Ask any British mum her favourite reason for living in the UAE and nine times out of ten, the answer will include some variation of ‘the sun, sea and sand’. The beach is undoubtably a huge bonus of living in this beautiful country and we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to a staycation on the shores of the Arabian Gulf. But for those who are fully embracing the country that we call home, you’ll know that the desert offers its own charm and beauty, with the chance to get closer to nature and educate our children on the UAE’s history and heritage.
So, we now ponder the question, ‘beach or desert’, as we consider a long summer in the UAE. Both have their positives, that’s without doubt, but which is more fitting to spend some quality time as a family?
The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert and The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Hamra Beach, both offer the usual high standard of service you’d expect with any Ritz-Carlton property but cater for very different guest experiences. Known worldwide for their magnificent destinations, these two properties encompass the very epitome of luxury, whilst embracing the natural surroundings and creating unique memories for the entire family.
On arrival at The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Hamra Beach, a sense of relaxation washed over us as the secluded and idyllic setting resembled a remote Caribbean island. 32 private pool villas with direct beach access immediately transported us far, far away from city life and this was the perfect destination to unwind with a good book whilst taking in the natural beauty. We kicked back, in what can only be described as our dream garden, with an oversized cooled pool, cabanas and outdoor bathtub. The views of the Arabian Gulf left us breathless as we fully immersed ourselves in our own perfect piece of paradise. The Shore House served up high quality delicacies with fresh ingredients, but there’s also bespoke beachside dining as well – maybe one for the cooler months! Whilst we think this is the perfect spot to celebrate a night away from the kids, the hotel is child-friendly with beachside activities and Ritz-Kids explorations. The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Hamra Beach offers seclusion and luxury in equal measure and is the perfect spot to catch your breath and clear your head, beachside this summer.
The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert is perfectly aligned with the Arabian landscape, embracing traditional Bedouin heritage in both the architecture and activities. Rooted in rich culture and known for its tranquillity and picturesque scenery, we found this was the perfect retreat for the entire family. Whilst it could be just as relaxing as a visit to The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Hamra Beach, there was just too much to do to justify sitting still for too long. With a choice of 100 private villas, each with their own temperature-controlled pool, the children spent all day splashing in the cool water or enjoy the bikes that come with each villa. We loved the quality family time and introducing the kids to animals in their natural habitat as well as a spot of horse riding. Ours loved the Ritz Kids club as well, which is suitable for ages four and older. As expected, the gastronomy and service were second to none and we particularly enjoyed Farmhouse, a farm-to-table concept as well as an intimate breakfast, poolside in our villa. Set away from the bright lights of the city meant the pool proved the best vantage point for a spot of stargazing once the little ones were safely tucked up in bed. As expected, if you take the kids, it’s going to be far less relaxing than a couple’s break, but it’s worth the constant chatter to see the excitement on their faces.
So, there you have it. For us, it doesn’t sound like you could go wrong either way! In these uncertain times when most of us are spending our first summer in the UAE, it’s important to dedicate some time to the family, to switch off from work and hide your mobile phones in the safe. The UAE is a beautiful place to live and even as temperature soar, we take comfort in the fact we’ve got beautiful locations right on our doorstep.