Nestled in the sand dunes of Ras Al Khaimah desert amidst a nature reserve dotted with Arabian Gazelle and Oryxe, Banyan Tree Al Wadi creates a beautiful experience from the very beginning.
Due to its geographical location at the northern tip of the United Arab Emirates, Ras Al Khaimah is literally translated to “top of the tent” and originally known as Julfar. Myriad landscapes infuse this Emirate with interest and diversity: from rugged mountain peaks and mangroves to coastal salt marches, and of course the desert.
So after around an hour’s drive from Dubai through the desert of Ras Al Khaimah driving carefully as the camels pass by leisurely, we valet parked our car and strolled up the long covered walkway to the hotel.
We were offered fresh juice and dates whilst staff dealt with our reservation. Once all the formalities were completed a buggy was called in to take us to our deluxe pool villa.
No matter whether you opt for the tented villas or deluxe villas, all come with a decking area and private pool. We booked the deluxe pool villa which was extremely spacious with a separate living room, study, a small dressing room, bedroom, large bathroom with his and hers basins, huge tub and rain shower, all walled in for privacy and outside onto the wooden deck was our very own private pool. Splendid!!
There are a few daytime activities on offer at Banyan Tree. From excursions to the sister property located on the beach to camel rides in the desert, there is a bit to do to stave off any boredom. However, on the first day we just lazed around our pool.
The resort has a range of activities. We booked archery and birds of prey experience. Since we were archery amateurs we opted for the practice range which included a practise session for beginners.
One of the things that I, personally, have always related to the Banyan Tree brand are its wellness offerings. Also the Spa in the hotel is the only one in the UAE to offer the Rainforest Experience, a hydrothermal experience which takes guests on a “Rain Walk” through a varied hydrothermal experiences, steam chambers with aromatic scents combined with bucket drench showers, steam grottos and an ice igloo for a true multi sensory experience, finally dumping you into a vitality pool. Taking about an hour to complete, it’s a must do. It’s pretty unique and the best part is that it was complimentary!
There is a variety of F&B options to choose from iincluding Arabic specialities and international dishes at Al Waha, gourmet Thai cuisine at Saffran which is Banyan Tree’s signature restaurant overlooking the nature reserve’s watering hole. Drinks and shisha are served in the elevated Moon Bar and one can also enjoy private dining atop one of the resort’s watchtowers. Since we enjoy Thai food we decided to dine in Saffran which is located a fair distance from the main hotel. The ambience was lovely and food very authentic. The hotel also has a shuttle bus if you prefer dining at their sister property Banyan Tree Ras Al Khaimah Beach resort.