of TripAdvisor Travelers recommend this hotel
"A fantastic escape from the hustle and bustle of Dubai"
Having recently taken on the management of this desert resort from Banyan Tree, Ritz Carlton are beginning to refresh Al Wadi; having visited in March 2017, it’s a fantastic place to escape the madness of Dubai. Al Wadi Desert, a Ritz-Carlton Partner Hotel, is located about an hour to an hour and half’s drive out of Dubai, in the neighbouring Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah. We visited for a two-night staycation, in one of Al Wadi’s ‘Al Khaimah’ tented pool villas; specious Bedouin-style accommodations which offer a wonderful level of privacy, overlooking the desert. Our villa gave us a beautiful sunrise both mornings, the Al Sahari villas are identical abut offer a sunset view instead. There are also Al Rimal villas which are more closed-in, offering an enhanced level of solitude. The traditionally-decorated villa was stunning, probably one of the best hotel accommodations I have stayed in. Wonderful bathroom – complete with huge tub – and a large bedroom, overlooking your private pool (large enough and deep enough to swim in) and sweeping views over the desert. Well-placed trees and thoughtful planning ensure that you are completely private and closed off from your neighbours. I was admittedly surprised with how many things there are to do considering Al Wadi is so remote. The resort makes full use of its surroundings – or lack of them – I should say. In the expansive desert around the villas, you can take part in nature walks, stargazing talks (thankfully, the light pollution from Dubai doesn’t reach Al Wadi), and off-roading. Even closer to the villas, there is plenty of wildlife – falcon and owl shows as well as horse-riding are available. Other activities include archery and fishing. Most activities include a charge though some are free for residents, however you can really get a feel for where you are just by walking around and exploring; it really is a stunning setting. In addition, every villa comes with a few bicycles, offering a quick and quirky way to move around Al Wadi. All that is missing are some tandems for the couples! We didn’t do too much in the way of activities as we were just happy lazily chilling out at the pool, however we went to the falcon show and also visited the spa. The rainforest room there is one-of-a-kind in the U.A.E. and is great value at two hundred dirhams per person. It’s basically a walk-through series of treatments, saunas, showers and pools. We left after an hour or so feeling so relaxed we could just melt away. Very highly recommended. There are a few dining options; the main restaurant, called ‘Al Waha’, was under renovation when we visited, with the all-day dining option moved to the specialty Indian restaurant ‘Safran’. Safran is beautiful; it occupies an elevated area close to a lake/watering hole, so you can enjoy breakfast on the terrace as the sun rises, as well some of the best Indian food I have tried in the country. The breakfast spread is exceptional; plenty of choice, from Arabic to Western, and everything is well-cooked and prepared. As I said though, it’s Safran’s setting which sets it apart. The Moon Bar (close to reception) was a perfect place to have a beer and watch the sunset; it seemed that every other resident had the same idea. Underneath the Moon Bar there is the ‘Samar Lounge’ which serves tapas, though we sadly didn’t get the chance to visit here. There are few special in-villa dining options such as barbeques and picnics, which can be taken in your villa by the pool, and also by the lake near Safran. We had a picnic there at sunset and it a very unique and special thing to do. The picnic and drinks are served to you from the nearby Safran restaurant, and then you are left to enjoy the tranquility. Al Wadi was a perfect retreat for a couple of days, and for the duration of our stay the staff service was faultless; no-one could do enough to assist and wherever we went, all the employees seemed happy, greeting us and asking how our stay was going. For me, Al Wadi service was all about the small details; we visited at the height of ‘fly season’ and the insects were really annoying, especially during breakfast. Despite this, every meal we took, a server would run over immediately with burning coffee grounds to keep them away. I loved how we were greeted by name the moment we arrived at Al Wadi, perhaps thanks to the gatekeeper radioing up to the reception. It’s the details like this that really get me excited about a hotel, and they made staying here unforgettable. Special thanks go to Mohammed in Safran who made us feel so welcome both mornings. I would definitely recommend Al Wadi whether you are a couple or a family; there is so much to do. If you are visiting Dubai then it’s worth investing a day or two to drive out into the desert to experience this very authentic and curated slice of desert life. If, like me, you live in Dubai, then there is no better way to unwind from living and working in such a busy and built-up area than a few days immersed in luxury, exploring the surprising variety of nature in the dunes.
