Ras al Khaimah is one of the lesser known emirates that together with six other emirates make up the UAE. Leaving the Burj Khalifa towering in your rearview mirror, as you slowly fade into the mist, you wave to the hustle and bustle of Dubai, transported to an idyllic oasis of oryx, camels, starry skies and hugs. infinity pools.
My heart rate slowed noticeably when I arrived at the Ritz Carlton Al Wadi Desert, located within 500 hectares of the Al Wadi Nature Reserve. The clever scattering of Bedouin-inspired tented villas – ours, with our own eight-metre pool overlooking arid dunes and resident wildlife – guarantees privacy and tranquility. In our case it was all enhanced by being childless for three nights.
But alas, we had a lot to sample in 54 hours, so after a quick dip and cool down, we biked straight to the hawk rearing deck for a show from a majestic desert eagle owl and a majestic desert eagle soaring over a harris falcon. view. A ruby red sun was setting on the horizon, adding to the drama. Time to sample some of the culinary delights on offer and choose from the award-winning Farmhouse restaurant, which focuses on wild meats and home grown vegetables, or the Moorish restaurant with an exotic mix of flavors from Andalusia and Arabia.
Both dinner options are complemented by the Moon Bar, a secluded rooftop terrace with wide open skies above, serving signature cocktails and traditional shisha. Be warned though: Even after a scorching hot day exploring the desert, you may still need your blanket as the welcome dew cools the hot decks.
In addition to falconry, you can also participate in activities such as horseback riding, archery or stargazing. There is also a spa that offers an extensive list of treatments. The Rainforest Experience is a must – invigorating spirit, body and mind.
If the desert’s heat is too much, just 20 minutes away is Al Wadi’s sister property, Al Hamra Beach, on the shimmering Persian Gulf coast.
The sea breeze is relaxing as we board the boat that takes us to the peninsula. An intimate collection of 32 villas awaits you on a secluded private beach. Another Bedouin-inspired tented villa is our home, but there are no antelopes here. Instead, it’s a completely different world of lush vegetation, sea air, and Gulf landscapes. What has not changed between both properties is the attention of the staff. Nothing is too much trouble. Here, at Beachdeck BBQ, we can kayak, paddle and fish before tasting the decadent seafood menu.
As the sun sets once again over a sparkling sea rather than over the dunes, we’re thinking about a calmer, more romantic side of the UAE.
Al Wadi Desert, £487 per night; Al Hamra Beach, £756 per night (ritzcarlton.com)