RAK’s Banyan Tree resorts to become Ritz-Carlton hotels

Ras Al Khaimah's popular beach and desert locations are having a change of management.

Neil Churchill November 7, 2016

One of the best things about luxury living in the UAE is unquestionably the staycations. The beaches, the deserts and even the mountains are home to some exceptional resorts that serve as ideal hideaways from the non-stop city life.

So it’s a shame and quite a shock when one of those loved hotels closes down, especially when it’s a popular go-to place. It’s even more of a shock when two close at the same time.

But that’s what’s happening in Ras Al Khaimah next month, as both of the popular Banyan Tree resorts will cease to run after ten years of operation. Instead, management will pass to The Ritz-Carlton group. 

The beach resort will close completely for a total renovation of all its 32 villas. Its exact opening date next year is as yet unannounced. The desert location will remain open and will operate as a partner hotel, with the new branding effectively taking place over night. 

The two properties, Banyan Tree Ras Al Khaimah Beach and Banyan Tree Al Wadi, are owned by Al Hamra Real Estate Development and RAK National Hotels, respectively. From December 15 they will be renamed The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Hamra Beach and The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert. 

Herve Humler, president and COO of The Ritz-Carlton, said, “We have seen an increasing appetite amongst travelers for immersive escapes in emerging destinations and our Ras Al Khaimah properties will offer travelers – both regional and international – the chance to enjoy the unique landscape, indigenous customs in tranquil environments.”

While the news is surprising – both resorts were popular on weekends throughout the year, with rates often in excess of AED 2,000 per night – and it’s certainly sad to Banyan Tree regulars that the brand will no longer have a presence in the Middle East, The Ritz-Carlton company is one of the global leaders in luxury hospitality and the two locations should each remain a premier destination for the well-heeled.

A spokesperson of Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts said: “Since the signing of the initial management agreement in 2005, Banyan Tree took on these two privately-owned properties and developed them into luxury resort products. With the Group’s well-regarded luxury hospitality service standards and quality, we are proud to have brought both properties to market maturity internationally, recognised for their world-class state of the art facilities and outstanding guest experience - attested by many acclaimed awards to their names for both hotels and spa.”

So book quickly if you're after one final stay at Banyan Tree beach. Otherwise sit back and wait for the Ritz-Carltons to take shape. Hopefully, they won't change too much from the below.