Review: JA Hatta Fort Hotel – Romantic Staycations, Honeymoons & Weddings
If you’ve lived in Dubai for long enough you’ve probably experienced the odd visa run, or two, in your time. But have you ever checked out the JA Hatta Fort Hotel located amidst the majestic Hajar Mountains in the heart of Hatta…
Not only does this renovated hotel offer everything you could possibly need for a relaxing, romantic staycation, it also offers a number of different venues for weddings and private events. And for the adventure loving couples out there, JA Hatta Fort offer a variety of exhilarating indoor and outdoor activities including Kayaking, Archery, Mountain Biking and much more!
BCME Founder Rio, her husband Adam and their young son Kai, were lucky enough to enjoy a weekend staycation there last month. Below, you can read all about Rio and her family’s experience and what the hotel resort has to offer.
Take it away Rio…
Waves of nostalgia hit when our car approached the JA Hatta Fort resort. Years ago, when I was newbie to Dubai, visa runs became somewhat a normal part of my monthly routine, and to break up the monotony, I would often stop for a spot of lunch at JA Hatta Fort and enjoy taking in the beauty of the picturesque scene that sat before me. The venue has an old school charm, a little rough around the edges, with an air of the 80s….So when I was invited by the Events & PR team to experience the newly refurbished resort (almost a decade later) with my family and explore the wedding events spaces, I jumped at the chance!
Surrounded by a backdrop of mountains and hilly lush green mounds, with wondering prides of flamboyant peacocks, the low-rise JA Hatta Fort resort is a 90-minute scenic drive from Dubai. The area is being touted as an eco-tourism destination, with the Dubai government investing more than AED 1.3 billion over the next decade in tourism and infrastructure projects. Upon approach, you can see the new and huge HATTA sign imbedded into the mountains, clearly inspired by the famous Hollywood sign in LA.
The resort seemed super relaxed and quiet, making check-in speedy and easy, bearing in mind we did visit during the slower summer months. We were greeted by friendly staff, who were fantastic with my 2-year-old; lots of hi-fives were shared, and Kai was gifted a few of the JA’s famous rubber duckies, which made his day. Cold towels and cool mint drinks were accepted graciously, as just 2 minutes walking from car to hotel is enough to put anyone in a sweat during this humid/hot month. The hotel also has a beautiful waiting area adjacent to the lobby which is a lovely place to rest after your journey. Refreshments such as tea and coffee are served here.
My little family and I were treated to a generously sized 45-square ‘Deluxe Mountain View’ chalet. The chalet is bright, modern and welcoming and features a gigantic, 220cm super-king bed, perfect for a family like mine who dabble in co-sleeping while away.
Offering a stunning view, our chalet also had a large terrace overlooking mountains, green lawns and palm trees.
The Chalet was generous in size, with high ceilings, inspired by contemporary arabesque style and natural details of exposed stone, wood and linen. The soothing pastel palette is serene and complements the rich intensity of lush greenery, deep blue dam and umber horizon outside.
We were welcomed with a generous fruit basket, a personal handwritten note from the General Manager and bottle of white wine, nicely chilling in a cooler, perfect for sundowners on our private terrace.
Some of our chalet’s features included:
♡ Private Balcony
♡ En-suite bathroom with Elemis products
♡ Shower and sink in bathtub
♡ Mini-bar and snacks
The aircon was arctic, which may appeal to many, but for me, was a tad too strong.
The Pool and Surroundings
Surrounded by panoramic mountain views, the resort really is a little oasis of beauty that boasts two pool options. We chose the family friendly pool, which is perfect for both adults and children, with a fully shaded toddler pool on one side and a deeper, larger rock pool, featuring waterfalls, on the other. The pool was manned by friendly and on-the-ball lifeguards and snacks & drinks were readily available. Even though we visited during the summer months, being able to dip in and out of the cool water made a massive difference and we spent a good few hours casually chilling by the pool and enjoying some down time.
Dinner and Breakfast at Jeema Restaurant
The resort is small, and options for dining were limited during our stay, as the resorts ‘Café Gazebo’ was under renovation. That wasn’t really a hinderance though, as the hotel’s main restaurant, Jeema, offered us a great dining experience.
With panoramic views of the mountainous terrain complementing an impressive à la carte menu, we really liked the relaxed and modern vibe of the restaurant. The staff were very attentive, and we loved how our 2-year old’s food and drink was served in fun, eco-friendly plates and cups for toddlers.
