Head half out, the slight crackling of fish feeding underneath providing the soundtrack to the reverie as I hang in the water and survey the scene. Ahead of me, it’s a study in blue. The cerulean of the shallows gives way to turquoise and then darker azure as the sea reaches out to meet the horizon. The perfect celeste sky stretches up from that intersection, punctuated only by the silver crescent moon, its lingering presence in daylight adding an ethereal quality to the portrait. I’m at Rixos Bab Al Bahr where spectacular theatrics, gorgeous costumes and an amazing atmospheric backdrop have me transfixed to say the least. After spending years in the Middle East, this was the first time a hotel had impressed me with its superlative live entertainment options. Two days at Rixos Bab Al Bahr and its allure had already cast a spell on me.
This all-inclusive beach resort is set on a stretch of private beach in the UAE’s northernmost emirate and has excellent family facilities, as well as adults-only areas. What’s amazing is that everyone is having a good time, thanks to multiple pools, a raft of free activities, and friendly service.
The resort is located on a cluster of man-made islands in Ras Al Khaimah, known as RAK, 10 minutes’ drive from Al Hamra Golf Club and around 45 miles from Dubai airport. First look and I was already loving the gorgeous three pyramid-shaped buildings, with waterways and a souk surrounding a lovely entertainment square. Add to that a trad wind-tower architecture and the beautiful Ottoman-inspired spa, an inviting main pool, and beach, and you got a winner.
There are also various all-inclusive activities such as beach volleyball, football, basketball, table tennis, tennis, fitness classes, and water sports like parasailing, banana boating, and kayaking.
Deluxe rooms are understated and classy, with comfy king-size beds, turquoise, taupe, and bronze tones, and marble-clad bathrooms with a large rain shower. On arrival, I was greeted by some delicious desserts and a lovely surprise bottle of grape.
The foodie factor
There are eight restaurants and six bars to choose from. Seven Heights an all-day dining restaurant that hosts a huge selection of international dishes. Breakfast is an abundant buffet of cereals, yogurts, fruits, breads and pastries, plus eggs cooked to order. From Italian to Asian, there is a dining option for every culinary mood with an array of restaurants to choose from. The Italian fare at L’olivo is top-notch and worth savoring. Apart from that,
my big favorite was the Turkish specialty restaurant-Lalezar, where melt-in-the-mouth kebabs and fragrant rice dishes as well as breakfast options are just unbelievable! The property’s gastronomic strength shines through in every bite.
The swish and sprawling Avitane Spa is one of the best I’ve tried! Post a Turkish hammam and a rejuvenating massage; it feels like my soul is cleansed too. The techniques used by the therapists are quite unique and uplifting, something I observed as they kneaded my muscles into mush.
The couple spa suite is so imperial, and the super-efficient and great therapists only add to the fabulousness of the spa.
Expect nightly entertainment from the 50-strong animation team, with Strictly-style dance shows, live music, karaoke, and quiz games. Trendy pool parties shows so well put up that you won’t stop smiling alongside the great culinary fare and incredible all-inclusive option; make this one a sure-shot hospitality marvel!
Note: The critic was invited by the hotel, but all opinions are her own.
Where: Street# 11, Al Marjan Island
Phone: 07202 0000
Room rates start from AED 1,025