Accommodation/ Luxury Hotels/ Middle East/ United Arab Emirates

Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah

Waldorf Astoria RAK

The Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah is a full service five star luxury family friendly hotel located in the Northern Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates.

My mother (may Allah have mercy on her soul and grant her the highest paradise) loved the Waldorf Astoria Ras al Khaimah, so I decided to spend a long weekend there with my loved ones when they came on their first visit since her passing.

WHAT MAKES THE WALDORF ASTORIA RAS AL KHAIMAH A FABULOUS HOTEL?

The service was exceptional and every member of staff went out of their way to make it feel like a super luxurious and elegant retreat.

My mum, her sister and Katriena visited in the Summer of 2013 and my Aunt was celebrating her 80th birthday during the visit. I was unaware that the Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah would be open for guests in August, and had made reservations at a different hotel.

Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah afternoon tea

Aunty Doreen’s 80th birthday afternoon tea Camelia Lounge

A few days before our trip, I read that the Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah had already had their soft opening at the beginning of that month. I contacted the hotel to make reservations for afternoon tea for the day of my Aunt’s birthday, and they were very helpful in making the arrangements.

The restaurant manager even called the day before to say that they would like to present my aunt with a birthday cake, and asked for the exact spelling of her name. Despite getting lost along the way, we finally arrived and were greeted like royalty… and that was only for afternoon tea!

The afternoon tea was served in the Camelia Lounge with many of the staff in attendance, serving tea and cakes. My aunt said that it was more than she could have hoped for and cried tears of joy when they brought out the birthday cake made especially for her. One of the staff opened the sparkling date juice with a sabre and it was served with a flourish in the most elegant long stemmed glasses.

A year later I surprised my mother with an actual 3 night stay at the Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah during her last visit to Dubai. She exclaimed that it was by far the best hotel that she had ever stayed in, and that they served the ultimate breakfast. On our last night there one of the servers brought a small cake to our table after dinner to say ‘Bon Voyage’ to my mum.

For travel tips please read my Top Travel Tips for any traveller  and for more of my favorite hotels click here.

LOCATION

The hotel is approximately an hour’s drive from Dubai and situated on Vienna Street in Al Hamra Village in the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah. It is fronted by 350 meters of private white sandy beach and opposite to the Al Hamra Golf Club.

The drive to Ras Al Khaimah down the E311 is pretty boring, with many unfinished construction projects still dotting the desert landscape along the route. We were happy to see that at least one of the stalled projects resulting from the 2008 global financial crisis had been completed in the past year.

The Al Hamra Mall is a few minutes walk from the hotel. This would be recommended at holiday times if there is no shuttle to the mall as finding parking at the mall may be difficult at night.

RESERVATION AND CHECK-IN

I took advantage of the Hilton summer offers via their website, and saved  about 30% per night over the 3 day stay as a Hilton HHonors Rewards Programme member.

  • Upon entering the foyer anchored by the grand lobby clock, we were offered deliciously cold beverages that were a welcome respite from the oppressive summer heat.
  • I waited about two minutes for an apologetic staff member who was tending to another guest, when I was whisked off to a different counter to check in.
  • A personal concierge escorted us as far as the elevators but did not accompany us to our room. Having been there before, we did not utilise her services during our stay.
  • The luggage arrived within 10 minutes of getting to the room.

Waldorf Astoria RAK

GUEST ROOMS AND FEATURES

From the moment I stepped into our room and opened the curtains to take in the sea view, I felt an incredible calm and sense of contentment wash over me. The stress and tension of the previous weeks seemed to slip off my shoulders like leaves off a tree.

  • The hotel has 346 guest rooms and suites ranging from the Classic King room to the 422 sq. m. King Imperial Suite, all featuring WiFi and plasma HD tvs.
  • We stayed in a 90 sq. m. Two Queen Deluxe Sea view room with a balcony (it was bigger than my first two apartments!).
  • It had a dressing room, marble bathroom with closed off toilet and a sizable foyer / hall area before reaching the bedroom, where there was also a separate seating area.
  • The bathroom had a soaking tub, double sinks and a rain shower. I quite liked the privacy door for the toilet that allowed one of the others to use the bathroom area undisturbed.
  • Both the bedroom and seating area had a 42 inch HD tv. The additional tv was helpful but the sitting room arm chair seating was not particularly comfortable for extended viewing.
  • The bed may look a bit high but it provides a wonderful night’s sleep.
  • The hotel reception and lobby, parking, public areas and guest rooms are accessible for physically challenged or wheelchair bound individuals.
  • Guest rooms have bedroom and bathroom doors at least 812mm (32 inches) wide for wheelchair accessibility.
  • Wheelchair accessibility was important for us when my mother accompanied us, and it really makes one realize how inaccessible many hotels, malls and other leisure places are.

