JA Hatta Fort Hotel combines serenity and adventure. The resort sits snugly at into the stunning mountainous region of Hajar in the United Arab Emirates, less than an hour from Dubai and ten minutes from the border with Oman. Returning guests, and we know there are many, will be happy to learn that the recent renovation offering beautiful, contemporary accommodation hasn’t meant the loss of its old school charm, warm ambiance and friendly staff.
Low level buildings, chalet-style rooms and extensive activities give it the feel of a rather lovely holiday camp and this is the beauty of the place. Guests can escape from the glitz and noise of the big city into a resort that allows them to do as much or as little as they like in a fresh, modern environment which stills holds dear its Arabian roots and style. Hatta itself has lots to offer hotel guests looking for adventure. The serenity of the hotel may be all the sweeter after spending the day kayaking on nearby Hatta Dam and hiking in the mountains, there are many adventures to be had in Hatta such as trekking, mountain-biking and kayaking
The renovation of the hotel was completed a few years ago and they have done a wonderful job. The 51 chalet style rooms are spacious with relaxing colours, modern furniture, monochrome rugs on slate floors and touches of Arabian design in the traditional fretwork. We stayed in a Deluxe Chalet Room which was all so elegantly and carefully presented that the décor could have been cold but the old-fashioned sliding doors and huge, comfy king-sized beds give the bedrooms a homely feel too. You even get chocolates on your pillow at turn down, that really made me smile.
The Elemis toiletries are an absolute treat and I loved the recycling bins, it shows a real effort to try and preserve the beauty of gardens and mountains guests can enjoy from their private balconies. The room also includes tea and coffee making facilities, safety deposit locker, mini-bar, telephone, hairdryer, satellite TV, DVD player, walk-in shower and fluffy bathrobes. Free WiFi is available in all guest rooms and breakfast was included in the price.
The location of the Hatta Fort is perfect. The craggy Hajar mountains are a dramatic back drop throughout the year and the lush gardens of colourful plants and trees feel a million miles away from Dubai. They even have grass! Each of the rooms has a private balcony which will have views over either the gardens or the mountains and are perfect spots to spend an hour or two sipping a glass of something delicious.
The staff are super friendly and relaxed but also calm, professional and efficient when you need them to be. As soon as we stepped into reception the smiles and warmth made us feel like we were part of the family. The Hatta Fort Hotel is a real institution, some of the staff have worked there since opening and the affection and pride they have for their hotel is clear. From the lovely ladies on the phone booking our rooms, the personal recommendations from the chef to the hand-written welcome note from the manager, the personal touch is everywhere. In some hotels this can feel forced but at the Hatta Fort I truly believe it is genuine.
Café Gazebo is where guests enjoy breakfast and lunch. The café is next to the adult swimming pool which gives it a relaxed atmosphere and views into the lush gardens and out over the mountains. A breakfast buffet will make or break a hotel for me, a massive leisurely meal in the morning is a fantastic luxury and Café Gazebo was the perfect setting for that. The food itself was tasty, plentiful, with lots of choice. Fresh fruit, cereal, pastries, pancakes, eggs and even a full English option were all lovingly laid out and it didn’t feel too crowded or busy.
Jeema is the only restaurant but we were happy with that. A chilled weekend away requires making as few decisions as possible. Relaxed happy hour drinks on the terrace watching the sun set over the Hajar mountains was very special. The Jeema is a more refined than Café Gazebo oozing old world charm and the retro touches of Crepe Suzette or Caesar Salad prepared at your table looked like fun choices. The menu offers something for everyone with dishes from the Mediterranean, curries and steaks all on offer. My food was delicious and all the other plates being brought out to other guests looked lovely too.
One of my favourite things about this hotel was the range of activities on offer. It’s great to find so much to try out. There is, of course, no pressure to get involved in any of it but for those guests wanting to do more than soak up the sun reading a book or wander the gorgeous grounds then there are lots of choices. It’s all very good value in comparison to Dubai, they are well managed and taught by knowledgeable friendly staff.
Two outdoor swimming pools
The Hatta Fort has two swimming pools. The adults only pool is overlooked by Café Gazebo. As someone without children, I was happy with this concept to really unwind in the sun. The family pool is more attractive with a pretty, well maintained sun deck, palm trees and a waterfall. The hotel is very family friendly which is great but this can lead to this pool being a little bit bonkers during busy times.
There are 6 target ranges to practise on and experienced instructors are on hand between 9am-6pm to help you become an Olympic standard archer, or at least hit the target! It costs 30AED for 30 minutes and all equipment is included.
Air gun shooting range
I loved this! It’s a great adrenalin rush and a perfect energy boost after a long swim. It cost 25 AED for 25 pellets and they are open from 9am-6pm
Playing a civilized game of tennis in such fantastic surroundings is the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Use of the courts is complimentary but as they are outside it’s an activity perhaps not best suited to the summer months.
Six hole mini golf course
This family favourite is free to use and is great fun especially for kids but as with the tennis courts the fact it is outside means it may be too hot to play in summer
The spa experience is gorgeous. The spa itself is beautiful and the staff make every guest feel at ease and ready for some pampering. They use Elemis products and offer every type of face and body treatment you could wish for. They are open from 10am to 8pm.
For some exercise is the best way to unwind and de-stress and the fully equipped gym is open from 6am-10pm. The early morning and late night times are perfect for parents who want to train while also having quality times with the kids.
Modern, well maintained bikes are available to hire through Adventure HQ located at JA Hatta Fort Hotel The mountain trails near the hotel are exhilarating and you’ll see some stunning scenery.
Hatta Fort Hotel is family-friendly
I visited JA Hatta Fort Hotel with a friend but I could see the resort is a brilliant place for families looking for a friendly hotel to enjoy spending time together.
- Interconnecting rooms available, great for teenagers.
- Friendly, patient staff.
- Family pool.
- Child orientated activities.
- Kids play areas set in natural surroundings with loads of fresh air.
- Children’s menu and flexibility for fussy eaters.