Up until last year, the forbidden word in our domestic conversation was “target”. This year, with the man starting on his own venture, we have more sophisticated words like “investments” and “break even” terrorizing our little household. Mr. FoodKissed had been walking around like a volcano ready to erupt and the pressure was so palpable that even the 3 year old figured it wiser to stay decent and away from inviting trouble.
Realization finally dawned that it was probably time for a break to relax and refresh our heated up systems (HALLELUJAH!). With 2 days in our kitty, a family staycation was decided on. Our requirements were standard – beach, pool and kid-friendly. Some research helped and the booking was made with Double Tree Hilton, Marjan Island. We left at 1.30pm on Thursday, drove for an hour to Ras Al Khaimah and handed the keys to the valet at the hotel at 3pm.
Check in was great – the lady at the reception (was it Zeyara? my memory fails me) was wonderfully accommodating. Complimentary chocolate chip oat cookies (fresh-out-of the-oven-hot) were distributed to us; samples of custard tarts were extended to us from the Friday brunch promotion stand; inviting views of the pool outside promising a pleasant evening ahead.
We had booked 2 Sea facing King rooms. At checkin we were told that the second room was being cleaned and would be ready in a bit. Unfortunately, we had to wait in our room #1 for 40 minutes for room #2 to be ready. They somehow got luggage tags mixed up and we were delivered our bags 20 minutes after check in. Two very crucial factors they MUST perfect at the earliest to avoid agitation in guests within the first hour of arrival.
Let me get into one more specification regarding the sea-facing rooms. Room #1 was perfect with the balcony giving a gorgeous view of the sea and skyline. Room #2 however had a balcony with a concrete wall that was above my waist level – easily giving zero view of the sea from the room. THAT is a colossal waste of money for a sea-facing room, with no view of the sea. We did not try asking for a room change, so I don’t know how they would have addressed this matter otherwise.
The rooms otherwise, were very neat, tidy and comfortable. The beds were perfect, the tub clean and the showers mild (my mister prefers wickedly powerful showers – so yes, he was grouchy about it). Toiletries were of Crabtree & Evelyn, lighting was lovely and the wifi fast.
Pools were aplenty. There were warm and cozy children’s pool next to huge, temperature controlled adult pools. The weather was quite cool with chilly winds blowing, making the teeth chattery and the towels much in demand after a dip in the pool. The resort was seemingly in full capacity, yet the crowd was comfortably spread out due to the very many swimming pools and the long stretch of beach. Activities kept the beach busy – jetsky, banana boats etc and while there, we saw seawings land and take off. The PirateBoat Aqua Zone play area was bustling with kids and adults alike, where they splashed around in water rides and bucket rains.
The highlight for me was two other zones – the Kids Outdoor Play Area and the Kids Paradise. The outdoor park had swings, slides, trampolines and climbing frames all atop rubber padding. The indoor playroom was sensational with all sorts of crayons, educational games, xbox games, face painting, dance sessions and rock climbing walls.
Food & Beverages
Two nights in, and we tried almost every F &B outlet in the resort, including room service! Here are my observations:
- Room service comes with a tray charge of AED 20/ order. Our order was for a Biriyani and a dish of Butter Chicken (that came with bread and other accompaniments). The food was tasty and of good portion. But we were not too charmed by the AED 20 charged as “tray charge”.
- Breakfast was served at Al Marjan, the all day dining which had spacious seating indoors and a lovely poolside seating which becomes difficult only because of cold winds at times and some tiny flies at other times. We had the breakfast on Friday and Saturday mornings and it was slightly disappointing to see that there was nothing different in the spread. The buffet menu was exactly the same on both days. Something worth a thought!
- Vespa was tried for dinner and since we didn’t have a reservation, outdoor seating had to be sufficed with, despite the cold winds. We tried the chicken with bell pepper & red onion, the chicken alfredo pasta, the truffle mushroom risotto and the lobster ravioli. It was an enjoyable meal, especially since we were able to use the Entertainer vouchers on the maincourses.
- There was a late night visit made to ShoFee, the rooftop sheesha lounge and bar. This was a complete disappointment owing to the fact that the lounge had just two seats close to the open balcony. Rest of the seats (including where we sat) were indoors with no open air or rooftop element to it. The sheesha was average, the wine list mediocre with their “most recommended” option being unavailable! Quite careless, I would say.
- Poolside bar was called Boardwalk and was constantly bustling with patrons – free tables were not easy to come by! But when we did find one, it was easy to settle back and relax with a couple of well made sun downers in the company of some very cheerful staff.
Double Tree Hilton, Marjan Island is a PERFECT staycation spot ESPECIALLY if you have kids to entertain. There are so many avenues to have them engaged for a good two days, easily. The staff is friendly, the hotel is clean and the rooms are comfortable. There are two new restaurants due to launch soon, which will cover Turkish and Asian cuisines. The resort spa is called Eforea Spa but unfortunately, I could not manage to take a peak in there. The resort has lively nights with live music and other entertainments like fire shows. There is of course bits and pieces that they can tweak to make the place even more appealing, but for a family with kids looking for a nice weekend break, this resort does the job very well.
We, hereby, present Double Tree Hilton Marjan Island with the FoodKissed Family’s Seal Of Approval!