Waldorf Astoria RAK

One day, when I get my dream summer home, this is what I want it to look like. This airy, lightweight feeling is mastered throughout the regal Waldorf Astoria in Ras Al Khaimah, the shining star of hotels in the seaside emirate.

I’ve always loved staycations that mean no airport queues or jet lag, so the one hour drive to RAK from Dubai was a perfect escape. We actually drove by camels on the way – very Arabian nights!

 

The Welcome

Once we reached, the valet area was all high ceilings, marble finishing, valet attendants in taupe and a few Bentleys thrown in for good measure. We had arrived.

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I began clapping when I saw the lobby. It’s actually my second time here, and yes, I clapped the first time, too. There’s a clock tower created by Smith of Derby elegantly in the center of a spacious area with the reception to the left and the Peacock Alley cafe to the right. But it’s not just any cafe. It’s an interior design heaven with shades of cream and peacock blue… and a grand staircase and chandelier made of movie dreams.

Sweet Suite

The rooms at the Waldorf Astoria have such meticulous attention to detail. Thought was put into every corner of the room. As an homage to the aesthetic of the regal brand’s other properties, the main lights in the room are designed around stag coral. It didn’t stop me from jumping on the bed for joy.

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The bathrooms are so elegant. Even the showers have glittering copper-toned mosaic tiles that made me feel like a little mermaid, while all the bathroom products were Salvatore Ferragamo.

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Mirrors, mosaics and red roses… Who’s the fairest of them all?

 

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Ferragamo bath products! Yes, I shamelessly took some products home

There was a bright red rose in between the his-and-hers sinks and a large standalone bathtub made for two. Did I mention the attached walk-in wardrobe and vanity area? (Hey hubby, take notes).

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All this and I’m still inside admiring the interior of the room. Steps away was the loveliest balcony terrace overlooking a stunning view of manicured gardens, pools (hey, swim-up pool bar!) and the blue, blue sea.

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I could sit here for days and become a poet

 

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That’s what I call a sea view

Food-Tastic

Lexington Grill is a steakhouse with some serious New York flair. Go for steak with mushroom sauce and as many sides as you can – I have never had creamier, tastier mashed potatoes. I would go all the way to RAK for dinner here just for those mashed potatoes. 😀

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Lexington Grill steak house

By day, this was also a second venue where breakfast is served – they encourage families with children to head to the bigger buffet restaurant so that this one retains a relaxed, romantic vibe for couples and adults.

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Brekkie!

Sushi lovers will rejoice with UMI, a fantastic Japanese eatery complete with a teppanyaki bar and a chef with some funny theatrics. He balanced a big bowl of rice on his knife and flipped it for goodness sake.

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Marjan is a traditional Arabic restaurant ideal for families, while 17 Squared is a cool bar on the 17th floor with panoramic views ideal for groups of friends looking for a fun night out.

17 squared

Spa-mazing

I saved best for last. There’s a reason this spa has won so many global awards. Just look at this treatment room:

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Don’t worry: They can’t see you, but you can see them 😀

I really felt like I had traveled to an exotic, jungle country. And my therapist, Dee, was amazing and actually focused on my problem areas (too much time in front of a computer, ma’am? Guilty!). Afterwards, I got to relax in an area with magazines, vanilla tea, and berries with yoghurt. Bliss!

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This hotel is just perfect whether you’re a couple looking for a romantic getaway, a big family with many people to please, or a group of girls on a fun trip. There is something for everyone here and because it is so spacious, that feeling of exclusivity is maintained. We sat by the pool for hours taking dips, munching on snacks and catching up on reading. By the time we had to leave, we were already planning our return. Hands down one of my favourite hotels in the UAE!

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#WhatToPack

Channel the laidback, breezy vibe of Ras Al Khaimah in this ensemble made for poolside fun in the sun!

 

pool or spa outfit

 


Ruffle dress
215 AED – pixiemarket.com

Tart cut out bathing suit
220 AED – theoutnet.com

Havaianas cushioned shoes
84 AED – 6pm.com

Rebecca de Ravenel evening jewelry
1,010 AED – modaoperandi.com

Ray-Ban round frame sunglasses
390 AED – theoutnet.com
Guest Post by Rupert Wright of Ashbright
Welcome
 
Paris holds no terrors for well-heeled travellers, who can check into one of the city’s eleven palaces such as ­ the Georges V, Plaza Athénée, Le Bristol or my favourite, Le Meurice. But for those on any kind of budget, finding a decent place to stay in the French capital can be a challenge. Bedrooms smaller than a bathroom, bathrooms smaller than a bidet, we’ve all stayed at one of them and lived to regret it. So, it’s with great pleasure that I have found almost the perfect Parisian hotel – and you don’t need to be a tech billionaire to afford it. The Bedford has been family owned and run for more than a hundred years, combining Swiss roots, French flair and English tradition. It benefits from strong leadership, attention to detail, and a staff eager to look after you. With just 140 rooms, it is large enough to intimate, but not so large that you are anonymous. It’s a 4 star, but deserves more.
 
The rooms
 
Parquet flooring; high ceilings; comfortable beds and pillows; keys rather than plastic cards; and best of all, real switches, that turn the lights on and off. The Bedford has sensibly ignored many of the technical traps that can make staying in a hotel room more challenging than setting up your own satellite transmission site. The result is a place that combines understated elegance with modern touches and old school service. Some rooms overlook the rue de l’Arcade, others look over a courtyard, but all are a decent size and a muted colour. There is air-conditioning too, which is a relief when the summer strikes.
 
Eating
 
Breakfast is a buffet in a glorious belle époque room, boasting stucco reliefs and a glass roof. Dinner happens here too, French cuisine and fairly formal. There’s also a relaxed bistro/bar that serves meals and cocktails.
 
 
Location
 
A stone’s throw from the Place de la Madeleine, the Place de la Concorde and the Tuileries Gardens, and the Opera, this is one of the best areas to stay in Paris. (Marcel Proust used to live just around the corner). It is a lively area, with great boutiques, wine bars and an eclectic mix of restaurants, Japanese, Italian, Chinese, Korean, Lebanese and French too.
 
Don’t miss
 
The Bedford knows that many people like to travel with their pets, so they are allowed to stay too.
 
 
HOTEL BEDFORD, 17, RUE DE L’ARCADE 75008 PARIS Tel. : +33 (0)1 44 94 77 77 Fax : +33 (0)1 44 94 77 97 More information at www.hotel-bedford.com
 
Rooms from €250; Suites from €450

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Sara Hamdan

Welcome to a magazine editor’s guide to luxury hotels and what to wear when you’re there! My work has appeared in: The International New York Times, Rolling Stone, Variety and CNN Travel. I’ve held editorial roles at VIVA Magazine, Dubai Magazine and Stylist Arabia.  Now, I freelance for the likes of Google, CNN and Savoir Flair!

Editing travel pages was always my favourite part of working for lifestyle magazines. I started this blog out of a love of beautiful hotels that provide the fairytale escape of a day as a princess where breakfast is a buffet and chocolates appear on my pillow.

PR queries, feedback and compliments? Email sara@holidaysinheels.com!