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Where to go and stay in Ras al Khaimah

A bit about Ras al Khaimah

An Arabian enclave of glittering sands, date palms and camel trains, the tiny emirate of Ras Al Khaimah is the most northerly of the United Arab Emirates. It was once an outpost of the ancient Silk Road and offers a more authentic experience than its glitzier UAE neighbours of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Its capital, also called Ras Al Khaimah or RAK city, is a former fishing port studded with trees and surprisingly green parks with characterful Arabian architecture of minarets and arches.

To the south of the city, amid millionaire marinas, lagoons and peninsulas of burnished golden sand, travellers can find the Jazirat Al Hamra area with the widest choice of accommodation. New luxury resorts are also opening up on the artificial islands of Marjan just offshore. Inland, Ras al Khaimah's wilderness of desert oases, scenic mountains and hot springs is the setting for a clutch of luxury resorts and camps. From the renowned opulence of the Waldorf Astoria to more understated beachside resorts, there's something to suit all budgets and tastes.

Beach breaks and escapes

RAK City

In Ras al Khaimah's clean and modern capital, travellers can find international hotel chains and ultra modern midscale hotels offering affordable luxury beside the crystalline waters of the Arabian Gulf. If you want to explore outside your hotel, go shopping in the malls and markets, and get a taste of Arabian culture then this is the best place to stay. In a serene yet convenient location on the southern edge of the city, the Cove Rotana Resort is a great beachside hotel on the city's doorstep, while the RAK Hotel offers good value right in the heart of the action, close to the bustling Al Qasimi Corniche, malls, restaurants, picturesque parks and lagoons, and the Tower Links championship golf course.

North of the harbour and the Corniche area, the Hilton Ras al Khaimah Resort and Spa is perfectly positioned on its own sandy bay allowing travellers to get the best of both the beach and the city. Bin Majid Hotels and Resorts runs a clutch of attractive midscale properties in RAK City and Al Hamra, such as the boutique-style Mangrove hotel in the Al Qasimi Corniche area, which offers city tours and desert safaris to guests.

Al Hamra

Most of Ras al Khaimah's luxury beachfront resorts and tourist facilities are concentrated around the Al Hamra area, 15km to the south of RAK City, where wide swathes of sand give way to the tranquil Arabian Gulf. Centring on a huge lagoon with a marina and yacht club, with shopping centres and tourist attractions such as the Al Hamra Mall, Iceland Water Park and Jazirat al Hamra ghost town nearby, the area is ideal for a laid-back sun-drenched beach break.

At the high end of the accommodation spectrum is the lavish Waldorf Astoria hotel and resort, like a colossal Arabian palace, opulently decorated and set astride a sandy bay with palm dotted grounds, a huge lagoon pool and roof terraces taking advantage of the spectacular Arabian Gulf panorama. Close by, the Hilton Al Hamra Beach and Golf Resort is an attractive and spacious low-rise resort with inviting swimming pools sitting between the seafront and the lagoon area, and backing on to an 18-hole championship golf course.

For boutique retreat that embraces Bedouin chic, the Banyan Tree Ras al Khaimah Beach Club offers luxurious rooms right on the beach. Teaming a stay here with a few nights at its sister hotel - the Banyan Tree al Wadi -amounts to an idyllic break combining spectacular desert panoramas and Arabian beach bliss. Also benefiting from the Al Hamra area's great facilities and glittering beaches, Bin Majid Hotels' Beach Resort and Acacia Hotel both offer affordable, stylish accommodation.

Marjan Islands

Linked by lagoons and dotted with marinas, the recently-created Marjan Islands have been magically conjured from the sea, offering an idyllic sun, sand-and sea setting just south of Al Hamra. The chain of holiday islands are encircled with golden sand that gently shelves into calm, clear seas and all the new, top-notch modern hotels have wall-to-wall ocean panoramas. Flanked by palms and overlooking soft white sands, the majestic Marjan Island resort is a luxurious option with Moorish inspired decor and a great programme of activities such as wildlife walks, camel rides, desert safaris and rock climbing for guests who can tear themselves away from the beach.

Sightseeing and culture

Beyond RAK City, the hinterland of desert, dark mountain crags and valleys thick with date palms beckon travellers to explore further. Banyan Tree al Wadi Resort and Spa, sister hotel to the Banyan Tree Ras al Khaimah Beach Club, is set amid red-clay dunes that roll as far as the eye can see. Just a 15-minute drive from RAK City, amid the sands of Wadi Khadeja, the hotel is the perfect base for a desert odyssey and there is a surprising array of activities available. From the hotel you can take a variety of desert safaris into the orange-pink sands - on quadbikes, camels or on foot - and you can try archery, falconry and spot rare wildlife such as Arabian oryx. Guests are well catered at the Al Waha or 'Oasis' restaurant, which serves delicious dishes and has an extensive traditional meze menu.

Just 25km south-east of RAK City, the natural mineral springs of Khatt magically bubble up from the desert to create the perfect spot for rejuvenation and relaxation, health and wellbeing. Shaped like a fortress, the Golden Tulip Khatt Springs Hotel and Spa is set on a hill overlooking the natural hot springs. Here, you can immerse yourself in meditative desert scenery and total relaxation with free access to the Harmony Ayurveda Centre and hotel facilities such as a sauna, steam room and even an ice grotto.

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Places of interest in Ras Al Khaimah

Depending on the type of location you want, the kind of facilities you'd like to find and the proximity to certain attractions, we have a good number of areas for you to choose from and stay at during your holiday.

Whether you want a pumping and energetic beachside retreat, a tranquil setting in a secluded cove, a hillside resort perched in the midst of nature, or a strategic central location close to civilisation and buzzing city life, nightclubs, theme parks and other kinds of leisure attractions, we can advise you on the best places for you.

Choose from our selection of handpicked places and be based right at the place that's most ideal for you and your travelling party

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Ras Al Khaimah News

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World's longest zip line to open in Ras Al Khaimah in December 2018

Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority has revealed that the emirate's newest adventure attraction will open in December. The longest and highest zip line in the world will open to visitors on Jebel Jais, the highest peak in the United Arab Emirates. The tourism authority has partnered with Toro Verde, the world's leading zip line operator, to create the brand new tourism attraction.

UAE to unveil the world's longest zip-line in 2017

Once again in the front seat of innovation, the UAE prepares to set a new world record by opening the world’s longest zip-line. To be certified by the Guinness World Records, this exciting attraction will be launched in Jebel Jais, the country’s highest peak, by December this year.

Ras Al Khaimah to open soaring Jebel Jais Observation Deck in October

Ras Al Khaimah is getting ready to open its newest attraction this October with the launch of the Jebel Jais Observation Deck. The decking area sits 1,300 metres above sea level up Jebel Jais Mountain, and offers a variety of viewing platforms where visitors can enjoy panoramic views across the Al Hajar mountain range and the sparkling Arabian Gulf.