Find out what to expect when you stay at this Ras Al Khaimah resort…

What a difference a week makes. When we first check into the DoubleTree by Hilton Resort & Spa Marjan Island, it’s one week since footage of the Ras Al Khaimah resort’s lively, mid-Covid pool scene first found its way onto UK news outlets.

As our car pulls up to the entrance on Friday afternoon, our temperatures are checked before they’ll even open the gates. We’re instructed to send one family member inside to check in, while the rest of us wait in the car. Face masks must be worn while in the common areas inside the hotel, elevators are limited to two people, and there are social distancing signs and markers everywhere.

Far from the raucous scenes of last weekend, the resort appears to be on its best behaviour – and all indicators are that staff are taking Covid-19 seriously.

The hotel is maintaining a 30 per cent occupancy cap, and we barely see another person as we pad along the plush carpeted hallways. Outside, it’s a slightly different story, with families and couples happily enjoying the pools and beach. But with a choice of seven pools and a 650-metre beach that runs the length of the resort, we can easily keep our distance.

doubletree staycation

We spend most of our time in the chilled children’s pool, sharing the space with one or two other families at a time. The lush resort grounds and laidback vibe provide a much-needed break from apartment life with two young children in Dubai. So much so, that upon checking out we promptly book a return for our birthdays the following weekend.

And boy, what a difference a week makes…

When we arrive the following Thursday afternoon, we’re greeted by the same stringent process at the gates – except this time we have to park our car across the road, as the hotel’s main car park is full. That in itself is an indicator that things have changed.

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You see, restrictions have eased in Ras Al Khaimah over the week, and the 30 per cent room capacity is no longer in play. The hotel still has precautionary measures in place when it comes to checking in, wearing masks inside the hotel’s common spaces, and observing social distancing in its restaurants – but there’s no hiding from the crowds once you hit the pool.

Everyone is respectful of each other’s space, and sun loungers are still spaced apart, but there’s no escaping the fact we’re in much closer proximity than we were last week. Fortunately, the resort’s layout (that super-long beach, low-density villas, and expansive lawns lined with – socially distant – sun loungers), provides ample space if you’re starting to feel cramped.

staycation doubletree

The rooms

This family-focused resort on Marjan Island features a number of different room types. In the main hotel, you’ll find contemporary guest rooms and junior suites with generous bathrooms and sea-view balconies.

For our money, however, the rooms in the surrounding villas are the pick of the bunch. Try to secure one of the ground-floor garden view rooms, which have terraces that lead straight onto the lawns, near the pools and children’s playground.

DoubleTree by Hilton Resort & Spa Marjan Island, Ras Al Khaimah. From Dhs420 a night. Tel: (07) 2030000.