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27 August 2014

Hi folks!

Sorry if I haven't been posting as often as I used too. I'm just very busy lately preparing my daughter's college days and sending her off back to Manila. Sigh... I'm sad and trying so hard to cope with the separation anxiety that I can't focus on writing stuff.

Anyway, I hope to be able to update this blog again soon as I try to pick myself up. I still have plenty of snaps to share about our travels, some tips and other restaurant reviews.

Thanks for always sticking by!

Hoppity-hop,
Ria C

My Passport Renewal

13 August 2014

Photo credit: expatpinay.wordpress.com


I can't believe I have missed to renew my passport well ahead of time when I know I have so many travel  in the offing. I have been reminding myself since the first quarter of 2014 that I will renew my passport months in advance and I forgot! How can I forget something so important like this?

So now, I cannot go anywhere. I can't even travel back home to see my daughter enter college and be with her during her orientation day. It makes me deeply upset and sad for missing this important task I have repeatedly reminded myself. I guess I just got busy with many things.

I renewed my passport few days ago and according to our consulate here in Dubai, processing time will take 4 to 8 weeks tops. Are you kidding me? That is 2 months of my time wasted here in this place when I can travel back home and be with my daughter when she starts college. Arrgghh!!!

Note to self and moral of this story: ALWAYS RENEW YOUR PASSPORT SEVERAL MONTHS IN ADVANCE AND DON'T WAIT FOR LAST MINUTE. You may think you don't have plans to travel anywhere so you'll just wait few weeks before expiration to renew. Well, sorry to burst your bubbles Philippine Passport holders here in the UAE. You have to secure appointment first and what if the dates you are free is no longer available? You will have to keep checking the appointment calendar of the Philippine Consulate website here in the UAE for availability. And if you're lucky, well and good. If not, like me, I had to wait after Ramadan was over to actually get a date for appointment. Although the processing itself on the day of my appointment was rather fast. I am a bit pleasantly surprised. It took only half an hour to do all the procedure and I was done for the day. Unlike 5 years ago when it took half a day to complete the same process I have done recently. So, please, note your passport's expiry date and book your appointment in advance, as in, well in advance. I'm talking months! It doesn't matter whether you have plans to travel or not. You'll never know if you will have to though. But just in case you need to do a quick duty travel or a business trip suddenly comes up or whatever reason it is, you're well covered.

This is very uncharacteristic of me. I am always one who plans way in advance and this one I let slip. Oh man...


Review - Beach Hotel by Bin Majid Hotels and Resorts in Ras Al Khaimah

02 August 2014



Our trip to Ras Al Khaimah was an early celebration of Eid Al Fitr. It was also a nice moment to bond with my mom-in-law who had never set foot in RAK yet. The family had a great relaxing time in  Beach Hotel by Bin Majid Hotels & Resorts in Ras Al Khaimah. And who knew that a place like that existed if we haven't checked out Booking.com's offers? Good thing my husband saw the deal just in time so we booked few days before we went to RAK and we certainly enjoyed the weekend getaway.

Beach Hotel by Bin Majid Hotels & Resorts is a private beach-front hotel along the caramel-hued sandy coastline of Ras Al Khaimah. It's just few hours drive from Dubai. The property is a part of the Bin Majid Hotels' chain of properties. It has 4-stars rating with 136 rooms to boast.


What I like:

General and Service
It's a quiet hotel and gives me that very relaxing vibes.
The rate came with buffet breakfast.
The pool area is covered with plenty of covered seating areas where you can lounge and get covered. There were enough washing/shower areas so you don't drag the sand back to your hotel room.
There's a coffee shop and the restaurant also serves burgers + beers near the pool area! My husband certainly liked that!
The whole hotel has landscaped gardens and the lush greenery added a calming effect to the vacationers. Even the pool area is surrounded by trees and bushes.
The beach area is well-organized with elevated sun lounges so you really have a space to sunbathe or just sit back and enjoy the view of the sea.
The caramel-hue sand around the beach was so fine and we really enjoyed the beach area. It wasn't crowded in the afternoon towards sunset.
The Concierge agent named Susana was very friendly and accommodating. We were checked in in less than 5 minutes.
There's ample parking space for hotel guests and visitors.

Location
Just few hours drive from Dubai (approximately 45-60 minutes from Al Ghusais where we live to this hotel property on a Friday)
It's located just as you enter Ras Al Khaimah and it's easy to find. There is a signage before the flyover so you have to take the one at the bottom to turn to this property.
It's nestled in lush greenery in a quiet beach community. It's really ideal for a relaxing weekend away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Rooms
Rooms are adequate even for a family of 3. We booked 2 rooms (3 adults in one standard bedroom and 2 adults in the other standard bedroom).
The beds and pillows were so comfortable. This is one of the best sleep I have ever had in an hotel.
There were enough cups and glasses in the room.
The bathroom was spacious with a bidet and separate tub-shower area.
The vanity table is long enough to accommodate mine and my daughter's laptops.
The bathroom amenities were well stocked with enough towels for all of us.
I also like the fact that it has a hair dryer.











Food
The buffet breakfast has a very wide selection and we all loved it. We certainly enjoyed our hearty meals! Of all the places I have had eaten French Toast for breakfast, this is the only hotel where I really ate yummy French Toasts that were not so soggy and oily or buttery.  We had more than 2 slices each. It was that delicious!
We also enjoyed making our pancakes with the pancake machine. So cool!




The hotel also had selections for Arab and Far East Asian guests. You can choose some Indian food staple for breakfast if you prefer that.









What I don't like:
Considering the features in the room, I can tell it's an old one. The thermostat knob of the AC was antiquated that when I turned the knob to a low setting, it fell! I certainly don't know if I returned it properly that the room remained cold throughout even when the setting was high temp. It's because the knob was not properly aligned as I don't know which is which.

There was no rubber stopper in the bathtub so I was unable to soak.

The small mini-bar fridge leaked.

The cabinet sliding doors were hard to slide. They kept jamming at a certain point and they were a bit heavy for a cabinet door.

The rooms given to us were 231 & 232. 232 had a city/mountain view while Room 231 had a very small view of the beach from the side.  We requested for a beach view but since there was a group booking, we didn't get the adjacent rooms with the beach view.

No free wi-fi, not even in the lobby. Wi-fi connection for 24 hours is AED 80.




Facilities:
Olympic-sized swimming pool
Leisure activities such as jetski, windsurfing, scuba diving, beach volleyball, sun-bathing lounges Sports/Fitness centre
Business centre
Restaurants, coffee shop and clubs for entertainment
Landscaped garden around the hotel area


Nearby attractions:
2 kms away is the Iceland Water park
RAK Mall
City centre
beach area


Price: AED 300 per Standard Room per night, buffet breakfast included in the rate from Booking.com

Some snaps in the beach area:











My recommendation: 4 out of 5 (5 being the highest)



I recommend this property to families, groups and business travelers who are looking for a quick weekend getaway away from the city life. This property, albeit an old one, has clean facilities, friendly staff, spacious and clean rooms and a breath-taking view of the beautiful beach area of Ras Al Khaimah. I don't mind booking again as long as they give me a beach view next time!

To know more about the property, please visit the hotel's official website.

Address: Coast Road | P.O. Box 1946, Ras Al Khaimah 1946, United Arab Emirates
Website: http://www.binmajid.com



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Disclaimer:
I was not compensated to do this review.  This booking was personally paid for by my family for our getaway.  My opinion is 100% mine and may vary from yours.


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