Literally, it was a warm welcome, a warm chocolate-chip cookie, to be exact.
The entryway to DoubleTree by Hilton Resort and Spa on Al Marjan Island doesn’t give away much about the scale of the property. The beautiful lobby extends vertically, opening to their various restaurants, multiple pools and of course, the beach.
After checking in and grabbing my cookie, a club car outside took us into the Bay Residence. This is the premium offering of the hotel with high-end suites, a separate ladies’ spa and exclusive beach access — all of which are either chargeable or not accessible to regular guests. For residents looking for privacy, or for some peace and quiet, Bay Residence is the perfect choice as it is an oasis within an oasis.
The community vibe of the Bay Residence is a definite plus. Families taking walks, new mothers with their prams, older couples walking to and from the beach — you could almost forget it’s a hotel. Each building is no more than two storeys tall, which adds to the feeling of exclusivity. The aesthetically pleasing suite had lush carpets, a work area, and a beautiful balcony.
Where to eat
As always, I started my stay with food, this time the Friday brunch. Bringing together the best of their restaurants, the menu features Vespa (Italian), Meze (Turkish) and Brasserie (French-European) highlights.
This was followed by an incredibly relaxing massage and a short siesta, before I headed out for dinner. I didn’t think I could eat much after the brunch. However, a meal at Vespa turned that thought meaningless. Having ordered specials that included tomato and mozzarella foam, succulent duck and half a pizza, I even found place for a classic tiramisu. We couldn’t get over how fresh all the ingredients were, and how it all tasted home-made yet gourmet.
The next day, after a sumptuous breakfast buffet, I went to the beach, to mostly people-watch as I warmed my toes. It would be so easy to do nothing here all day, but there’s so much you could do.
What to do
There are a variety of water activities to choose from, or you could get on their unique Tarzan float. Touted as the largest in the UAE, it has two trampolines, two high-dive boards and a rope swing. Kids have their own share of activities with water slides, a climbing wall and other fun games.
My last meal before heading back to hectic Dubai was lunch at Meze. Once again, I was pleased by how fresh the food tasted. While they have many seafood specialities, their Angus beef steak and refreshing pomegranate salad were the stars for me. The restaurant also provides shisha and has a beautiful outdoor seating area with a nice view.
At check-out, the two things I left thinking about the most were the food and the beautiful location. From what I tried of the 14 restaurants, a staycation here would be a food lover’s dream. Great service, amazing chefs and fresh ingredients are their strengths. Adding to that, Al Marjan Island itself is quickly becoming the destination of choice in Ras Al Khaimah. I loved the property for being inclusive to every kind of tourist, be it large families, couples or guests who want premium attention.
What we recommend
Try restaurants Vespa and Meze. The premium stay at Bay Residence is worth the spend.
Location: Al Marjan Island, Ras Al Khaimah
Cost: Regular starts at Dh779 per night including breakfast, Bay Residence Suites start at Dh1,000 per night (good for a family of two adults and two children)