AMENITIES AND ACTIVITIES

I must confess that I was unable to go outside for more than ten minutes without melting during the high Summer heat. My companions however, enjoyed the walks in the expansive grounds and on the beach, usually in the latter part of the afternoon when it was no longer quite as hot.

  • Water-sport activities include parasailing, jetskiing, flyboarding, sailing, water skiing, wakeboarding, fishing, tube rides and can be booked via the hotel. In addition there are numerous pools with cabanas.
  • There are also two tennis courts for guest use.
  • The Spa offers an extensive Treatment menu and there is a fitness center open 24 hours.
  • The Kids Club adjacent to the spa is open from 8am-7pm.
  • The 18-hole golf course at Al Hamra Golf club can be booked by guests.

DINING

The Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah has nine dining options including restaurants, bars and lounges. I have only mentioned the ones that I have visited.

Qasr al Bahar

This was the all day dining restaurant where we enjoyed breakfast every morning, and is a beautifully airy restaurant with sweeping views of the Arabian sea.

Although I’ve had dinner there on numerous occasions I’m seriously underwhelmed by the variety on offer at dinner time. That being said, this restaurant was not very busy at dinner time so it probably does not make sense for them to have anything more extensive.

 

Peacock Alley

This is the signature lounge serving beverages and light bites. The design is bold and tastefully colorful in the way that befits a peacock.

One cannot help but be spellbound by the marble fountain surrounded by banquette seating in the center of the lounge, that appears to be glowing from within. Or the brilliant chandeliers dripping from the incredibly high ceilings.

We enjoyed a varied and sumptuous afternoon tea at Peacock Alley.

Waldorf Astoria RAK

In-room dining

I always try to gauge both the service and food quality from hotel in-room dining service. We had a late dinner on our final night since we were too lazy to get dollied up to go downstairs to one of the restaurants. I must confess that I was quite surprised at the excellent quality of the meals.

SERVICE

  • The service exceeded my expectations in many areas, from check-in to nightly turn-down / refills.
  • The staff provided extra-ordinary experiences (during both my stays) that created memories to cherish for a lifetime.
  • My only complaint was at the Peacock Alley during the afternoon tea, where the staff appeared to forget about us after serving the refreshments and snacks.

NEARBY ATTRACTIONS

  • Jabal Al Jais – driving or hiking up the mountain for spectacular views
  • Iceland Water Park – family friendly water park
  • Dhayah Fort – steep climb to see a magnificent view
  • Khatts Springs – separate facilities for men and women
  • Desert Safari – guided tour in a 4×4
  • Al Hamra Mall – supermarket, cinema, restaurants and cafes

SPECIAL TOUCHES

  • Nothing is too much when it comes to the happiness of the guests. Whether it is making an old lady happy on her 80th birthday or leaving hand written Eid greetings for new arrivals.
  • Fresh red roses in the room on arrival 🙂
  • The Camelia Lounge manager and staff went out of their way to make my Aunt’s 80th birthday an event she still talks about with a tear in her eye.
  • The Qasr Al Bahar staff brought much joy to my mother when they presented her with a small cake to wish her well on her journey back to South Africa.

For the shoppers: Dubai Shopping festival starts in the last week of December and the Dubai Summer Surprises usually starts in the first week of July. The Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah is short drive away – just saying 🙂

VERDICT

The accumulation of goodwill and exceptional service that I’ve experienced at the Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah make it my favorite hotel thus far. It is located close enough to Dubai and Abu Dhabi to be ideal for a staycation. International travellers can fly into any of the international airports in and around the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah to enjoy a relaxing vacation of a lifetime and still be within 60 minutes of the throbbing pulse of Dubai.

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48 Comments

  • Reply
    Lindsey Nicole
    February 5, 2018 at 1:11 pm

    I have a friend I have been meaning to visit in Dubai and now I think I will check out this beautiful hotel when I go to visit him. Great post.

  • Reply
    Brian
    February 1, 2018 at 7:09 pm

    Happy 80th birthday! Love the clock in the middle of the lobby. That brie looks good as well.

  • Reply
    Ali Rost
    January 28, 2018 at 10:16 am

    How fun to see the photo of your mom, auntie, and Katriena. I loved the story of having afternoon tea, especially the tears of joy from your auntie over her birthday cake. When I was little, every afternoon my grandma sat down for tea, along with whatever snacking cake she had in the kitchen. I still remember some of our conversations. Such great memories! x

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      January 28, 2018 at 12:08 pm

      Our family also has an afternoon tea tradition going back to my maternal grandmother, and possibly even her mother. My mum and all her sisters were so persnickety when it came to the etiquettes of the afternoon. From the time it was served, to what was served or how it was served 🙂 It was always the highlight of a Sunday afternoon when the family usually got together and discussed everything since the last time they saw each other.