My husband enjoyed the seafood risotto and I opted for the fish of the day ‘seabass’ – The food was top notch, as was the service.
We ended our dinner with a drink on the terrace overlooking the mountains at Roumoul Bar and I couldn’t help but notice how suitable the Bar area and terrace would be for a private event function such as an engagement party or cocktail reception.
Breakfast the following morning was good, standard as far as breakfast buffets go, offering fresh pastries, bread, fruits and cooked breakfast options. Lots of cereals, fresh juices and alternatives to cow’s milk were also on offer, which is always a plus for me.
The resort doesn’t have a stand alone ‘spa’ as such, but they have converted one of the chalets into the most adorable relaxing space, where they conduct massages, facials and more. I thoroughly enjoyed a 60-minute relaxing ‘deep river’ massage. My therapist used Elemis oils and applied just the right amount of pressure throughout. Such a lovely treat for a bride-to-be before her wedding day at the resort.
Due to the intense heat, we were unfortunately unable to experience all the awesome recreational activities both within and around the resort, but we did get a chance to say hello to the resorts resident animals as the sun was setting and as the heat started to subside. My son got to feed newly born baby deer and bunnies and loved saying hello to all the different species of birds, including beautiful peacocks, who freely roam the grounds. The animals seemed well cared for and happy and the staff handled the animals with love and respect, which is important to me.
We also went for a little tour around the Hatta village and stopped to take pictures by the Hatta Dam, it was scorching hot, so we could not experience much, but we shall definably be back for more during the cooler months.
Outdoor recreational activities include (but not limited to):
♡ Mountain zip-lining
♡ Wall climbing
♡ Human maze – a life-size maze with hidden trap doors, spider webs, mirrors & puzzles to solve
♡ Orienteering and Navigation
♡ Mountain Biking
♡ Mini Golf
Indoor recreational activities include (but not limited to):
♡ Table tennis
♡ PlayStation & board games
♡ Fully equipped gymnasium indoor play area and babysitting services are also available
Offsite activities include:
♡ Trail hiking (tour guide upon request)
♡ Kayaking and pedal boats
♡ Heritage village tour
♡ Honeybee garden experience
If you choose to marry at the JA Hatta Fort Hotel and have your family stay, there is so much for your friends and family to enjoy and experience during their time. Likewise, for an adventurous couple, looking for a romantic getaway, you will not be disappointed.
Wedding Venue Tour
I was taken on a mini tour of the venue to explore everything JA Hatta has to offer a couple planning their wedding. Our first stop was climbing the hilltop, to view the intimate space at the top, often used for vow renewals, small weddings and romantic dinners. The rugged, stone steps leading up to the top, dark wood outdoor furniture along the trail, and torch lights leading the way, is just so different to what any other nearby location offers. Once you reach the top, you have amazing views of the Hajjar mountains and the venue’s lush grounds. I would highly recommend the space for a couple wanting an intimate mountain backdrop wedding for 25 guests or less, a vow renewal or even for a man wishing to propose to the love of his life.
For larger scale weddings, the venue offers a purpose-built tent and weddings can be hosted on their lawn grounds. The venue’s Roumoul Bar can also host private parties and events.
JA Hatta Fort offer a number of different wedding packages including:
♡ Crystal Package – Starting from AED 7,000 / Up to 20 guests / AED 350 per person
♡ Silver Package – Starting from AED 14,750 / Minimum of 50 guests / AED 295 per person
♡ Ruby Package – Starting from AED 27,500 / Minimum of 100 guests / AED 275 per person
♡ Gold Package – Starting from AED 50,000 / Minimum of 200 guests / AED 250 per person
♡ Diamond Package – Starting from AED 67,500 / Minimum of 300 guests / AED 225 per person
Couples with large wedding parties also have the option to rent the full resort out for themselves. This is subject to availability at preferential room and F&B rates.
The JA Hatta Fort Hotel ticks many boxes for me and would appeal to a wide range of people from families on staycations, to couples looking for a relaxing getaway. The venue is NOT for those looking for 5* super lux spaces for their event, but would appeal to couples looking for a scenic mountain view and a wedding offering something a little different to the glitzy 5* beach resorts of Dubai. I personally loved the spaces available and with the right wedding planner and stylist aboard, your wedding event could look simply magical at JA Hatta Fort. I would also recommend the resort for hen parties and bachelorettes wanting to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.