The Dubai you didn’t know about - this is what I call Hatta. Hatta is an inland exclave of the emirate of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Most people imagine Dubai as nothing more than skyscrapers and big malls, giving it a stiff and stereotypical image. Those people might be surprised by learning more about Hatta, with its generous mountain area and nothing but pure nature surrounding. I have been visiting Hatta and stayed at Dubai’s only mountain resort, which is the JA Hatta Fort hotel..

JA Hatta Fort hotel offers a perfect mountain escape with luxury resort accommodations, panoramic views, and endless activities. The latter one mentioned I experienced myself, as for activities I went on a mountain hike, explored the garden area of the resort, including mini golf, paddle tennis and even Wildlife discovery. Besides multiple activities, there’s also a spa, movie nights by the pool and an indoor recreation center, which offers even more activities. One thing that I can ensure is that the days at the JA Hatta Fort hotel are definitely too short and one won’t be bored by any moment as there is always something to do and/or to join.

The mountain resort offers different room types, available for each taste and need. Besides garden villas, guests do furthermore have the option to stay at the Terra cabins, which will bring one closer to Hatta’s beautiful natural landscapes. These cabins come in a spacious size, which could host a maximum of six guests. I was staying in one of the villas, which will also come within different sizes. My designated room type was the premium mountain room, which comes with an open space, high ceilings and a total of 45 m². There are two variations available, king or twin beds.

I arrived in Dubai after a long-haul flight from Asia and as one could probably imagine, I was pretty much done for the day. For my first night I had dinner at the Sunset Terrace, one of the multiple restaurants of the hotel. I was speechless by the true beauty of the mountains, surrounding me and the views that the Sunset Terrace restaurant gave me. It was also pretty fascinating for me, that there is an entire and separate vegan menu available. The dinner included some authentic and local items, along with an artistic twist and a beautiful presentation of the food itself. It was a multiple course menu. 

After dinner I went straight back to my room and tried to fall asleep quickly, as my alarm was set for 3 AM the next morning already. There is one thing that shouldn’t be missed when one is traveling to Hatta, which is definitely a mountain hike. Obviously, the weather situation would be even more humid and hotter during the later hours, that’s why me and my designated guide of the hotel decided to start the hiking tour by 4 AM. Honestly, I can tell I was surprised and excited about the experience itself. I have been on hiking tours before but coming from the fact that I have a really close connection to Dubai, it gave me even more motivation to get up this early in order to go on a two-hour hike. The views in the mountains were majestic. Watching the sunrise within the mountains, surrounded by total silence, was a different experience. I enjoyed the hike that much, that I could convince my guide to even extend my tour and walk all the way back to the resort from the mountain area. 

After arriving from the hike, I went straight to Cafe Gazebo, another restaurant of the JA Hatta Fort Hotel. The decor of this restaurant is different from the Sunset Terrace, where I had dinner the night before. Cafe Gazebo has a simple but Mediterranean approach with white interior, panoramic views on the mountain area and the pool side. The breakfast comes in buffet style but there’s also multiple other items available to be ordered. The staff also prepared vegan pancakes for me, along with salad bowls and multiple other items. Different kinds of plant-based milks are also available.

It’s no surprise but after for our hike and a fueling breakfast I went back to my room and enjoyed some quiet time at the terrace of my room. A short break that I definitely needed, because shortly after I explored more of Hatta, before leaving the next day already. One of my stops along the road was the Hatta Heritage Village. As we returned, I explored more of the resort and spend a quiet evening at Sunset Terrace for dinner again. Personally, I want to return to Hatta and recommend a stop when traveling to Dubai. The trip takes about 90 minutes by car from Dubai city. The JA Hatta Fort hotel offers transportation service, which I used from the airport to arrive comfortably at the resort.