“ Located along the northern beach front of Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates. „
Al Hamra Village Golf Village and beach resort
When we booked our cruise through a company called Iglu Cruises they offered us three nights before the cruise for an amazing 100 pounds each so we accepted and began planning what we wanted to do in Dubai. However we soon discovered that this resort is in the UAE but three emirates away from Dubai, about 85 kilometers away or 1.5 hours drive or a 300 dirham taxi ride. This somewhat scuppered our plans. We looked on the website and we were informed that there was a free hotel shuttle into Dubai and so we thought that maybe all was not lost but as we had booked and paid for the holiday we were stuck with what we had.
We arrived in Dubai Airport at about 7.00 am local time and finally got on our way to Ras Al Khaimah where our hotel was by about 9.20 am. We arrived at the hotel tired and a bit fed up just before 11.00 am. The reception only had one member of staff on duty and so checking in was very slow but finally another lady turned up and things moved a bit quicker. However we had only just got into our room with time for a quick toilet visit before we had to get back to Reception for an 'Information Meeting'.
We wanted to get to this meeting in order to find out about the 'free shuttle bus' to Dubai and also what other possibilities there were for us in the three days we had. We were in for a big disappointment as apparently the shuttle bus was fully booked on the days we were there and anyway it only went to Deira Mall just near the airport and not to Dubai city at all. This is when we discovered the cost of a taxi was about AED300 each way so we decided to go with the Dubai city tour that was being offered at AED 250 each.
We have since discovered that another company Sinaa Tours offer a private car for four people for 8 hours for AED550 so had we known that we would have gone with that as we could have asked to go where we wanted for the times we needed and not have to be dragged around the Dubai hotels at the end but you always make a few mistakes on holiday and this was ours.
Back to our hotel. We had a standard room with a view of the golf course. The view was certainly very pleasant and we had a small balcony with a wooden table and two chairs to sit on to enjoy this view as well as watch the golfers making their way around the course. The room was furnished in dark heavy wooden furniture, a wardrobe (with a coded safe), a desk with cupboard hiding the fridge and mini bar, two bedside tables with two small drawers and a wooden unit to hold the TV which didn't open at all. The TV we had only played in black and white so everything had a rather old fashioned retro look about it. The bed was a large double with quite a hard mattress and very firm pillows but comfortable enough.
The floors were tiled and there was a very nice Persian rug on the floor. The room was standard, not big but it served the purpose of being somewhere to sleep but was in no way a luxury room but at the price we paid we really couldn't complain. The lighting was provided by three standard lights which really didn't give enough light at night to read with unless you were right under them. During the day the large window onto the balcony did give a good light as we opened the curtains and the net ones right back.
The bathroom was quite large with a huge bath and the shower was over the bath. It was all white with white tiles and a bidet, toilet and basin all were clean and worked well. There were some holes drilled in the tiles around the bath that looked like they had held large handles which had been removed leaving rather unsightly holes. A small basket was filled with toiletries including, shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, shower gel, a comb, shower cap, shoe cleaning cloth, sewing kit and a shoe horn. The shampoos etc were not replaced after day one though I noticed. There was a small air dryer and a makeup/shaving mirror which had a light which I did find useful as the bathroom was not that bright.
The sheets were lovely fresh cotton ironed sheets and there was a blanket and cover on the bed too. There were four towels two large and two small and these were replaced with clean ones daily despite the fact we hung them on the racks.
There was supposed to be wifi internet and indeed my laptop picked it up but there was something wrong with it and they told me at reception that I would have to go to the business centre at the main Al Hamra Fort hotel to get on the internet which was not very useful. The cost at the hotel was strange in that it was AED 10 for half an hour, AED 20 for an hour using their machines but if you used your own laptop then it cost AED40 for an hour so I used theirs for just an hour but could not upload photos from my laptop as I had not taken a USB pen so family had to wait for photos on facebook.
