Ras Al Khaimah: Desert Meets Development

A mere 45 minute drive, or dock to dock sea plane, from Dubai you’ll find Ras Al Khaimah, until now a lesser known Emirate making big leaps in the luxury hospitality world. The palatial new Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah is one of the latest properties to open its doors to a burgeoning 5 star crowd here. We checked it out and found it a great accompaniment to Dubai with its proximity to endless sand dunes, stellar service and acres of luxuriant space.

A few of our favourite things:

Beach and pool chilling: The Waldorf Astoria is set on a wide strip of private sandy beach, equipped with super comfy sun beds looking out to sea. By the main pool, they bring round complimentary mango ice lollies and iced water regularly – ideal for us sun-worshippers! The sleek infinity edged lap pool on the other side of the grounds is great for those wanting to get some “proper” swimming done if pool side posing is not your thing.

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Mint tea in Peacock Alley: Peacock Alley is a Waldorf Astoria hallmark – the original being the area at Waldorf Astoria New York where ladies used to strut like peacocks in their evening finery on their way to dinner in the early 1900s. The Ras Al Khaimah modern-day version is a glamorous Arabian take on the space – sweeping staircases, a beautiful fountain and high ceilings. It’s a great spot to people watch whilst enjoying a refreshing mint tea, served on a silver platter in a fabulous tea pot, natch!

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Meze: So fresh and delicious, the meze at Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah is addictive. The food at the hotel and all its restaurants is amazing without exception, but simple meze enjoyed by the pool was my favourite. Yum.

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Having a personal concierge: Every guest at Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah has their own expert personal concierge who is on hand to make sure your stay is seamless. These ladies and gentlemen greet you as soon as you arrive, show you around your (humongous) room, and then act as your first point of call for any request, so it’s super personalised service for every guest.

Sailing: If the heat gets too much, take to the water! A catamaran trip and a dip in the warm Arabian Sea is a fun way to spend the afternoon – you can catch a beauty of a sunset too.

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The Desert: It’s on your doorstep, literally, so it’s a real must to experience. Just a short drive away are dramatic sand dunes – the proximity to space and quietness is surprising especially after a few days in Dubai. Waldorf Astoria can arrange an unforgettable picnic with a difference out on the dunes – a really spectacular experience, complete with Persian rugs, a chef and tea and macaroons on the sand.

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Check out www.waldorfastoria.com for more information.

The Success of Golf for Kids at Paradis Hotel and Golf Club, Mauritius

All about Sebastien Ollivier….

Golf with a view

Golf with a view

Step into our lives…  Sebastien Ollivier, the handsome, French 36 year old golf pro who has been at Beachcomber’s Paradis Hotel & Golf Club since 2006 and has built up a superb team of four golf pro instructors to help the guests of Paradis Hotel.

Sebastien Ollivier.... The Golf Pro at Paradis Hotel and Golf Club, Mauritius

Sebastien Ollivier…. The Golf Pro at Paradis Hotel and Golf Club, Mauritius

Sebastien is modest to a tee…. In fact when asked what his highest achievement has been to date he does not reel off accolades of prizes but tells us that teaching a young Mauritian hotel cleaner and ball “picker upper” to play golf to a high level is his biggest achievement to date. In fact the man in question is now one of the most popular golf pros at Paradis Hotel. Sebastien has a scratch handicap so we knew as did the other guests that children are in very capable hands! In fact Sebastien has won 12 Grand Prix Golf Championships when he was an amateur so capable hands is an understatement!

Sebastien has recently launched the Junior Golf Academy at Paradis Hotel and Golf Club, Mauritius and shared some top tips on what he likes to teach children:

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Heading off to golf! Don’t forget hats, sunglasses collared shirts and trainers.. all required to play on this Spectacular golf course.

  1. Teach children a good grip, good balance and good fluidity
  2. Don’t make them try to hit the ball too hard
  3. Have fun with them, encourage and support the children
  4. Show them that where the club goes the ball goes
  5. Come with friends..the golf academy takes a maximum of 6 children in one lesson so this keeps it very affordable
  6. Explain the rules of a round of golf including golf etiquette
Let the lesson begin...

Let the lesson begin…

A drive in the golf buggy to tour the golf course and talk through the rules and golf etiquette.

A drive in the golf buggy to tour the golf course and talk through the rules and golf etiquette

Sebastien – What do you suggest families do if they want their children to try golf?

“Think about booking a one hour lesson for your children with an instructor and see how you go… “

First lesson Sebastien teaches is that concentration is key to control the ball.

First lesson Sebastien teaches is that concentration is key to control the ball.

Sebastien teaches the children top tips in order to build confidence and skill!

Sebastien teaches the children top tips in order to build confidence and skill!

Sebastien commented that year after year children come back and play with instructors who they have played with for 7 or 10 years. Even on holiday at a resort golf course the guests improve. The Junior Golf Academy is a one week programme. It is 3 hours long each day and the children get a picture and souvenir at the end of it. This is good for children aged 6 – 12 but the one hour lesson is a good starting point for children from 4 years up.

Practice makes perfect!

Practice makes perfect!

Sebastian – What is your main goal?

Longer term I would love to see Paradis build a smaller golf course with 3 or 4 holes specifically for children. It would take a 40 to 50 minute journey to play. Watch this space…

What is most impressive about the golf at Paradis?

 

Impressive Views

Impressive Views

The location. Beach and sea around the course which is located on the stunning Le Morne peninsula. Paradis’ Championship course is any golfer’s dream. Set amongst spectacular scenery, the fairways and greens curl along the shoreline of the bay against a backdrop of the majestic mountains. Built within the resort’s grounds, the 18-hole Par 72 golf course stretches along 5,924 metres with much of the creative design attributed to international golf legend, Tony Johnstone.

What’s the cost?

30 minute lessons at the Junior Golf Academy are just £25 per person including complimentary green fees for under 12s. Children enrolled in the Paradis Bob Marlin mini-club will also enjoy a free taster session every Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, with a short introduction to the game by resort’s golf professionals.

Beachcomber Tours (www.beachcombertours.co.uk; 01483 445 621) offers 7 nights from £1,360 per person based on two adults and two children (under 12) sharing a Junior Suite on a half-board basis including Economy flights with Air Mauritius and private transfers. Travel between 01 June and 30 September and green fees on the superb Paradis Golf Course are free for all ages. You can pre book golf lessons before you travel or at the resort