In the hustle bustle of a metropolis, silence is a precious commodity. However, when you live in Dubai, you are never really too far away from sprawling destinations. Realising that, my partner and I packed our bags and set off for an adventurous weekend at Hatta. Why Hatta? Simply because apart from its tranquil surroundings and lush greens, Hatta has a strong connect with history, something we just couldn’t wait to explore.
A drive that started from the bustling lanes of Al Khail took us to the beautiful Hajar Mountains. The unspoilt fauna and the serenity of the hills make the Hajars a sight for sore eyes. Two hours and several stopovers later, we found ourselves entering the premises of the majestic Hatta Fort Hotel. The property is a destination unto itself as it has a strong connect with history.
We were first introduced to our room, a spacious chalet with intricately crafted wooden interiors and a balcony that faced the Hajars directly. Elated, my husband decided to go on a photography spree with me. In K Kishor Kumar, the financial controller of JA Resorts, we found the perfect chronicler. ‘Initially when it started, its (the hotel’s) aim was to house the medical team for the village. Back then, there were just 28 rooms. There was no commercial purpose. In 1991, during the Gulf War, we added banqueting facilities and the West Wing.’
Adding these facilities meant that the hotel was not just a weekend getaway for expats, but could also be a spot for corporates and the crème de la crème of the UAE to host events (the hotel hosts nearly 10 high profile destination weddings every year).
As we strolled through the property, I noticed some parts, like the Ramoul Bar, were carved out of stones. Kishore helpfully informed me that some portions have, in fact, been carved from the rocky mountains as they existed when the hotel was being built. This is one of the most charming aspects of the property: the coming together of the old and the new under one roof. No matter whichever part of the hotel you are in, the view of the Hatta village nestled in the Hajar almost calls out to you.
The two VIP chalets at the Hatta Fort Hotel have acquired a following of their own. Keen to see them, Kishore and I drove down as these are located a few metres away from the main premises. These chalets comprise two bedrooms, a spacious living room alongwith a private Jacuzzi, making them ideal retreats for families looking to spend some time in solitude.
By Day 2, my husband and I were well-acquainted with the property, and now it was time for some fun and games. We decided to try our hand in archery. Our trainer wrapped a piece of armour around our arms so that they wouldn’t be strained by the pressure exerted while unleashing an arrow. Five rounds later, I discovered all my arrows affixed on the ground, while my partner had successfully mounted a majority of them on the target.
For our next adventure, I decided to opt for a more grounded a game (quite literally, mind you), and walked towards the mini golf course. There are nine rounds, however, my fate was sealed round 1 onwards. While I unfailingly hit the ball outside the course, my partner kept teeing off with ease.
When in Hatta Fort Resort, watching the sunrise and the sunset comes highly recommended. We hopped on to the Hatta Fort Hill Park that towers over 896 feet to discover the breathtaking sight of sun hiding behind the Hajars. This experience was definitely one of the highlights of our short trip.
Good food is an integral part of travel. The Hatta Fort Hotel boasts of two restaurants --- Café Gazebo for casual dining and Jeema for fine dining. Over the years, Gazebo has become a destination unto itself in the Hatta Fort Hotel. Seeking adventure, many expats come to Hatta and find themselves swearing by the special snacks and beverages of Gazebo. On Day 1, I opted to sit outside to enjoy my hearty lunch of fabulous steaks with the stunning views of the Hajar right in front of me. The charm of the outdoor seating is duly complemented by the indoor dining at Jeema Restaurant where alongwith tantalising food, one can enjoy a live musical performance. Looking at the elaborate buffet, I picked an unusual combination of butter chicken, dry spaghetti in white sauce and marinated prawns, and was happy to discover that the chef had retained the authentic flavours of each of these items.
Living amid the hustle bustle of a metropolis, a weekend getaway seems less of an indulgence and more of a necessity. The Hatta Fort Hotel offers a rare opportunity to reacquaint yourself with nature while fulfilling three essential holiday goals of fun, food and frolic.