Those following me on Instagram already know that I recently spent a long week-end at Banyan Tree Al Wadi in Ras El Khaima, a much needed staycation!
As much as I love Dubai, I was very happy to get some time off the city: when you keep waking up at 5am on a week-end, you know it's time to turn off your phone (and your brain). After 1h30 of driving, we safely arrived in an oasis of calm: Banyan Tree Al Wadi is pretty much in the middle of the desert so all you actually hear is the peaceful spa-ish music they play in the reception, nice change from Dubai's constant traffic and building humming. It instantly relaxed me. The villa wasn't ready since we arrived early but they speeded the process and by the time we finished lunch, we were able to get our key.
Our villa was lovely, lots of space, beautiful bathroom and pool. Just avoid the canon ball: the private pool is so close to the villa we flodded it... good times! I appreciated the shaded terrace, perfect for blogging and skyping with the family and we found ourselves very lucky to have quiet neighbours (the villas are very close to one another so noisy children in the neighbours pool could have easily killed the romance... Please note, I love children, but I love them better if they are well-behaved). I want to thank Banyan Tree for the free and really good wifi, that was a real treat! The villa was so comfortable we actually didn't leave it during our stay, and waking up from a nap to find a desert gazelle watching us was definitively a highlight.
I have to be honest here: the resort is aging and it feels like the villas could use a quick refurbishment: the cracked toilet seat definitively took me by surprise, so did the hanging plug in the bathroom and I wasn't expecting to have to have to call housekeeping because the toilet wouldn't flush anymore... These little details would need a little bit of work for sure but the service was so quick, efficient and smiley it's difficult to be harsh.
Now foodwise, I can't say that I was blown away. The resort offers 2 restaurants. I can't say anything about them since we didn't visit them and had all our meals at the villa but as much as I enjoyed the efficiency of the service, the cuisine was pretty random. The huge breakfast will definitively stay my favourite: we couldn't fit everything on the table!
All in all, if what you need is an escape from Dubai, then it is perfect. It is an oasis of calm and peace (well, if your neighbours are the quiet type), but if you are looking for a 5 stars hotel on top of it's game with an amazing gastronomy, you might want to rethink your choice (and get back to the basics: if you expect oysters in the desert, you might get disappointed, common sense). Banyan Tree is a nice desert escape, nothing more, nothing less.
More information here.