The Cove Rotana, Ras Al Khaimah feels like a little village tucked beneath the Hajar mountains where you can hide away in a villa and escape the stresses of the big city – the bonus is that it’s only a 45 minute drive from Dubai. Built in 2009, the property boasts a long expanse of beach – about 600 metres’ worth – and a small creek winds its way through the beachfront area, crisscrossed with footbridges. Built on the side of a hill, the hotel attracts a mix of Emirati families, European tourists and fried UAE city birds looking to rejuvenate with a little quiet, sunshine and a shiatsu massage. You’ll find yourself exploring every corner of the property and you can either choose to work your glutes up the hills and stairs dotted with magenta bougainvillea or take the convenient buggies. Don’t feel guilty if you pick the latter option – you are on holiday after all!
THE SPA, BEACH AND POOL
Get ready to embrace your inner Rebecca Adlington and head to one of the hotel’s two 700 square-metre infinity pools – perfect for doing laps! It’s tempting to just recline on a sun lounger, but like us, you’ll probably find the cool blue water beckoning you. Beach-goers will appreciate the hundreds of metres of sand with views out to sea– no buildings to interrupt the panorama like in Dubai!
When you’re done in the sun, head to the Bodylines Fitness & Leisure Club spa, or to hear the lapping of the waves, escape to the beach massage cabanas.
Go for the signature Cove Rotana massage that combines Chinese pressure point massage and European techniques. We absolutely loved the acupressure!
THE BARS AND RESTAURANTS
Get your morning started with a buffet breakfast at all-day dining restaurant Cinnamon, which serves up a spread of international fare with Arabic highlights. We devoured a fruit plate and a classic English breakfast. For a few nibbles during the day, head to the poolside Sunset Bar to relax under parasols on rattan furniture. When dinner calls, walk up to the upscale dining restaurant Basilico. If weather permits, eating on the terrace really gives you the ‘I’m on holiday feel’ as the property is peppered with dim white lights all the way down to the water. The restaurant serves up dishes from all over the Mediterranean with an emphasis on Italian cuisine. We give high points to the grilled branzino and the chateaubriand with vino!
Three words: private swimming pool. Yes, that’s what you get if you book one of the hotel’s posh two or three bedroom villas. The Cove boasts 204 rooms and 78 one, two and three bedroom villas. The largest villas have panoramic views of the Arabian Gulf and a living room, two master bedrooms, one bedroom with twin beds, a sitting area and a living room and bar counter. If you’re travelling without an entourage, the hotel’s regular and deluxe rooms boast dramatic vaulted brick ceilings and, because they’re built on a hill, most have gorgeous views of the Gulf from private balconies or terraces.
Check out Ahlan!'s through-the-keyhole look at a Cove Rotana room
BEYOND THE HOTEL
Ready to do more than recline on a massage bed or sunbathe the day away? A variety of watersports are offered right on the hotel’s beach, including speed boating, banana boats, wakeboarding, waterskiing and kayaking. If you want to see what Ras Al Khaimah has to offer outside the hotel walls, sight-seeing trips, desert jaunts and fishing trips can all be arranged for you by the RAK Royal office in the hotel lobby. Quadbiking, overnight and mountain safaris as well as diving are popular choices!
Room Rates: From Dhs400 for a standard room to Dhs5,500 for a three-bedroom villa
Signature Spa Treatment: The Cove Rotana massage, Dhs550, 90-minute full body massage to ease muscular tension and improve circulation.
Main Meal: Spanish seafood platter at Basilico, Dhs199
RAK Safari: Three hours, Dhs200
INFO: Cove Rotana Resort, Ras Al Khaimah, 07 206 6000, www.rotana.com.