Many American travelers have heard of Dubai and Abu Dubai, but the name Ras Al Khaimah may not be familiar. Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) is an unknown emirate. What makes it so appealing is that it offers a variety of landscapes – sea, beach, desert and mountain range – in a natural environment that feels authentic and accessible.
Plus, there are a variety of world-class resorts and unique accommodations to choose from. Here are some of the best properties in the United Arab Emirates.
Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert
Set in a private nature reserve, The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert features 100 luxury private villas, each with its own private temperature-controlled pool. The property’s Bedouin-inspired design plus the unique on-site activities — like the Falcon and Owl show, archery, fishing, desert biking, sunset camel rides , bird watching, nature walks, horseback riding and stargazing – give visitors to Ras Al Khaimah an understanding of desert life and culture in the Al Wadi Nature Reserve.
The Ritz-Carlton Spa has ten individual spa treatment pavilions, four of which feature a rain mist room; bathtub; outdoor shower; indoor shower and hammam; and a space for meditation and relaxation. Treatments on the menu include body therapies and signature facials and massages.
InterContinental Ras Al Khaimah Resort and Spa
Located on the shores of Hayat Island, approximately 45 minutes from Dubai Airport, the InterContinental Ras Al Khaimah Resort and Spa is the first property of the IHG Hotels & Resorts brand to open in the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah. The resort has 351 rooms, suites, and private pool villas overlooking the water with balconies and terraces and sits between two peninsulas on a private beach.
The property also has six restaurants.
The InterContinental Spa is due to open in April and offers a traditional Turkish hammam as well as a range of wellness treatments including facials and massages.
Club InterContinental travelers have a dedicated check-in area and access to the exclusive Club InterContinental Lounge with its own swimming pool. These members also have access to a separate a la carte breakfast, afternoon tea, and evening cocktails prepared by the on-site mixologist.
Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah
Set between the Arabian Gulf, the Hajar Mountains, and a luxury golf course, the 346-room Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah is a family-friendly property. Children can enjoy the family lagoon pool, water play area and kids club. Parents will appreciate the adult swimming pool, tennis courts and scenic and challenging 18-hole championship golf course.
The award-winning spa features floor-to-ceiling one-way windows; 12 treatment rooms and a menu that includes signature massages, wraps, scrubs and facials.
Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Hamra Beach
If you’re looking for privacy, head to the Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Hamra Beach located on a private beach along the coast. The property has 32 private villas, each with its own pool and beach access. For spa lovers, the spa pavilions are a welcome respite and offer treatments focused on native spices and flowers. Facial treatments incorporate luxury brands such as ESPA and Natura Bissé. Dining options include private dining at your villa or along the beach or at the Shore House Restaurant which serves international cuisine (including fresh seafood). There are a variety of activities for active travelers, including archery, water sports, and yoga classes.
If you are looking for a completely different experience, Longbeach Campground is for you. Set on 300 meters of beachfront, the property combines glamping with luxurious amenities and active adventure offerings (don’t worry, you’ll be sleeping on a bed, not a sleeping bag). Travelers can experience the beach, pool, outdoor spa, a variety of water sports (including SUP, jet skis, and kayaking), and even a floating theater.