Head over hills

Rather like a first date or a job interview, when checking into a hotel, first impressions count for everything. Describing the check-in process at JA Hatta Fort Hotel, the legendary resort near the Oman border, is easy; it feels like coming home. Guests are greeted with a smile from the bellman, then swept through the lobby and up to the newly-refurnished chalet-style rooms – a treat after a long flight.

UAE veterans wax lyrical about JA Hatta Fort Hotel, and for good reason. It has that old-school charm that warms the soul. Service is friendly and beautifully effortless, especially in the hotel’s main restaurant Jeema, which serves international cuisine in a buffet that changes daily.

The enormous, open-plan rooms are inspired by natural elements, with exposed stone and linen creating a sense of calm and earthliness. To honour the picturesque setting, every room, suites and villas feature balconies with views across surrounding gardens and stony peaks.

Part of the charm of Hatta lies outside of the resort and within these views. Described as ‘the jewel in the crown of the UAE’, the exclave is home to dramatic landscapes, turquoise waterways and a myriad of lush greenery – it would be a crime not to explore the surroundings during your stay. Visitors can hire kayaks to explore the Hatta Reservoir, hike to a mountain peak or take on the thrilling bike trails that traverse across the rocky landscape.

After a full day exploring the outdoors, the Sunset Terrace is a welcome spot that seems as if it were made for sundowners. Watch as the sun disappears behind the rugged horizon, toasting to a day well spent.

Neighbourhood

The drive to JA Hatta Fort Hotel is a scenic 130km (or about an hour-and-a-half’s drive) of rolling desert dunes that lead to the dramatic Hajar Mountain range. Aside from the activities available within the resort itself, Hatta offers many popular tourist attractions such as the oldest preserved heritage village in the UAE, the Hatta Reservoir and many opportunities to connect with nature along the way, passing farmland, natural pools, and hidden oases.

From US$190 per night / JA Hatta Fort Hotel

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