RAK tourism takes off with Khatt health hotel opening

Emirate gears up tourism drive with additional international properties

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By  Sarah Gain Published  July 1, 2006

Ras Al Khaimah’s tourism industry is really going through a period of healthy growth. The often unmentioned emirate saw the opening of the Khatt Springs Hotel & Spa, a 130-room “medical hotel”, on June 1, while further hotel developments are racing ahead, with plans for 25 additional hotels, golf courses, an airline and even the possibility of space tourism. Al Hamra Hotels Management runs the Khatt Springs resort, located at the foot of the emirate’s mountain range. The company hopes the hotel will help to make Ras Al Khaimah a favourite retreat for health conscious visitors from around the world. In addition to its 130 rooms and suites, the Khatt Springs also has a number of villas, constructed in the rock formations around the main building of the hotel. However, Elia Timani, director of sales and marketing for Al Hamra Hotel management, believes it is the hotel’s spa that will prove the real USP. The 2000m spa is staffed by professors and doctors from around the world specialising in preventive and alternative medicine. “The spa is also the only one in the region to have natural hot springs located within the premises,” claims Timani. “It is a haven of peace, with all the latest facilities. Guests can relax and enjoy the therapeutic powers of Khatt’s natural springs in this oasis of beauty and charm.” The Al Hamra Palace Hotel, also under the remit of Al Hamra Hotels and Resorts, is also currently under construction, and is due to open its doors in 2007. “The beachfront property will have 400 rooms and 37 luxury suites, each measuring at least 72m², and will offer a range of wellness facilities, an 18-hole golf course, shopping arcade and several tennis courts, as well as five speciality restaurants and three bars,” said Timani. The resort will also house an extensive conference centre and additional function space in the form of a ballroom, lecture hall and meeting rooms. Another beach resort, the Al Hamra Village, is also currently under construction, with the project’s first villas, townhouses and apartments available for occupancy soon. Hilton International is also expanding in the emirate. The first phase of the Hilton International resort in Ras Al Khaimah will be completed by the end of the year, with 151 deluxe villas due to open in December. The second and final phase will be completed by the last quarter of 2007. This is Hilton’s second property in Ras Al Khaimah. “Our Hilton Worldwide Resort brand offers holidaymakers an unrivalled holiday experience,” said Rudi Jagersbacher, Hilton International’s vice president for the Arabian Peninsula. On-site facilities for the resort include an 800m private beach, four free-form, temperature controlled swimming pools and comprehensive water sports facilities. The development will also house a gym and health club, as well as a 2000m² spa. For Al Hamra’s Timani, it all spells out a good bill of health for the future of Ras Al Khaimah’s tourism industry. “Billions of Dirhams are being invested in initiatives to sure-up [the emirate’s] infrastructure and a large number of tourism projects are now underway. The air of excitement is palpable the moment one enters Ras Al Khaimah,” he said. “Plans for at least 25 hotels are in the pipeline, and several leading hotel chains have started new projects. Ras Al Khaimah has made its entry into the global tourism circuit.”

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