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Escape the winter chill and soak up the sun in the Gulf.

No-one will be surprised if you’ve never heard of Ras Al-Khaimah. It’s possibly the least known of the United Arab Emirates and the most northern, bordering on Oman. It’s a 45 minute drive from the more glitzy, more touristy Dubai, and like the other emirates, has its own flavour and identity. In the case of Ras Al-Khaimah (aka RAK) its claim to fame is that it’s the only emirate that has mountains, desert and sea, reports the Telegraph.

RAK is the ultimate ‘escape modern life’ destination. There are several good unspoilt beaches, where you can swim in the warm waters of the Gulf, the desert is fascinating and the lonely craggy mountains provide amazing panoramic views. Absolute Adventure (www.adventure.ae), based in Dibba, Fujairah, can organise trekking, mountain biking, kayaking diving and sailing in the area, and now is the right time of year to go. Travellers are advised to visit before April when the temperatures soar.

Although there’s little glamour and sophistication around, with no restaurant and shopping culture as such, RAK now has its first five-star hotel, the Banyan Tree Al Wadi, the UAE’s first desert resort hotel, where needless to say the food is first rate.

Carrier (0161 492 1358, www.carrier.co.uk) organises tailor-made packages to Dubai, Ras Al-Khaimah and Oman. The Banyan Tree Al Wadi (www.banyantree.com) is offering five nights for the price of four and a complimentary one-hour rainforest spa experience for two. Prices are from £1,470 per person including breakfast, return flight with Emirates and return transfers from Dubai. This is a saving of up to £1,280 per couple and is valid until April 30.

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