Breakfast was included in our room rate and very nice it was too. The dining room was beside the pool and you could choose to eat beside the pool outside or in the room. As it was quite cool early in the morning we ate inside on the first morning. There was a buffet breakfast with quite a decent range of stuff on offer. Three fruit juices and water, several fresh fruits cut up as well as tinned and a fruit salad, there was the fresh muesli mix, yoghurts, cereals in small packets, cold meats, cheese and salads, pastries, toast and a huge array of tiny pots of jams etc. The hot stuff was also excellent, beef bacon, chicken sausages, hash browns, samosas, beans and a bean mix called 'foul memsallah'! There were also pancakes with syrup and French toast and a chef cooking fresh omelets too. We certainly had nothing to complain about here and the coffee was good too, offered as soon as we were seated and a second one was quickly provided when we asked for it. All the staff were lovely, smiled, were polite and helpful, efficient but not in your face which was just perfect.
We had one lunch in the bar area around the pool. I had a very nice salad in a large bowl with plenty fo cols meats and cheese and my husband enjoyed a steak sandwich which came with chips and salad. We also had a large bottle of water and this came to a total of AED 64 which is about 10 quid ,
We had a coffee at the main Al Hamra Fort hotel which is part of the same complex on one day and that came with four tiny tarts and this cost us AED 36 or about 6 pounds.
We could have eaten at one of the restaurants at the Al Hamra Fort Hotel but we decided that we would try the same restaurant as we ate breakfast as they were offering an 'International cuisine' buffet. This was AED 125 which is about 21 pounds but the drinks were about a fiver each for a glass of wine and a beer.
The buffet was excellent and you would have to be an extremely fussy person not to enjoy it. There was a tomato soup with croutons and fresh bread, followed by around 20 different salads including calamari and sun dried tomato, Thai beef salad, smoked fish, melt in your mouth slices of smoked chicken, seafood and all the usual olives, cheese, sweet corn lettuce etc .
The hot dishes included squid in lobster sauce, fillet steak which melted in your mouth, tasty fish, paella, Himalayan rice, gilled breast of chicken, mashed potato with cheese, stir fired vegetables in oyster sauce, broccoli in a dish, a cauliflower dish, spinach with pine nuts and so many more that I have forgotten. All the dishes that we had between us were delicious and I wish that I could have done justice to others but I had spotted some tasty looking desserts.
My husband had something called 'oum ali' which looked pretty awful but was a kind of bread and butter pudding Arabic style. I tested, in the interest of research naturally, a few of the others on offer. There was a chocolate and coconut pudding, only an inch cube honestly, a Turkish delight milk pudding, crème caramel (not so great), a coconut milk pudding, a carrot cake and they were all delicious. I did look at the others but felt so full that I had to pass but everything was beautifully presented and they kept the dishes looking good and filled throughout the time we were there.
There is an entire mall of shops just a 10 minute walk away from our golf village. The supermarket sells bottled water there for AED1 per litre bottle so we got 3 for less than 50p. There were a lot of shops there including cafes like Starbucks and café Nero, Baskin and Robbins and Dunkin' Donuts. Mothercare was amongst others there.
Golf and other entertainment:
I have no idea what it costs to play on the course but it looked very well manicured and the Golf club house was impressive. This is apparently a 'links style 'course designed by Peter Harradine that meanders around the sea water lagoon with four sub lagoons. A wide range of Water sports were on offer at the Al Hamra Fort hotel but as we were not interested we didn't pursue the options or prices.
The complex itself:
The entire complex is being constructed on the site of an old fort. At present there is the shopping mall, the Golf Village villas, a complex of residential apartments, the Al Hamra Fort Hotel, the half completed Al Hamra Palace Hotel, the lovely golf course, a huge Convention Centre and a partially built Presidential Palace which is a 20 story residential apartment building selling units. The three bedroom units are selling at AED 900,000 or about 160 thousand pounds if anyone is interested.
Would I recommend?
Yes the hotel cannot really be faulted for its service and facilities but the problem is that it is miles from Dubai. If you want a reasonably priced beach holiday with golf and water sports then this is fine. If you are coming to the UAE to see Dubai then stay in Dubai and don't stay in Ras Al Khaimah as it is a long way from Dubai.
I trust this has been of some guidance or at least some interest to you and thanks for reading. This review may be posted on other sites under my same user name.