  • Reply
    Msddah
    January 27, 2018 at 8:21 pm

    Love that towel at the beginning … it is totally cute. I also like the theme of torquoise all around the hotel. Great post!

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      January 28, 2018 at 12:05 pm

      The swan was a delightful and unexpected surprise as were the handwritten note and the red roses.

  • Reply
    Julie
    January 27, 2018 at 7:05 am

    The design of this hotel is incredible – I absolutely love the teal color that prevails in the decor. Looks like you had an amazing stay at The Hilton, it’s always a solid brand

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      January 28, 2018 at 12:03 pm

      The rooms feel light and breezy and I love the blue accents of the bed linens. However, my favorite is Peacock Alley with it’s beautiful staircase and the chandeliers.

      I must confess that without a shadow of a doubt this is my favorite of the Hilton offerings. The service is consistently excellent and the lodgings and amenities are second to none.

  • Reply
    Stefanie KEy
    January 27, 2018 at 12:54 am

    Wow, this hotel seems so dreamy and luxurious, seems like you had an enjoyable stay!

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      January 28, 2018 at 12:02 pm

      I had a wonderful stay every single time. For the past few years since my mum died I have not gone there as often as before as I go to Cape Town to spend Eid with my family.I still manage to sneak in an overnight or weekend stay every now and then.

  • Reply
    Calleigh
    January 26, 2018 at 9:38 pm

    What a fancy looking hotel. Thank you for bringing up some important points about the hotel, it makes us easier to decide and be informed of how this place operates. I have never been to UAE though, but it’s one gorgeous place that is included on my bucket list.

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      January 28, 2018 at 12:01 pm

      If I were a visitor to the UAE I wouldn’t want to stay anywhere else.

  • Reply
    Sayanti | bingeonbasics.com
    January 26, 2018 at 7:59 pm

    Everything from the hotel rooms to the pools to the lounge looked luxurious and elegant. I am so happy to know that the staff were very humble and met your expectations overly. Also, your pictures are amazing!!

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      January 28, 2018 at 11:59 am

      Thank you Sayanti. We used an iPhone and a Samsung camera for most of the photos.

      What I loved about the service is that there were no fake smiles or grudging assistance. Every single person we encountered was eager to help and be of service.

  • Reply
    Dalene
    January 26, 2018 at 7:48 pm

    Wow!So incredible the hotel is! It really is a 5+ hotel infact. The UAE is well respected for its awesome hotels for a fact and this is a sure way to prove that. The structure itself, to the dedicated service offered, to the dining options…and the Peacock Alley!All just gorgeous!

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      January 28, 2018 at 11:58 am

      Indeed there are some wonderful hotels here. I remember when I first came to Dubai and took the open bus tour and the guide mentioned that there was only 1 four star hotel on the beach front. Since then more affordable options have come up, but the luxury hotels are my favorite.

  • Reply
    Amanda
    January 26, 2018 at 6:43 pm

    Looks like a wonderful place and I love that there is good food there. The facilities look so divine – the perfect place to kick back and relax.

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      January 28, 2018 at 11:56 am

      I had dinner at the steak house one night and it was amazing! Somehow I seem to have misfiled the photos of the evening so it’s not on here.

  • Reply
    Jean
    January 26, 2018 at 3:08 am

    Oh wow! The Astoria really does put on such a wonderful experience.

  • Reply
    Eve
    January 26, 2018 at 2:52 am

    Gosh, the peacock alley took my attention. I can only imagine what was the feeling to be there. However, I just realized I’ve never had in-room dinner. I should try next time.

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      January 26, 2018 at 10:24 am

      Peacock Alley is something else. It is very elegant and I felt quite glamorous having afternoon tea there. I must confess I was never a fan of in-room dining until a few years ago when I realized that it is a good measure of the kitchen’s attention to quality and detail.

  • Reply
    Melissa
    January 25, 2018 at 11:50 pm

    Wow! What an incredible place and dedicated service. I have yet to travel in the area but if ever I do I will certainly plan on visiting.

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      January 26, 2018 at 10:27 am

      The Hilton group has quite a few properties in the emirate of Ras al Khaimah under the Hilton, Doubletree and Waldorf brands. I have stayed at all but one over the years and the Waldorf Astoria is my favorite.

  • Reply
    Vasundhra
    January 25, 2018 at 11:39 pm

    What a beautiful property! These pictures are beautiful and everything about this hotel looks luxurious. i am glad that you had an amazing time at the Waldorf Astoria.

