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TRAVEL

Waldorf Astoria Ras Al-Khaimah review

Words by Nathan Irvine

Road trip

In the hotelier business, keeping your head above water has been the number one objective during the pandemic. A lack of overseas tourists and people willing to take the risk on staying at a hotel – no matter how strict the cleaning process is – has seen visitor numbers dwindle. When we checked into the Waldorf Astoria RAK on the Wednesday, it certainly felt like the hotel was still feeling the impact. But by Thursday and Friday, the place was heaving, and it’s easy to see why it’s so popular with staycation crowd.

Firstly, the views from our palatial suite were immediately calming. Looking out over the pristine beach and waters, it was exactly the type of vibe you want during a break from your hectic daily lives. The two double-beds were so inviting that the whole family almost fell asleep before we even made it back downstairs. Huge HD TVs in the split lounge and bedroom areas kept the kids quiet whilst we unpacked clothes into the vast walk-in wardrobe.

Supplied Waldorf Astoria RAK's superb pool area

Supplied The Lexington Grill

Splash down

Although the beach looked tempting, the 46-degree heat meant we couldn’t stay down there for a long time. Still, there are ample sunbeds on the picturesque sands and the staff are quick to appear with buckets of ice and water for those that are brave enough to endure the laser-hot heat. As a result, most of our time was spent by the pool. There’s a shallow one for little kids, and a much bigger one for everyone else, which is obviously ideal for families. Best of all, there was still loads of room on the busier weekend days to splash around in safely. As a result, we spent most of our days either in or by the side of the pool.

In the evening we spent our time at the hotel’s excellent Lexington Grill. The steak restaurant is a moodily lit venue with a live pianist performance to soundtrack your visit. It’s the type of place that at first glance, you might be slightly worried about taking kids into. But we were pleasantly surprised by the care and attention the waiting staff had for the whole family. They have a very good menu for kids too – the margherita pizza and creamy mac and cheese were particular highlights. The staff even brought out colouring pencils and sheets for our boys to play with too.

For the grownups, we were treated to a tomahawk steak – Lexington Grill’s signature cut that is as impressive on the eye as it is on the palate. It’s the type of large cut that was packed with flavour in every forkful. Delicious.

As the children slept, we enjoyed the ambience from the balcony that comes complete with comfy outdoor furniture and a view of the moonlit sky that was incredibly peaceful.

Food for thought

One of the biggest challenges that hotels face at the moment is when it comes to buffets. Keeping distances and not being able to pile up your own plate has kind of killed off the buffet during the pandemic. This breakfast one though, served at the pristine Qasr Al Bahar restaurant, was impeccably managed by the staff.

Not only were they quick to help serve up the pastries, cooked breakfast bits and more to your plate, they also made sure that people were safely distanced and masked up. It’s only a small thing, but it’s certainly reassuring during these trying times.

It’s hard to fault the Waldorf Astoria RAK. It has everything you need in one place – great beaches, pools, restaurants and service. And it’s also great for singles and families alike. It really does feel like you’ve ventured off to a much more tranquil location, when in actual fact you’ve powered down the motorway in your car. And that’s why this popular hotel’s appeal has withstood one of its toughest tests to date.

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