Thursday, September 12, 2013

Vacation - Ras al Khaimah

     We arrived later in the day to Ras al Khaimah. The road from Hatta was stunning! We crossed various geographic formations, from mountain peaks, to fields, to desert areas, all the way till the Arabia sea!

     We encountered mild problems, due to the fact that our GPS batery was running low and we had no possibility of charging it on the go, but we still decided to go into the city of Ras al Khaimah, before heading to our hotel.

     The town is bigger than I thought it would be and there were a couple of nice bridges and sky-high buildings on the horizon, but otherwise, it didn't impress. There seemed to be a lot of  construction sites all over the place, so we aborted the idea of seeing more of the city itself and headed out towards Al Hamra Fort Hotel and Resort.

     As we got nearer and nearer we could see this amazing palace-like building, also a hotel, who seemed just a bit over the top luxurious and we got excited and freaked out that it may be the place we booked into, but it wasn't. Our hotel was crammed up right next to the gorgeous hotel, Waldorf Astoria. Our hotel (belonging to the Hilton chain), was comprised of a number of villas with independent rooms and suites. Check-in was smooth, the room looked very nice and overlooked the aforementioned wonderful Waldorf Astoria, which was nice as well.

     We weren't bothered by the fact that our building seemed to be under construction and our bathroom still had traces from the negligent workers, since it was only for one night and we've had such a relaxing time until then.

     Off we went in search for dinner. Let me put it this way... for the price we've payed and the association to the Hilton Hotels chain, it was extremely disappointing.

     The only viable option would have been the buffet dinner, which we really didn't want to have. Then there was some sort of Lebanese restaurant which was completely empty and us entering the premises didn't seemed to spark anyone's interest. Then we went past the pool (which looked lovely btw, nicely lit and surrounded by lush vegetation) to what was supposed to be 'the international' restaurant.
     Well, it was international alright, if you count the 3 Filipino girls performing screaming live and waving at us as we entered. Also add a couple of German-looking (maybe British) guys having some draft beers. You can get the idea, the place looked like a summer camp fast-food.

     I was sweaty, tired, frustrated and annoyed by this point, so I may or may not have forced my husband into changing his shorts for long pants and headed out towards the gorgeous neighboring hotel.

     It seemed magical! Never in my life had I  seen so many lights on a building. The main entrance was grand and the reception area oozed luxury, from the costumes of the receptionists to the vases full of calla-lilies, to the glass mosaics on the walls, to the furniture pieces scattered here and there in the vast space...

    Now THAT is what I call a place worthy of the UAE standards and fame...(by now you can feel free to call me a snob). Our dinner was fantastic!

     After the return to our room, we cuddled up in our beds for a well deserved sleep, when we suddenly realized...the works were still going on downstairs, at 11 o'clock!
Again, keeping in mind that we were only going to spend one night over there, we decided to ignore them. The problem was that our workers were still banging and drumming downstairs at around 1 in the morning. That is when I decided to take matters into my own hands and sleepily yelled at the receptionist about disrespecting their guests in such a terrible manner! The workers stopped soon after and we could resume our sleep.

     It was quite obvious, in the light of day, that the entire place was in heavy renovations, there were workers moving furniture, carrying construction materials, cutting up dried trees, flower bushes needed tending, all the works. I guess that is what you get for visiting a place before touristic season begins.
     Breakfast was a buffet with plenty of choice, although the juices were the concentrate-kind, but we were determined to skip any inconveniences and have a nice couple of hours at the beach.

    Which we did! Their beach was a very isolated and relaxing spot. The sun was still a bit strong, so after one hour we headed back inside, took a shower, packed and hit the road towards Dubai.

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