72 hours in Ras Al Khaimah: Where to stay, what to do

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72 hours in Ras Al Khaimah: Where to stay, what to do

 

DUBAI – There’s a reason why Ras Al Khaimah is called “The Rising Emirate”, because it really is.

“It just keeps on getting better,” I remember telling my Expatmedia.net colleague as we arrived at the DoubleTree by Hilton, our home in Ras Al Khaimah during our visit last December. Watch how our hosted staycation unfolded:

A lot has changed since a bunch of journalists and I visited the emirate more than a decade ago as part of the media tour arranged by RAK Tourism. Ras Al Khaimah had just opened its marina then. Now, it is set to open the UAE’s highest restaurant in October.

Where to stay

I highly recommend staying at the DoubleTree by Hilton, which checks all the boxes for me in terms of location, service and affordability.

The hotel is the perfect launchpad for anyone who wants to visit the emirate. It’s right in the heart of the city, and not too far from all the nature spots either.

After being given a complimentary cookie (a trademark DoubleTree by Hilton moment), we were led to our spacious King Suite, which conveniently had its own mini kitchen. It was perfect! Not that I really needed to cook because who wants to get the pots and pans out when the in-house restaurant was just a call away?

Also, the hotel offers the best of both worlds as guests also have access to the amenities at their sister hotel resort on Marjan Island.

There’s a complimentary shuttle bus to DoubleTree by Hilton Resort & Spa Marjan Island where we enjoyed the beach view, a scenic boat ride tour, and a stroll on the 650-metre private beach. More on that later.

Tip: Upgrade to the Hilton all-access blue badge so all your meals and drinks are complimentary on either hotels.

Where to eat

There’s nothing like a hearty breakfast to start the day, and DoubleTree by Hilton’s all-day dining restaurant Podium didn’t disappoint. The staff welcome was as warm as their meals. The chef even went out of his way to make me a plate of smoked salmon I was craving.

For lunch, we took the free shuttle bus to Hilton Resort & Spa Marjan Island so we could enjoy our buffet in a resort setting. The spread was three times as big as the breakfast at Podium, with several live cooking stations for eggs, meats and pastas. I loved that our food and drinks were covered by our hotel stay at their sister property. The ambiance was truly five star.

For dinner, we headed back to Podium for some ala carte options. The chef whipped up a lobster and seafood platter for two, just as I ordered. We enjoyed every bite, then later headed to the TreeTop Bar on the rooftop for some blended drinks and a bird’s eye view of the city lights at night.

What to do

We took a 45-minute car trip, courtesy of DoubleTree by Hilton’s personal chauffer, up the newest leisure spot in Jebel Jais. It was the best car trip I ever had in the UAE.

We passed through jagged mountains with porous surfaces that took me back to prehistoric times. I wondered if dinosaurs roamed there, or if the place was, in fact, covered by ocean hundreds of thousands of years ago. My imagination went into overdrive.

Jebel Jais Viewing Deck Park: After the scenic trip on the winding road up Jebel Jais, we arrived at the Jebel Jais Viewing Deck Park. Entrance costs Dh5* and is totally worth it.

There’s an expansive viewing deck with an open playground on the left side of the park, and al fresco dining on the right side. It’s the perfect retreat to just sit back, relax and enjoy the view.

We didn’t get to visit the zipline as the road had been cordoned off. It had started to drizzle, and that was our signal to just try it on the next visit.

Hilton Resort & Spa Marjan Island: The expansive resort has a lot of spots for sightseeing and a leisurely stroll. We also loved our watersports adventure onboard the speedboat that took us from the 650-metre private beach front, out in waters off Hilton Resort & Spa Marjan Island.

We stopped by one of the diving spots where apparently plenty of fish converged, but didn’t dive down as the waters were kind of choppy that day. But we did enjoy the Ras Al Khaimah skyline, and a view of one of the palaces on top of a hill. Definitely a royal ending to a grand staycation. PIA/Expat Media


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