My Stay At The Banyan Tree Al Wadi, Ras Al Khaimah
Recently, Scott and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary. We made it a whole year. Hooray. As a special treat, Scott booked us a surprise trip to the Banyan Tree Al Wadi Hotel Resort and Spa out in Ras Al Khaimah. I'd always fancied staying at a resort out in the desert and with the hotel grounds spanning 100 hectares and being nestled amidst the sprawling Al Wadi Nature Reserve, it really was the perfect escape from the city.
We'd been booked in to stay at one of the resorts, 'Al Rimal' pool villas. The rooms were enormous, much bigger than I had anticipated. They featured a huge bathroom with his and hers wash basins, a spacious shower and a free-standing bath. The bedroom led out to a separate lounge area which in turn, opened out on to our own, private terrace.
The pool was a real highlight and, despite me just about being able to stand up in it on my tiptoes (short girl problems) it was heaven to cool off in whilst wildlife spotting and overlooking the reserve and Safran Tower, the resorts replica of a traditional Arabian watchtower - on top of which we had the most incredible dining experience ever!
Four courses of THE most delicious Thai food taken from their signature Thai restaurant, in our own, private dining spot whilst overlooking the surrounding desert. I couldn't recommend this experience more and I wasn't surprised to learn from our waiter that the spot was a popular one for marriage proposals. If you're looking for romance, this is where you'll find it.
The resort caters really well to private and unique dining experiences, including Western and Arabian style barbecue dinners, however the main restaurant lacked any atmosphere and despite being labelled as an Arabic/International eatery, the Western dishes were limited and we chose to dine in room instead - which surprisingly featured a more varied menu.
The Banyan Tree Al Wadi Resort boasts in impressive, award-winning spa which we took full advantage of by booking ourselves into the Rainforest Experience - a complete hydrothermal experience that featured aromatherapy steam rooms, foot pools, an ice igloo, saunas and a vitality pool which offered up watery massages via their various acupressure body jets. We spent a full hour enjoying the Rainforest Experience but it could have easily been double that. This was undoubtedly the best spa journey I've ever had and if anything would have me craving a return trip to the resort, it would be this.
In addition to your stay, you can also take advantage of free archery lessons, (which we sadly didn't get around to doing) and opportunities to meet the resorts resident owls and falcons with daily shows and educational talks.
Yep, this is me with an owl and I was absolutely bricking it!
On our last night, we came back to our room to find that there was an oryx drinking from our pool! I'd noticed a flash of white and Scott, who was in the pool at the time, looked over the edge to come face to face with it. Naturally, he screamed like a girl and scared it away before I had chance to get a proper view *sigh* men.
Overall, we had an incredible stay at the Al Wadi Resort and a first wedding anniversary experience that I'll never forget! The staff did an excellent job at making us feel welcome and well, the place pretty much speaks for itself.