offers respite in the desert without compromising on luxury. 

See the stars as you've never seen them before completely untouched by light pollution, make note of the wild oryx and gazelle strolling by as you tuck into freshly prepared dishes at the on-site restaurants or seek adventure with the many experiences available in between cooling off in your villa's private pool. Ritz-Carlton has created something amazing here and you feel the tranquillity instantly – from the moment you step inside the serene lobby lounge that combines tradition with refinement and where an ancient olive tree takes centre stage.

Have we piqued your interest? Then learn more as with our full review below...

Why we recommend The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert – There's something for everyone

"The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert is definitely a hotel with a natural wow-factor, offering a real insight into the Bedouin lifestyle. The experiences for children are superb and discerning adults will appreciate the pampering facilities like the luxury spa and a concierge who can arrange bespoke activities based on your interests. The desert isn’t just bland and desolate, and this is the place to enjoy it in style."

Best for… Nature lovers

Nature lovers aren’t normally drawn to Dubai or lesser-known neighbouring emirate, Ras Al Khaimah, but beyond the magnificent ever-expanding metropolis, you’ll find endless desert that provides an excitement all of its own. 

While the Dubai desert may lack vibrant flora (common trees include sidr and ghaf) it has outstanding indigenous wildlife and this is a great place to spot them in their natural environment, via nature trails and guided walks. Keep your eyes peeled for foxes, gerbils, desert hedgehogs, geckos and a range of colourful birds out there – who would have thought it? 

Where is The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert located? 

If you're flying into Dubai International Airport, you'll find this remote resort located just an hour away by car. From Ras Al Khaimah International Airport, the resort can be reached in just 20 minutes.  

After exiting the busy 6-lane highway out of the city, the only signpost on the road to The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert is a triangular sign warning drivers to slow down in case of a wandering deer or camel. The word “Al Wadi” means valley, and in this case, refers to the desert nature reserve of around 1,200 acres which provides a perfect contrast to the faster-paced-glitzy-beach-scene you leave behind.

Attractions near The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert

  • Plan a day trip to Dubai - If you're planning a stay in this resort but have never experienced the wonders of Dubai then a day trip is a must. The city can be reached in an hour and here you can do everything from looking out over the skyscrapers and the metropolitan landscape from 555 metres high in the Burj Khalifa to shopping 'til you drop in Dubai Mall. 
  • Seek thrills at Jebel Jais - Home to the world's longest zipline – an incredible 1.7 miles – you can travel at eye-watering speeds over the mountain landscape, try your hand at mountain climbing or stop off at the viewing deck for spectacular views out over Ras Al Khaimah. Learn more Adrenaline fuelled fun at Jebel Jais.
  • Dreamland Aqua Park - Cool off and spend a day at this thrilling waterpark boasting high-speed slides as well as raft rides that the whole family will love. We're big fans of the Dead Sea pool, with its high salt content that lets you simply float and relax in the sun. 

Rooms and accommodation 

Each room is an individual villa. As it’s the Ritz-Carlton, everything is particularly sumptuous and comes complete with your own private pool (a godsend in the heat). For those looking for a real treat, the Al Sahari Tented Pool Villa is undeniably stunning and you'll receive a range of wellness treatments as part of your stay including a 30-minute head and shoulder massage and a 60-minute hydrotherapy experience. We love the freestanding soaking tub, ideal for easing your muscles after a day of adventure around the resort. 

What to do & where to eat at The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert 

As well as your private pool and luxe room, there's plenty to see and do around the resort. Here, we've rounded up just some of the best activities to take part in during your stay. 

Meet the birds at Falcon Point 

Stop by the owl talk and falconry show at the aptly named Falcon Point. This is a wonderful interactive experience that offers the chance to see, learn about and even get to handle some of the birds of prey that are fortunate to call the Al Wadi Desert their home. There are usually four impressive birds to view and you may get to observe a falcon and an owl in flight. There's even the opportunity to hold one of the birds (after donning a thick glove and following expert guidance from the handler) – a real moment to savour!

Eat dinner at the Farmhouse restaurant

This farm-to-fork style eatery has its own smokehouse with a focus on serving up only the very best cuts of meat – you can choose your cut from those displayed on racks inside the restaurant – alongside homegrown produce. Be sure to sit outdoors with a view of the watering hole where deer and oryx stop by to drink and stay until sunset, with shisha and after-dinner drinks available. 

Hire a bike to explore more of the resort 

There are bikes and cycle paths around the resort, making it relatively easy to access some of the best viewpoints and activities, here's what we have to say about this experience during our stay: 

"We set off [early morning] on our cycle with the temperature at a pleasant 27°C – with water and our camera packed nearly in the handy basket at the front of the bike. We went out to a brilliant vantage point (it involved a couple of slight hills but no gain without pain as they say!) and it was so worth it to appreciate the sandy landscape, colours and wildlife – including seeing a couple of oryx arguing. The horses and camels were chilling out in their paddocks and there was a lot of birdsong. Such a special time, but aware of the heat rising we were ready to retreat to the heavenly villa for a well-deserved dip in that fabulous pool."

The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert FAQs 

Is there anything for kids? 

Yes, kids will love the Ritz Kids® Club for ages four and older where they can get away from Mum and Dad and enjoy activities such as pony riding lessons, catch and release fishing and plenty of arts and crafts. 

Does the resort have exercise facilities?

Yes, as a guest you can enjoy a kitted out gym that is open 24 hours with a range of cardio and weighted equipment, as well as the main resort pool that is ideal for doing laps. 

Is there a spa? 

There is a spa offering state-of-the-art treatments and facilities with a focus on hydrothermal treatments. Take your pick of 16 stations, where you can take ice showers to get the blood pumping, warm up in deep bath-like pools and detoxify the body in steaming saunas. We also highly recommend indulging in the Rainforest Experience where you can unwind with hydrothermal treatments and a romantic hammam.    

Can I get to the beach easily?

If you want to swap the desert sand for sandy shorelines, that's no problem. There is a complimentary shuttle bus that can take you from the resort to sister property, The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Hamra Beach

Discover more hotels in Ras Al Khaimah and Dubai 

Seeking more inspiration? No problem. We've tried and tested a range of incredible resorts across the UAE. Take a look at our review of the spectacular Atlantis, The Palm or learn more about what to expect at the JA the Resort.

Want to visit The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah Al Wadi Desert for yourself? Browse our website or give our Travel Specialists a call for expert advice!

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