We took a RAK road trip to find out just how inclusive the Rixos Bab Al Bahr really is…

One of the main reasons for choosing a good all-inclusive hotel is convenience. Everything is paid for upfront so you know you can indulge without the bulge of a wallet in your pocket.

Fancy the dessert? No extra charge. Another glass sir? Why not, you’re on vacation, and besides, it’s basically free.

All-inclusive resorts require almost zero live budgeting. And a holiday without having to do any mental arithmetic is a holiday in the truest sense of the word.

Perceived drawbacks often come from a fear of being restricted. With all your meals and entertainment paid for in advance, are you not then tied to the resort? To a single buffet station and bumping into that same couple around the pool again?

Not necessarily. Rixos Bab Al Bahr exemplifies the six Fs of keeping your all-inclusive stay fresh.

The Food

When it comes to resort dining, variety is key. In addition to the international buffet restaurant, Rixos Bab Al Bahr has six bars and lounges, one nightclub (currently closed due to government pandemic regulations), and, importantly six a la carte restaurants.

All guests are all-inclusive, and all are welcome to pull up a chair at Turkish brasserie Lalezar; Italian ristorante L’Olivo; steakhouse Meat Point; seafood specialists Fish Bone; Asian experts Aja; and fast food joint Toast’n Burger — without any extra cost.

They’re located in their own little dining village with waterfront views and big holiday vibes.

At the moment, due to social distancing requirements, and to make it fair for everyone, you’re only able to book these restaurants for your preferred meal sittings on the day.

We tried out Lalezar, L’Olivo and Meat Point. Lalezar, like the Rixos chain itself, is proudly Turkish. Their lunchtime menu offers a bijou, but pretty diverse section of authentic bites. The kebabs are worth an honorable mention.

L’Olivo put on a good show too, the on-point antipasti was undoubtedly their strongest area. But Meat Point, the resort’s steakhouse, takes the top spot. Choice cuts of meat, delicate charring, fine-dining presentation — this restaurant really adds a special dimension to the resort’s culinary offering.

The service in all of these eateries, as it was throughout the other parts of the hotel, was consistently professional, conscientious and warm. A true ambassador of Turkish hospitality.

Family and Facilities

Rixos Bab Al Bahr is, at its core, a family hotel. The facilities, dining concepts, room set-up, activity clubs and entertainment are all set up with the intent of creating an enjoyable experience for all ages.

The resort has eight pools, including one kids’ splash pool, and there’s a Rixy Kids Club for four to 12 year olds, which offers activities such as cooking classes and arts and crafts sessions.

There’s a dedicated club for teens, interactive entertainment, live music, a gym, table tennis, pool games, an outdoor amphitheatre, a luxurious spa, and more.

Situated on a handsome stretch of azure island coastline, Rixos boasts big beach energy and offers guests volleyball, watersports, diving, fishing and more.

Fully inclusive

What’s mind-blowing is that almost everything is included in your room rate. If you want to spend your time tearing through steak by the waterfront, lounging poolside quaffing bottomless glasses of bubbles, raving in the nightclub, or soaking up the restorative bliss of the Turkish hammams — it’s all included.

The only limits we could see were on certain premium food items in the a la carte restaurants, particular motorised water sports and certain spa activities. And that’s pretty much it.

Fun and Finance

One thing that is worth being aware of before booking up at Rixos Bab Al Bahr, is — compared to a lot of the sparkling new five-star hotels in Dubai — this hotel feels every one of its eight years of age.

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And it doesn’t have all the polish and glitter of some its Al Marjan Island neighbours. But there’s a charm in that. It’s a resort that puts fun-for-all before anything else.

And the pricing point reflects that. You can currently book a one-night stay in September and October, for two adults and two kids on an Ultra All Inclusive basis from less than Dhs800 (+tax). Which is probably less than you’d drop in some of the UAE’s more fancy family restaurants.

And because of that, and the fact it’s around 40 minutes’ away from Downtown Dubai, or just over an hour from the world’s longest zipline on Jabal Jais, if you can tear yourself away from all the activities on-site and want to do a day trip — you can do it guilt-free.

Our verdict: If you want a carefree, great value, adventure-packed family trip away — you’ll struggle to find a better box-ticker than Rixos Bab Al Bahr.

Book now at rixos.com, or by calling (07) 202 0000

Images: Provided