After planning our dream December wedding last year, it was time for a dose of serious pampering prior to the action packed December party season. But where to go?
Being a sun worshipper and having just a few days to spare for a mini-moon, we immediately looked to the United Arab Emirates with its year round sunshine and relatively short flying time of 6 hours from Heathrow.
Having both visited Dubai before, we decided to visit the lesser known Emirate of Ras Al Khaima, 45 minutes north of Dubai Airport. Here Banyan Tree have two sumptuous properties: one in the desert and one on the beach. We opted for the desert resort of Banyan Tree Al Wadi which certainly did not disappoint.
As travel professionals, we were both very familiar with the Banyan Tree brand which is synonymous with 5 star pampering and ultimate luxury. On arrival early morning, we were greeted with a refreshing cold towel and hibiscus juice while we checked in. We were then escorted to the beautiful Al Waha restaurant for breakfast where a feast of tropical fruit, sushi, pastries as well as delicious hot breakfast awaited. I opted for the divine pancakes with pecan nuts, salted caramel and summer berries washed down with a green juice and cappuccino- the perfect start to our stay.
After a brief tour of the expansive hotel facilities we were shown to our incredible villa which came complete with a private pool, opulent interiors, a huge bathroom and separate dressing room. After an hour or two of relaxation by our private pool we decided to sample the hotel’s sensational rainforest experience at the Banyan Tree Spa. Designed to invigorate the the mind and body and improve circulation, the Rainforest Experience involves walking through jets of water at varying pressures and temperatures in between steam room sessions and a trip to the snow room- not for the faint hearted! The treatment then concludes with a dip in the huge hydrotherapy pool. We loved the experience so much that we then booked a Signature Banyan Tree massage as an extra treat.
In between spa treatments and dips in our private pool, the hotel offers nature walks, cycling tours of the sand dunes, falconry, archery and horseriding at its own equestrian centre so whether you stay 4 nights, 7 nights or longer you’ll never tire of the exciting activities available.
If however, like me, you're most happy cocktail in hand by a beautiful pool, the hotel runs a regular shuttle to Banyan Tree Ras Al Khaimah Beach Hotel which boasts a pristine sandy beachfront and gorgeous infinity pool, not to mention a wonderful food and cocktail menu. Definitely worth a visit.
On the subject of food and drink, it has to be said that dining at Banyan Tree was a real treat. The hotel not only has a choice of two on-site restaurants at Al Wadi (one at the Beach Hotel) but also offers limitless options for private dining. Whether you want a private desert picnic, your own private chef in the sand dunes or prefer in-villa dining, you’re in for a real treat! One night we were lucky enough to experience private dining at Saffran Tower where we feasted on lobster, pomelo salad and a whole range of delicious treats on top of a traditional Arabian tower under the starry night sky- just magical!