Leav­ing a legacy

Make your mark by plant­ing trees at RAK’s new­est na­ture re­sort

Good (UAE) - - CONTENTS - Al Mazraa, Ras Al Khaimah, from Dhs1,600 per night ex­clud­ing taxes and fees. Tel: (07) 2067777. Taxi: Al Wadi Desert Re­sort. ritzcarl­ton.com

The term ‘oa­sis’ might be bandied around far too fre­quently in these parts, but when you stay the night at Al Wadi Desert, a Ritz-Carl­ton part­ner­ship re­sort now open in Ras Al Khaimah, it truly does feel like a lux­ury Be­douin get­away. De­spite be­ing just over an hour’s drive from Dubai, the re­sort’s po­si­tion in the heart of a desert val­ley, shel­tered by or­ange-tinged desert dunes on all sides, feels a mil­lion miles from the glitz and noise of the city, and the lack of cars makes for a peace­ful stay. Guests are trans­ported by buggy, al­though you can also get around on one of the fleet of bi­cy­cles from Char­i­cy­cle, a lo­cal com­pany that up­cy­cles bikes and puts its pro­ceeds to­wards pro­vid­ing bikes for chil­dren in refugee camps in the Mid­dle East. The bi­cy­cles are just one of a num­ber of eco-friendly mea­sures the ho­tel takes to ben­e­fit the en­vi­ron­ment and the com­mu­nity.

There are just over 100 vil­las within the prop­erty, strate­gi­cally placed to max­imise the sense of seclu­sion. We love the tented vil­las, which are a far cry from the tents we’re used to dur­ing our usual desert ex­cur­sions. Spa­cious and lux­u­ri­ous, with huge bath­tubs, over­head show­ers and cosy dress­ing gowns, this is one of those re­sorts where you’re not too in­clined to leave the room. At least you don’t have to go far for a re­fresh­ing dip – each villa has its own pri­vate plunge pool, as well as a desert-fac­ing deck for sun­bathing and watch­ing the lo­cal wildlife go by. You can even ex­tend this pri­vacy to your evening meal; in­stead of go­ing to one of the on-site restau­rants, which in­clude an In­dian restau­rant and a rooftop bar, guests can book a ta­ble on the top of a wind­tower, which has room for just two din­ers and makes an un­for­get­table spot for watch­ing the sun­set.

While the in­ti­mate set­ting and stun­ning lo­ca­tion make Al Wadi Desert un­doubt­edly one of the most ro­man­tic prop­er­ties we’ve ever vis­ited, the ho­tel is also a won­der­ful place for fam­i­lies, and one that takes great care to keep lit­tle ones en­ter­tained. As well as the nov­elty of see­ing in­dige­nous an­i­mals such as Ara­bian oryx and sand gazelles wan­der­ing past the villa, chil­dren will also love the op­por­tu­nity to get up close to owls and fal­cons dur­ing the daily bird show, or to go horse or camel rid­ing in the dunes. There are even plans in place to open an eco-friendly an­i­mal sanc­tu­ary and pet­ting zoo on the prop­erty by the end of the year, with the aim of help­ing chil­dren re­con­nect with na­ture and wildlife – a wel­come move in the age of the iPad. Af­ter all, who wants to be play­ing Poke­mon Go when there are ac­tual oryx to spot around the re­sort?

Grown ups can get in­volved in the eco-friendly side of the re­sort too. Apart from en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly ac­tiv­i­ties such as na­ture walks and horse rid­ing, you can also con­trib­ute to the prop­erty

it­self by plant­ing a ghaf tree, part of an en­vi­ron­men­tal ini­tia­tive to ‘green the desert’ and in­crease the pop­u­la­tion of in­dige­nous plant species in the re­sort and be­yond. It’s a great way to in­vest in the en­vi­ron­ment – plus, it gives you an ex­cuse to visit again and see how your tree is do­ing. We’ll def­i­nitely be do­ing just that.

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