"What a cool place!"
My wife and I booked a pool villa for a one night stopover on the way back to the UK from our wonderful holiday in the Seychelles. From the moment we arrived we were overwhelmed with fantastic service getting out of our complimentary car then taken to check in to be personally greeted by Jenny (guest experience manager) who I had liaised with on email prior to our arrival. Our pool villa should be called a really cool pool villa and the temperature of the water made it even more inviting. We quickly changed then went for a couple of drinks at the cool Moon bar on the roof top before going for an excellent dining experience at Safran, their very good Indian restaurant. The excellent service continued through the evening and into the next morning when we checked out. I'm fortunate to frequent Soho Farmhouse often and I can possibly see where they got their inspiration as this has to have inspired the Farmhouse. A quick ride around on our cycles before breakfast then off to the airport for our flight back to the UK was a great way to start the early morning. My wife and I are already looking at possible dates to return for a longer period and we would highly recommend this place to anyone who's thinking of going. There's so much to do, we didn't even really scratch the surface but we'll get deeper next time for sure. Chalky x
"Simply the best …"
My review is well over due… December 2016 we celebrated my husband's birthday in this resort.We had fabulous time. Rooms brilliant where you can simply open your eyes to the wonderful views of the desert.We enjoyed cycling every day between the facilities & restaurants which was really great for both the family and health.Good choice of food and great breakfast. Customer service is flawless, we had minor issue which was quickly addressed by Amit Arora the general manager who was extremely helpful and very polite. This was as this resort was going through transitional phase then. If you are looking to escape the hustle of busy life then this resort is the right one to drop every thing and simply enjoy the quietness & tranquility. We stayed in this particular one twice and certainly planning for a third visit later this year.
"Awful - Do not stay here until at least Jan 2018"
This used to be a Banyan Tree. We thought we'd booked one. It is in the process of becoming a Ritz Carlton - but isn't one yet - whatever that means ' What it does mean is no identity. No brochures. No menus - no collateral to let you know where you are or what there is to do - at all It is also an example of why NEVER to promote a Marketing Manager to a General Manager - Marketing Managers care about business plans , not customers. We asked to see the GM after an awful arrival experience, dissatisfaction with the room, the service, the fact there was no resort pool as advertised, the fact there was no beach resort transfer as advertised. Amit Arora, the GM, declined the meeting, as he was "busy". The same day we saw him lunch in the restaurant, with his own staff at his beck and call, wander around greeting guests and comically have a series of photos taken with the Falcons (for his instagram account maybe'). We have stayed in luxury resorts all over the world, the $25k we paid for the week here is usual fare for us, but in this instance it was a chronic waste of money. We literally have never had a worse stay in twenty years, irrespective of price They tried to make it up to us by offering to arrange desert dinners, camel rides - and then charged us for the privilege - $5000 ! We thought It was complimentary to apologise, and it was up sell ! Maybe they'll get it right, but knowing the hotel business well - it will take a long time. They are in total disarray - staff clueless about what they should be doing. Firing the GM would be a good start. There are some wonderful caring staff in the resort , but they lack leadership , direction and a GM with a true care for customers.
"Best place ever !"
It was a great experience , the whole place is quiet and clean , indulging perfect nature , staff are beyond excellent , facilities are unique to this place , nature is facinating. For sure will be visiting again and been recomended to all friends and family !:)
Credit cards accepted by the hotel: American Express - Visa - MasterCard - Diners Club - Japan Credit Bureau (JCB) - Maestro
Check-in: 3:00 PM , Check-out: 12:30 PM