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Banyan Tree Al Wadi - Ras Al Khaimah, UAE | Resort Review

Gorgeous tent villas with private infinity pools, but lacked warmth and charm.


Banyan Tree Al Wadi - Ras Al Khaimah, UAE: In the middle of the Ras Al Khaimah desert sits this luxury resort, Banyan Tree Al Wadi, an enclave of private tented villas and infinity pools to die for. It is only a short hour drive from the Dubai International Airport, but far enough from the city to be a tranquil weekend getaway. The drive to this Ras Al Khaimah resort property is a treat in itself where you can meditate on the serene expanse of orange sand dotted with bushes and trees until you get to the impressive Banyan Tree Desert Resort entrance. (Click here to see over 50 pictures of Banyan Tree Al Wadi in Ras Al Khaimah, UAE)

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First Impression/Lobby: When we got to the Banyan Tree Al Wadi, , it was very quiet and didn’t have a clue of what to expect. I wondered if it would be a very relaxing or a run-of-the mill boring stay. We entered the lobby and immediately liked what I saw: dark wood furnishings, sleek and modern design, spacious and airy with a definitely Arabic sensibility. I liked how the architecture and interiors were very well integrated with the surrounding desert.

Reception: Once inside, we were offered juice and a cool towel while we waited to register. While the staff was professional and efficient, I didn’t feel a warm welcome, but more of a cool, let’s get them processed and on their way” attitude.

The Suite: Our suite, an Al Sahari Tented Pool King Villa, was a gorgeous tented villa with its very own private deck and dreamy infinity pool—hands-down the best feature of the Banyan Tree Desert Resort.

The suite was comprised of two large rooms connected by a short hallway. The bedroom interior was fit for an Arab prince, with a king-sized bed covered in Egyptian cotton linens and fluffy comforter. It also had a bar, desk, and sofa/TV area. Large picture windows were covered with silky drapes that blocked the sun so we can sleep all day. The suite actually looked like a tent from the inside—a very posh and classy tent, but it was a bit too dark for my preference.

The bathroom was huge with a roll-top bath, toilet, monsoon shower, and designer toiletries.

The real treasure lay outside our villa. The view from the deck was simply spectacular, well worth going out of our way for. The view was even more pleasurable while lounging in our very own private infinity pool with temperatures that can be adjusted to suit our taste. A desert paradise indeed!

Room Service: They had a 24-hour room service, which was pretty attentive and efficient. Their menu was varied and had good selections of local and international dishes. They delivered our food on time and prepared it in our room in true five-star fashion complete with semi-formal table settings. The only problem was that placing the order could be quite a challenge due to the language barrier.

Housekeeping: Housekeeping did a fairly good job of servicing our room for most of our stay, but they just were not consistent: They failed to do turn down service one day, they didn’t grant our request for extra water one time, and our request for extra towels took an extremely long time.

Concierge: Their concierge was of little help to us. Trying to get information from them about their restaurants was a chore and when we finally did get information it wasn’t even accurate.

We were looking for a nice, high-end restaurant around the area. They recommended THEIR OWN restaurant, Zahara’s, which was located about 20 minutes away. When we got there we found out it was no longer a high-end restaurant but a Stone Grill, a grill-it-yourself casual type of restaurant. What a huge letdown! How could they not know their own restaurant changed from fine dining to casual?

Restaurants: Banyan Tree Desert Resort Al Wadi has two main restaurants: Al Waha and Saffron. Al Waha serves local Arabic specialties as well as international fare, while Saffron offers authentic Thai cuisine.

Pool/Spa/Activities: The hotel staff failed to inform us of the numerous activities at the resort, so we missed out on the falcon demonstration and the horse and camel rides… disappointing to say the least, especially when we asked our host who showed us to our villa about things to do at the property.

They do not have a main pool at the Ras Al Khaimah resort since all villas had their own private plunge pools. This setup had its pros and cons. It’s nice to have our own space, but sometimes it’s nice to go where others are. That wasn’t an option here.

Check-Out: Checkout was efficient but again, it was done with about as much warmth as when we arrived: None!

Overall Impression: For a five star resort as beautiful as this, the lack of information at all levels was simply inexcusable. Sure, it was a truly impressive Ras Al Khaimah resort property; it was also very quiet and relaxing, but the ill-trained staff and seeming indifference of the employees just made it less than bombastic. If I had to pick a desert resort in the area to recommend, it would be Bab al Shams Desert Resort in Dubai. Our rating for Banyan Tree Al Wadi in Ras Al Khaimah is Between Bombastic and Not.
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