Check In: Radisson Blu Resort Fujairah
Although it’s only become part of the Radisson group quite recently, this Fujairah resort has been around for years and is a favourite weekend getaway of the UAE’s expat community. Nestled between the vast Hajjar Mountains, the unspoilt beaches, and clear blue Indian Ocean (which is cooler than the Gulf waters during the hot summer months), the hotel is now just 90 minutes’ drive from Dubai, thanks to the new freeway, making it the ideal spot for a romantic or girly getaway. It’s a true beach resort, with luxurious swimming pools right on the coast, rows of sun loungers and a range of water-based activities, should the urge to get adventurous take you.
The hotel has been given a makeover in recent years – rooms are bright and airy with touches of the exotic thanks to dark wood and sandy-toned upholstery. The spa and range of restaurants complete the escape, offering body and mind a thorough spoiling.
THE SPA, BEACH AND POOL
The first stop for any stressed-out city girl has to be Spa Zen. Indulge in the Absolute Zen Ritual, which includes a full custom aromatherapy body massage and facial. The Spa uses Pevonia products that allow you to personalise your treatment around three core areas – “serenity” to relieve stress, “recovery” for full body healing, and “vitality” if you need an energy boost.
There are five treatment rooms, sauna and steam rooms, a fitness centre, and even a beachside cabana allowing you to have treatments on the sand with the sound of the waves in the distance. Pure bliss!
Sink into a sun lounger and laze by the longest private beach on the east coast (a whopping half-kilometre) or if you prefer, by any of the five pools. There are two kids’ pools, and for adults there are three temperature-controlled pools with swim-up bars serving suitably adult drinks.
Our favourite feature shared by all of the 261 rooms is the panoramic view of the Indian Ocean. Every single one has its own balcony, so there is no anguish at check-in about whether or not you’re going to get a decent view! Wooden shutters open in between the ensuite and bedroom, meaning you can soak in the huge bathtub while overlooking the beach, too. Lather up with toiletries from the luxury French brand Anne Semonin.
The standard room is surprisingly spacious, but we’ve got our heart set on the sprawling Grand Suite, which boasts three bedrooms and two sunny terraces.
THE RESTAURANTS AND BARS
Stop off at Breeze on the first floor, overlooking the ocean, for a buffet breakfast to start the day. Choose lighter options like fruit and yoghurt if you’re aiming for the optimum bikini body, or if you want to indulge (you’re on holiday, after all!), there are heartier options to choose from.
Tuck into a salad or sandwich for lunch at the beachside Grand Blue restaurant, which is so close to the action that you can keep an eye on your lounger to make sure it’s not nabbed by another sun worshipper.
For dinner, head to Al Nokhada, which serves traditional Arabic seafood and Khaleeji dishes, a selection of hot or cold mezzeh and a range of mixed grills. You can sample local fresh fish with the seafood platter or pick your own from the display, and the chef will prepare it any way you like. For a relaxed cocktail post-dinner, head to the Lobby Lounge, where you can unwind on the terrace and enjoy the sight of the stars – a rare treat for us city girls!
BEYOND THE HOTEL
If you’re feeling a little adventurous, head to the hotel’s dive centre and book a scuba diving lesson. Or, if you’re already a diving expert, head straight to the water, where you can spot vibrantly coloured coral and a range of sea life (you might even see a turtle!). If you want to start closer to the surface, there are also some spots shallow enough for snorkelling.
Alternatively, you can stay above water and get your adrenalin fix by going deep sea fishing, wake-boarding or parasailing.
Room Rates: From Dhs700 for a standard room; Dhs3,600 for the Grand Suite
Signature Spa Treatment: Absolute Zen Ritual, Dhs585, 120 minutes
Main Meal: Seafood platter at Al Nokhada, Dhs300
Diving lesson: One session in the pool and one in the ocean is Dhs550
INFO: Radisson Blu Resort, Fujairah; 09 244 9700, www.radissonblu.com/resort-fujairah.