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      January 26, 2018 at 10:28 am

      It really is fabulous. From the interiors to the cabanas around the pool. Every stay I find something else to like about the property or service.

  • Reply
    Ridima
    January 25, 2018 at 11:15 pm

    I am tagging one of my friend who is looking for a finest hotel in Dubai. This would definitely suit him.

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      January 25, 2018 at 11:18 pm

      There is also a Waldorf Astoria at Palm Jumeirah in Dubai. I have not stayed there but have enjoyed a few wonderful meals at Social by Heinz Beck as well as Mezzerie.

  • Reply
    Katie Dickinson
    January 25, 2018 at 7:33 pm

    Sounds incredible! That’s so lovely that they wanted to prepare a cake for your aunt! I usually stay at hostels and guesthouses – but love reading about the wonderful hotels and restaurants I can hopefully visit (someday!!)

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      January 25, 2018 at 11:22 pm

      The manager of the lobby lounges was so so sweet. He even called to ask if they could have her name to write a birthday message on the cake and also asked if they could serve us alcohol free sparkling date juice since we don’t take alcohol. Then one of the male servers lopped off the top of the bottle with a Sabre.

  • Reply
    Becca Talbot
    January 25, 2018 at 7:17 pm

    Wow-eeeeee! What a swish looking hotel! I’ve never visited a UAE state before, so have never really experienced such luxury – but I would really love to stay here! I’m happy to hear you had such a good time x

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      January 25, 2018 at 11:19 pm

      The only downfall with living in the UAE is getting accustomed to luxury. First world problems I know, but it makes many other places feel downright drab 😂

  • Reply
    Rose
    January 25, 2018 at 8:47 am

    What a gorgeous place to spend a weekend or longer! So many amenities to make for an enjoyable time.

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      January 25, 2018 at 9:18 am

      One is really spoilt for choice with activities and amenities.

  • Reply
    Pierre
    January 25, 2018 at 6:33 am

    Can I say W.O.W? LoL. Just lots of things to do in this beautiful hotel! Definitely going to check this hotel out when we’ll be spending our honeymoon there!

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      January 25, 2018 at 9:14 am

      Haha that was exactly what we said after our first visit for afternoon tea. I can’t imagine a more fabulous and luxurious hotel to spend a honeymoon! Have a great time.

  • Reply
    Kweni
    January 25, 2018 at 6:25 am

    This is really fancy! Thanks for the in-depth review. It really makes me want to stay there should I visit.

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      January 25, 2018 at 9:11 am

      Growing up I always wanted to visit the Waldorf Astoria in NYC. I have never been to the US and after visiting this hotel an hour away by car, I don’t feel like I am missing out because the experience is superb every time.

  • Reply
    Macy
    January 25, 2018 at 4:35 am

    Great post about this hotel! I can see why you guys loved it ! Looks like the service is Super fantastic, fresh roses, personal touch, attention to details… perfect!

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      January 25, 2018 at 9:08 am

      Thanks Macy. It really is my favorite hotel thus far and I can hardly wait to go back.

  • Reply
    candy
    January 25, 2018 at 12:55 am

    Wow! This place is gorgeous! The desserts look so yummy too. Great to hear that their service was above and beyond 🙂

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      January 25, 2018 at 9:08 am

      What I loved about the service, in addition to everyone being very conscientious was that they also seem genuinely pleased to be of assistance.

  • Reply
    Laura Dove
    January 25, 2018 at 12:16 am

    WOW now that’s a hotel! How utterly gorgeous and so luxurious! I love when hotels do the towels like that, such a gorgeous touch! And the cakes? AMAZING!

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      January 25, 2018 at 9:06 am

      The towel swans were a lovely surprise and I wish I knew how to do them! The cakes were scrumptious and we couldn’t get enough of the afternoon tea 🙂

  • Reply
    sabrina barbante
    January 24, 2018 at 10:36 pm

    This hotel looks truly great but, you know, the thing I appreciate the most is the cure they have of food, the healthy and good one. The best way we have to take care of people we love is though food and what an hotel does as our mother would, this is a great place

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      January 25, 2018 at 9:05 am

      You are right. The main restaurant serves a delicious breakfast with mostly healthy options that are also a feast for the eye and tummy. The dinners are not as varied as many others but everything tastes great and you don’t feel over indulged.

  • Reply
    Nadia
    January 24, 2018 at 10:35 pm

    Your pictures are gorgeous! The hotel looks exquisite, and you have captured every aspect so well! I quite like the bold peacock colors!

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      January 25, 2018 at 9:03 am

      It is everything you can possibly imagine and more, and lucky for me it’s just an hour drive away 🙂

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