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Move over Dubai: Wynn is betting big on this up-and-coming emirate

Jan. 28, 2022
4 min read
aerial photo of man-made island off coast of UAE
Move over Dubai: Wynn is betting big on this up-and-coming emirate
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You've heard of Dubai, full of towering skyscrapers and human-made mega-islands, and Abu Dhabi, with its picturesque Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, an outpost of the Louvre and even a Warner Bros. hotel at the world's largest indoor theme park.

But you might not have heard of Ras Al Khaimah, a lesser-known emirate that's quickly becoming a hot spot for global travelers, adventure seekers and world-class resorts, including one just announced from a big name out of Las Vegas.

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Wynn Resorts, the company behind Wynn Las Vegas and other casinos in Boston and China, announced it's planning to build a luxury resort in Ras Al Khaimah. Set to open in 2026, the integrated resort — which usually means it's a hotel and casino with other entertainment elements; essentially the majority of resorts in Las Vegas — will have over 1,000 rooms, more than 10 restaurants and lounges, a state-of-the-art meeting and convention center, a spa, stores, multiple entertainment venues and a gaming area, the company said in a statement.

The new resort will be built on an "exclusive" section of Al Marjan Island, a series of artificial islands much like Dubai's The Palm. The island will give the new Wynn resort, the company's first on a beach, "a pristine setting with spectacular views of the Arabian Gulf as well as sandy beaches and a marina."

Alongside Wynn's announcement to build the resort and apply for an integrated resort license from the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, the government agency announced it is forming an entirely new division to oversee the regulation of integrated resorts.

"The foremost priority of this new division is to create a robust framework that will ensure responsible gaming at all levels," the Tourism Development Authority said in a statement.

Currently, gambling is not allowed in the United Arab Emirates, but Wynn's new "gaming area," along with the Tourism Development Authority's announcement, is causing speculation that this project could potentially usher in a new era of legalized gambling for the emirate. That said, neither Wynn Resorts nor the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority has explicitly said that "gaming" at the new resort will include gambling.

Wynn isn't the first Las Vegas company to enter the UAE. In 2018, Las Vegas-based Caesars entered the emirates with Caesars Palace at Bluewaters Dubai, a nongaming, beachfront resort. MGM Resorts International is currently in construction on three nongaming resorts — MGM Grand, Bellagio and Aria — on Dubai's The Island.

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(Photo by Jeff Kingma/Getty Images)

Related: How to get to (and stay in) Dubai using points and miles

Back in Ras Al Khaimah, one of TPG's 12 hottest destinations of 2022, a handful of new projects, in addition to the Wynn, are helping put the emirate on the map. Set to open in the first quarter of this year, the InterContinental Ras Al Khaimah Resort & Spa will bring 351 new rooms, suites and villas, along with a handful of upscale restaurants, to the area. And later this year, the Anantara Mina Al Arab Ras Al Khaimah will open as a Maldivian-style resort with overwater villas, Asian restaurants and a spa.

Outside of the booming resort scene, visitors to Ras Al Khaimah can also find plenty of adventurous activities, including zip lining 1.76 miles down the UAE's tallest peak on the world's longest zip line, taking dune buggies out in the desert and attempting an elevated ropes course high up in the mountains.

If you can't wait for the Wynn to open in 2026 and want to visit Ras Al Khaimah, the UAE's northernmost emirate, there are a handful of great resorts and hotels where you can visit on points. Hilton Honors members can cash in 80,000 points for a standard room at the behemoth Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah or find rooms as low as 36,000 points at the Hilton Ras Al Khaimah Beach Resort.

For a retreat away from the beach, Marriott Bonvoy members can find a desert oasis at the Category 7 Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert, which has rooms between 50,000 and 70,000 points based on peak and off-peak pricing.

Featured image by Wynn Resorts, Limited
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
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  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

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  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023