Recently your property was flagged. What does this entail?
Our resort flagging was a strong, symbolic moment highlighting the arrival of The Ritz-Carlton brand in Ras Al Khaimah. All the work done in the last year came to life on this flagging day.

What do you feel were the key transformations in making the transition from a partner to a branded entity?
Operating as a partner hotel during a year gave us the opportunity to renovate the hotel, ramp up our operations to becoming a Ritz-Carlton resort, innovate our service offering, select and recruit new talents and train our Ladies & Gentlemen. The transition was smooth and gradual in our operations, but the most significant and visible change is definitely our resort refurbishment, which took place in all areas of the resort, from the villas to the restaurant or the beautiful Lobby Lounge.

What is one of the most substantial renovations made to the property in al Wadi Desert?
Our signature restaurant was entirely renovated and a new concept was created, switching from a renowned Asian restaurant to Farmhouse, a farm-to-fork concept serving smoked meats and grilled dishes. The restaurant boasts colorful, vintage interiors by Kristina Zanic, and the experience is focused around premium and sustainable (natural) cuisine.

Al Rimal Pool Villa, Al Wadi Desert

Al Rimal Pool Villa, Al Wadi Desert

Ritz Carlton prides itself in procuring the very best in luxury experiences for their guests and I’m sure you actively investigate what’s next on the horizon for luxury travel, can you tell us about any trends that you see developing? And how you are implementing them now?
The future is in experiential luxury. We are focusing our efforts in innovating our guest experience and adding more activities to our recreation portfolio. Our guests travel to collect moments, memories, experience something out of the ordinary.

Soon enough, guests will be able to climb one of our watchtowers on the resort, or attend the Oryx feeding in the morning with our nature reserve experts.

Ras Al Khaimah is the most pristine emirate in the UAE, with beautiful desert landscapes, a beautiful coast and the highest mountain in the UAE. There is a demand from travelers looking to explore the UAE beyond Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and in quest for adventure, exploration. Ras Al Khaimah is the ideal destination for these travelers, being just one hour from Dubai yet offering such a wide portfolio of adventure. Recreation options are endless in RAK, and we have one of the most active and fast-growing Tourism Board, supporting this vision of creating an adventure destination just outside of Dubai. The new zilpine launched last week is just an example of this expansion.

Reception Area, Ritz Carlton Al Wadi Desert

Reception Area, Ritz Carlton Al Wadi Desert

Tell us what guest can expect when they check in to either of your properties in RAK?
Each of our resorts strives to offer a remote luxury sanctuary, away from the bustle of the city. The Al Wadi Nature Reserve is the perfect setting to disconnect and reconnect with oneself, while our beach resort provides an idyllic island-inspired experience on a private stretch of beach. Our Ladies & Gentlemen truly bring the Ritz-Carlton experience to life, looking after our guests’ every need in a personalized way.

How do the properties differ from one another? Can guests use amenities at both?
They complete each other in offering very distinct experiences available to all guests. Synergies exist between the two resorts, giving us the opportunity to craft very unique itineraries for our guests. Guests staying at Al Wadi Desert can enjoy a day on the beachfront and a dinner overlooking the sea, while our beach resort guests can enjoy a day of desert adventure, attend our falcon show and dine in front of the waterhole at our desert resort.

Ritz Carlton Al Hamra Beach

Ritz Carlton Al Hamra Beach

I understand the Al Wadi property has a farm to table restaurant. Please tell us more about this concept and how/if you are partnering with local farming communities?
Both Farmhouse and Shore House offer concepts seeking to develop sustainable practices. Our organic garden is developing at Al Wadi Desert and our chefs use local products for anything they can source in the region. Shore House chefs work closely with fishermen in Fujairah who deliver fish to our resort on weekly basis.

Looking forward what is your vision and long-term strategy for Ritz Carlton in Ras Al Khaimah?
We aim to becoming the leading luxury operator in Ras Al Khaimah and the UAE, by crafting distinctive experiences that exude the warmth and elegance of the Emirati culture for families, couples and exclusive groups.

About The Author

Deve Sanford

Influenced by her international upbringing and travels, the importance of being culturally aware resonated with Deve at an early age and continues to lead her down her career path. After receiving her degree from Southern Methodist University in Fine Art, Foreign Language and Business, Deve has worked in various career sectors and is currently a partner in a thriving international distribution company and actively curates art exhibitions worldwide. Creating a solid career reputation and building on her success she began incorporating more of her personal aspirations into her life and now dedicates her free time in supporting organizations that transforms the lives of women and children in developing countries and continually participates in the encouragement of cultural art exchange platforms that give artists the opportunity to exhibit internationally.

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