The emirate’s residents share best-kept-secrets, hidden gems and more
Think Ras Al Khaimah and most people conjure images of a weekend getaway or a staycation in one of the stunning properties in the emirate. However, development over the years has resulted in some well-thought-out, mixed-use island communities with beachfront villas, marinas and golf courses.
Ras Al Khaimah presents a cost-effective and idyllic alternative to city life. For all the inside scoop on the best places to hang out and the emirate’s hidden gems, we roped in a few long-term residents to take us around the emirate.
What better way to know a community than through its residents, aka our UAE Insiders. They take us on a behind-the-scenes tour of the communities they live in.
Meet two #UAEInsiders taking us around two of Ras Al Khaimah’s jewels: Mina Al Arab and Al Marjan Island.
A home away from home in Mina Al Arab
Noura, a 34-year-old French (with Moroccan origins) expat describes Mina Al Arab in Ras Al Khaimah as a home away from home. She has been living there since September 2018 after moving to the UAE from France.
“My favourite thing about living in Mina Al Arab is that this community does everything to bring expats and locals to live together and be introduced to the UAE’s tradition, culture and lifestyle in a way that everybody enjoys and appreciates,” she tells us.
Overwhelmed by the fast-paced Dubai lifestyle, Noura wanted a quieter alternative to settle down with her two young children. Her husband recommended Ras Al Khaimah as an option and there has been no looking back since.
“From the first visit, I was in love with the city and the community and I wanted it to be my new home because it is less crowded, faces less traffic, offers a better lifestyle for our family and individuals,” Noura elaborates.
She cannot recommend Mina Al Arab enough since the community boasts all facilities under one roof: a beauty salon, gym, barbers, activity centre, supermarket and a rent-a-car agency. She loves to idle on the beach or go fishing and hang out in the park with other mothers.
“There are many good places to hang out in my community. We have a long sea-view walk with many coffee shops and restaurants close by. At the marina, you can take boat trips to some amazing places around Mina Al Arab,” she shares.
Noura also loves to grab a coffee or a bite at The Muse Cafe, Nora’s Pastry and La Belle Cafe inside the community. She also frequents the marina and beach on weekends.
For those new to Ras Al Khaimah, Noura suggests heading to Old Town to know more about the lifestyle of earlier generations, or visiting the Fish Market and Julphar Tower, landmarks in the emirate. She also picks the Corniche, Manar Mall and Al Hamra Mall as her go-to leisure destinations.
Emad K., a 31-year-old Syrian, is leading his best life at Al Marjan Island in Ras Al Khaimah. He gets to enjoy amazing sunset and sea views daily, besides the competitive prices for services and rents compared to the other emirates.
A resident of Al Marjan Island for three years, Emad also loves how the community organises several sports activities.
“What I prefer about Al Marjan Island is the large amount of services provided, which enrich the local community in terms of providing safe playgrounds for children, being family-friendly, in addition to views of the sea, the wonderful facilities and the safe environment,” Emad shares with us.
Describing Al Marjan Island as a peaceful haven for families, Emad loves to hang out with his family on the beach and enjoy the amazing sunset view or play basketball with his friends on the numerous courts.
He is thrilled that there are several hotels on Al Marjan Island to dine out or take visiting family and friends. His top picks are the Rixos, DoubleTree by Hilton Resort & Spa and Al Marjan Resort & Spa.