The five-star Waldorf Astoria in Ras Al Khaimah may be one of the UAE’s finest tourist destinations, but it also rolls out the red carpet for business travellers to the northern emirates.
Executive board meeting packages have become a mainstay of the hotel alongside upmarket UAE and international tourists.
As well as boardrooms, the packages offer team-building experiences such as a chef’s master class in the Japanese restaurant, or a round on the Al Hamra Golf Club just opposite.
While the Waldorf does not have its own conference centre, the Al Hamra Conference Centre next door is part of the same building.
Conferences can accommodate up to 600 guests in a theatre set-up and 300 in cabaret (round tables of six), and the boardrooms are equipped for state-of-the-art presentations – one features a sea view and a huge white-marble topped table; the other faces towards the golf course with a larger breakout room for coffee.
Overnight guests at the hotel can choose between outsize executive rooms and suites, as the hotel was originally intended to be a luxury apartment building on the beach. Many have balconies for an unforgettable sunset at the end of the business day.
The rooms are fully soundproofed, so no worries about being disturbed by holidaying families next door. For working, there is a large desk with a comfortable chair, although they are positioned a little too far from the sockets.
While the high-speed Wi-Fi is free throughout the hotel, confusingly you still have to tick a paid-for connection on your screen to get connected.
For dinner, the Waldorf boasts two of the finest in Ras Al Khaimah: the Lexington Grill, named after its namesake in the original New York Waldorf Astoria, for top-quality steaks; and the Umi Japanese restaurant with seafood and fish flown in specially from Tokyo.
Service in this hotel is first-rate. They can handle the protocol for any guest from a sheikh to a Fortune 500 CEO.
For evening relaxation, there is a 25-metre lap pool for adults only as well as the family pool; the gym offers the full range but you could easily miss the rowing machine in an adjacent room as I did on a previous trip.
Prices start from Dh1,350 for a classic room to Dh22,588 for the Imperial Suite. Which one you check into depends on your company’s travel budget.
q&a executive luxury
Peter Cooper reveals more detail about an executive stay at the Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah:
What does an executive boardroom package cost?
The hotel’s full-day delegate package starts at Dh270 per person, with a 10 per cent service charge added on. It includes welcome coffee, the meeting room rental for the day (from 9am to 6pm), audio- visual equipment and meeting stations, a flip chart, mid- morning and midafternoon coffee breaks with snacks, a working lunch and bottled water on the tables.
How many can be accommodated in each of the boardrooms?
Al Hamra Boardroom can accommodate up to 18 guests, while Luuli can accommodate up to 28 – both in typical boardroom set-ups.
How do I get to the hotel?
Take the seaplane from Jebel Ali and return in the hotel’s Rolls-Royce or Bentley. Three helipads are also available. Qatar Airways will offer a scheduled service to RAK International Airport from next February. Travelling by car from Dubai takes about 90 minutes.
The Wi-Fi is free, so what is the speed like?
All meeting rooms, public areas and guest rooms have complimentary Wi-Fi at a speed of 2MB. On upgrades the speed increases to 6MB: one hour costs Dh40, a day is Dh80.
What about the other executive necessities in the room?
No newspapers were delivered and there was no trouser press but there is a separate dressing area in every room. There was, however, a coffee machine and tea-making facilities.
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