City folk head north to beat the heat

Hotels full at weekend as RAK becomes the destination of choice

RAS AL KHAIMAH // Hot town, summer in the city, and everyone heads for … Ras al Khaimah.

The emirate's hotels are about 60 per cent full during the working week, but at weekends they are jammed to capacity as city slickers head north for a little rest and relaxation.

RAK's resorts are beginning to make the most of this and the emirate has successfully marketed itself as a weekend escape for city folk.

Step on to the first tee at the Tower Links or Al Hamra golf clubs on a Friday and you are more likely to meet a golfer from Dubai than a local resident.

Outdoor activities such as horse-riding and falconry are fully booked each weekend at the Banyan Tree Al Wadi resort and nature reserve.

"Ras al Khaimah is a lot more of a nature destination than the other emirates and it's a relatively new destination so people are curious about it," said Ryan Ingram, the reserve and recreation manager.

"It's not far from Dubai and it satisfies a lot of people's needs. It's fresh, natural and a healthy environment where people from the city can get some fresh air."

Young couples and expatriate families go for adventures, such as a one-on-one falconry experience, while many Emiratis come to the Banyan Tree for the spa treatments.

Young Emiratis from the city come to reconnect with their desert heritage.

"They're curious because it's part of their heritage, but they haven't been exposed so directly before," said Mr Ingram.

Sailing and yachting at the Al Hamra Marina and the new Al Jeer Port are popular among Dubai and Abu Dhabi visitors too.

And, of course, there is the allure of the mountains.

In the winter, Emiratis drive cross-country to see the flooding and waterfalls that follow the rains, and diehard rock climbers, hikers and campers come year round, putting up with the heat for a little of the freedom that comes with the north.

Published: June 3, 2011 04:00 AM