Who doesn’t love a staycation? That spontaneous decision to throw a few things in a bag and head off. A bit of a road trip, a change of scenery and suddenly your heart feels lighter. In the United Arab Emirates, a multitude of staycation options are available. The pin has landed on Hatta, a 90-minute drive from downtown Dubai.
Let’s see what JA Hatta Fort Hotel has to offer?
Up until recently, you could take a shortcut through Oman to get to Hatta, but heightened border security has deleted this option for everyone except UAE Nationals. Don’t let that deter you, taking the Sharjah – Hatta Road only adds 15 minutes and is still a hassle-free route. For clear directions follow this link to our previous post on getting out and about in Hatta.
The approach to Hatta will be evident by the growing number of enormous hilltop mansions. Perched on 80 acres of green expanse overlooking the Hajar Mountains, JA Hatta Fort Hotel is a welcome sight. Manicured lawns, palm trees and bright fuschia bougainvillaea surround the property, while the mountains are incorporated into the architecture and grounds.
Enter the cool confines of the newly renovated lobby and lounge. A contemporary interior design incorporating the hotel’s Arabic roots into chic understated style. Emphasis is on texture with particular attention paid to lighting, furnishings and space.
Check-in is seamless, with Aamil familiar with the details of our stay. He is quick to advise the continued renovation of the spa facilities makes their use unavailable on this visit, but this is clearly stated on the website when booking.
48 individual deluxe chalet-style rooms, 2 suites and 2 villas, all come with balconies or terraces overlooking lush gardens, rolling lawn and mountains.
Inside the 40sqm chalet, recent renovations have transformed the previously dark, wood dominated room into an open airy space in soft tones. Taking pride of place, the king size bed with extra pillows whispers an invitation.
Wardrobe and storage space have been carefully considered and in the bathroom, there’s not only a deep and extra long tub but enough space for his and her’s toiletry bags and individual benches! Yay!
Outside, the balcony space is generous too with room for 2 comfortable lounge chairs and a shared foot rest. The surrounding manicured lawns aiding in reducing the late afternoon temperatures.
Café Gazebo is the hotel’s all-day-dining venue. From the cool interior or the open air terrace, views across the pool and mountains become hypnotic.
A breakfast buffet of the usual suspects; fruit, cereals, yoghurt, pastries, are joined by a considerable Mediterranean offer. Olives, pickles, labneh, feta, halloumi, hummus, moutabal, vine leaves, tabbouleh, fresh tomatoes, cucumber and lettuce. Quite the feast.
But wait, there’s more! Order your choice of eggs, add bacon (beef or pork), house-made sausages, hash browns, mushrooms, beans, tomatoes, and more. JA Hatta Fort Hotel is a firm believer in breakfast being the most important meal of the day.
The all-day dining menu doesn’t disappoint either, with salads, sandwiches, burgers, pasta and the grill.
When it comes to dinner, Jeema is the main attraction. A complete renovation has transformed the restaurant space into a comfortably sophisticated dining environment. Lighting is low, there’s room to move and the wait staff attention would have you believe you’re alone.
Settle at a window table with more views of the stunning Hajar Mountains. On the menu, expect seafood fresh from the Fujairah coast, meats straight from South Africa and, in the basket in front of you the bread has been freshly baked in-house.
The Chef recommends a couple of performance dishes. Caesar Salad, constructed table-side and Crepe Suzettes, cooked at your table, complete with flaming brandy. Other recommendations include Thai Beef Salad, Braised lamb rump, lobster thermidor or a personal favourite, the sea bass.
At Roumoul, pull up a barstool and watch Raul in action. From the terrace, enjoy your sundowners observing the colour show as the sun sets across the mountains. From 18:30 – 20:30 daily make the most of Roumoul Bar’s Happy Hour.
Through the day, your adult beverages are available from the pool bar.
That screech is your first encounter with the many peacocks on the property. JA Resorts may have their name on the door but you don’t need to be Einstein to work out who really rules the roost. These stunning beauties wander the gardens undeterred by patrons. A word of warning, close your chalet door behind you, they are so tame they’ll follow you in.
There’s archery, mini golf, oversized chess and a fort to climb. The kids will be amused for hours in the mini zoo with goats galore, plenty of ducks and camel rides. Sun set rides can be arranged for grown-ups too.
If that all sounds a little too active, pull out a sun lounge, order a drink and kick back by one of the 2 pools. This is a staycation, after all, relax, enjoy it, you’ll be packing the car before you know it, so stretch it out for as long as you can. When a hotel meets staycation expectation: it’s a thing we love….