Last weekend, my wee family and I headed off to Ras AL Khaimah for a staycation at Acacia Hotel. A drive across the brilliantly red dunes with scenic views of the sea heading towards Um Al Quwain is always a retreat in itself for city dwellers like ourselves.
Acacia Hotel, operated under Bin Majid Hotels & Resorts, is a 4 star property located in the heart of the industrial area of Ras Al Khaimah. The property was built in 2010, and has an airy, welcoming vibe about it. The check-in process here was smooth, and as we got there at 2.30 pm (and the buffet lunch closes at 3.30 pm!) we dumped our belongings in our Junior Suite and headed off to Al Nakhla.
Al Nakhla is the hotel’s all-day dining restaurant, and breakfast, lunch and dinner are served here buffet-style. The menu is very intercontinental and includes soft-drinks and juices, salads, mains and desserts. Some noteworthy dishes include the Sweet Melon Carpaccio (essentially very finely shaven sweet melon served with a special balsamic drizzle), the Baked Fish with Dill Cream Sauce and the Cajun Roasted Potatoes. The highlight of the buffet for me was the desserts corner. Loved their Hazelnut Tiramisu, the Baked Yoghurt and the decadently warm Apple Cleforte.
Satiated after our hour-long drive with all that food, we headed back to the room. For a suite, this room isn’t as spacious as I’d hoped it to be. A small 3-seater couch with a television screen makes up for the living-room space at the front, and the room is dominated by a large King sized bed. Facing the bed is a large 32 inch LED television screen, complete with satellite tv.
My first instinct when walking into a hotel room is to draw open the curtains. Here, it turned out that half the curtains covered the wall! The other half revealed a small, square window with a view to the hotel’s pool. Wouldn’t it be nicer to have a wider window to make better use of this beautiful view? It would also let more sunshine into the room.
Not surprisingly, the bathroom is also as compact as the room, and has a shower facility with no tub. My fizzy Lush bath bomb went back home with me.
The room includes the usual amenities such as complimentary tea and coffee, bathroom toiletries, hair drier, a fridge and a safe. We had to call room service for extra bath towels and a pillow for my little one. The room service here is 24/7 and impressively efficient.
And did I mention free Wifi? The Wifi here is super-fast, and what I love best is that there was no elongated sign-ins required. This helped me keep my Insta Stories going:
That afternoon I met up with a friend at Garden Brew, the hotel’s café corner. Elaborately decorated with faux blooms and located right adjacent to the pool, this very kitsch, cosy corner is a lovely spot to sip on coffee, catch up on a good book or meet up for a hearty laugh or two. They even have beer on tap if you’re so inclined!
For serious drinkers, Acacia Hotel has Flamingo Bar and if you want to buy your own, Cellars is just a 5 minutes’ walk away.
When the sun’s glare got less forboding (a little into 4 pm), we headed to the pool. A weekend swim is the highlight of any staycation for my little one, and she is getting impressively good at it. The pool at Acacia is manned by a lifeguard. I was a little perturbed to find his chair empty most of the time, and then I realized the poor guy was observing from a shaded corner… it really is very hot out there; thank goodness the water was so deliciously cold!
Come dinner time, we decided to venture out into town. The hotel has valet service, but also a very convenient, shaded parking space to make coming in and leaving a breeze. Town center is under 20 minutes away from the property, and we headed off to yet another Bin Majid hotel, this time it was Mangrove.
We had a booking at Noodle Corner, an Indo-Chinese restaurant located on the 5th floor of the hotel. As the name suggests, the restaurant is at a ‘corner’ of the floor, and elaborately decorated with Chinese good luck tokens and red lanterns. We sat by the window looking out to the Ras Al Khaimah corniche, and enjoyed a very delicious three-course meal (more on this in my next post!).
We got back to the room around 11, and they were playing reruns of Star Trek on Channel 2. Idle television, a comfy bed and a snug, soft Egyptian cotton duvet… weekend bliss right there! I must have dozed off well before the ‘Force Awakened’, and would have happily stayed in that sedentary state had it not been the alarm, waking us up for breakfast.
Back at Al Nakhla, we packed in a hearty breakfast. The buffet has all the breakfast must-haves including cereals, fruit, breads, foul meddames, sausages and more. At one corner is a live eggs counter, where you can have yours made the way you like it. I had mine scrambled with extra green chili and a sprinkle of cheese, delish! I also loved their coffee brew here, and bet it was a fresh roast. I actually had three cups! I’m morphing into a black coffee babe.
Check-out is at 12 noon, but you can postpone this to as late as 4 pm! This is the latest we’ve ever checked out of a hotel, and gave us so much extra time to splash about in the pool, and even have an hour of beauty sleep.
If you are looking for a weekend away to just chill and cut off from the rest of the world, this is the stay for you. With rooms going for as low as AED 195 a night for 4 star service, Acacia Hotel already has a huge fan following. The facilities are neat and modern, the staff friendly, helpful and efficient and the late checkout is the icing on the cake.
For more information on Acacia Hotel and the other Bin Majid properties visit www.binmajid.com or give them a call on 800 5700.