UAE

A sublime retreat in Ras Al Khaima – The Cove Rotana

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“In every out-thrust headland, in every curving beach, in every grain of sand there is the story of the earth.”  ― Rachel Carson

This year I wanted to celebrate my mother’s birthday differently – something that’s close to what she’s passionate about, which is nature. She’s also quite fond of the shoreline too, thanks to the coastal influence from her childhood.
Thus, began the hunt for that unique destination – arabesque, clad in unrefined artistry, views of the sun dipping in the horizon against orchestrated waves, and a dash of history.

Pretty easy, right? That’s what I thought too.

After a few hours of scanning available options from hotels across the United Arab Emirates with the search bar housing search terms such as beach, villa, resort, historical, indoor pools, seaside, natural, and hot springs I chanced upon The Cove Rotana Resort, Ras Al Khaima, Rotana’s first gem in the emirate.

The website was not just user friendly but clean in its layout, making it easier to navigate across. The two bedroom villa with a plunge pool was what caught my eye and without thinking twice, I booked it. This resort had everything I was looking for and I had my fingers crossed hoping that it turns out to be just like the website said it would, if not better. The follow-up email prior to the stay was a good reminder though our excitement about the birthday weekend itself ensured that it was the only thing on our minds.

Getting to the resort isn’t a challenge as long as you’ve got the GPS to guide you. It was a refreshing change though to drive on more accommodating roads, compared to Dubai. Yes Ras Al Khaima, you are welcoming that way.

We had a smooth check-in at the reception desk and I quite fancied the little key holder that had a map of the entire resort. Each member gets to have his or her own key  upon request. You may want to make a note that Cove Rotana spreads across a vast area – quite literally. Commuting from the accommodation to a restaurant usually takes place on a buggy unless you’re located quite close to it. Ours, being the two bedroom villa with a plunge pool was situated towards the beach, which meant that we’d have to hire some wheels to get us around.

After being dropped at our villa along with our luggage, we were given a tour of our little getaway.
This was the view from the master bedroom of our villa.

Cove Rotana Master Bedroom - Hello plunge pool

Cove Rotana Master Bedroom – Hello plunge pool

Despite worries about how hot it was going to be given that we were travelling during the peak of summer, the weather wasn’t as harsh as we had expected it to be. The cool breeze and the salty air somehow managed to make the weather a little more lenient. We got good vibes about this place so far.

The view from the villa - Cove Rotana

The view from the villa – Cove Rotana

Calm and revitalizing inlets of water surround the resort in a way that embraces not just the villas but opens its arms towards the beach as well. It’s hard to come across destinations in the UAE where structures have been crafted around nature and not the other way around.
In mum’s words, “It’s a view with a view”. You can enjoy a view of the beach whilst bobbing along in the plunge pool.
Peace and privacy are two keywords here. We were quite lucky to get the villa that we did (hint: villa number 69).

Getting to the beach at Cove Rotana

Getting to the beach at Cove Rotana

Luckily we weren’t too far from the beach and that spared us from hiring a buggy. It’s pretty difficult to get one on time when it gets busy so if you’re visiting during the peak period, call in for one at least fifteen minutes in advance.

Props to the architects and designers of Cove Rotana Resort ; each angle has a view of its own and a different story to share. The bridges that connect the pockets of accommodation to the beach have a way of making you stop halfway to experience the compositions it has to offer, especially at dusk. The picture below describes what I mean.

The view from the bridge - Cove Rotana

The view from the bridge – Cove Rotana

Basking in some sunshine (lots of it to be precise) and crisp salty air was an exhilarating experience. The sand felt softer here too, which made us linger longer.

The Beach at Cove Rotana

The Beach at Cove Rotana

Sunset at Cove Rotana

Sunset at Cove Rotana

We decided to stay there a little longer until we caught the sunset. We didn’t expect to catch the hues of pink too.
Was Mum having fun? Absolutely!

Portraits by the beach

Portraits by the beach

While I was clicking away, I happened to notice this photo shoot in action with the sunset in the frame. Good thing they made some smart use of the lagoon that wasn’t too far away from the beach.

The barnacles at Cove Beach

The barnacles at Cove Beach

The rocky barriers that separate sections of this resort are studded with barnacles, abandoned clam shells and curious crabs as well. Its quite evident that some of these barnacles have been around for years.
The lower half of the beach is usually blanketed by the sea during the high tide, which is presumably why the stairs at the bottom have these barnacles attached, giving it a somewhat mottled appearance.
Natural and synthetic charms converge here.

Private dinner by the beach - Cove Rotana

Private dinner by the beach – Cove Rotana

On our way back to the resort, we’d noticed this handsome dining table set for two and were told that it was an arrangement in progress for a dinner by the beach. Someone else was celebrating her birthday here as well.
Marvelous, don’t you think?

In an attempt to make the most of our twenty four hours at the resort, we had built quite an appetite. After exploring some of the water sport activities, we had decided to try the dinner buffet at Cinnamon. Something tells me its the smokey aroma towering from the grills that lured us towards the restaurant.

Fresh produce - Cove Rotana

Fresh produce – Cove Rotana

Like most international dinner buffets, the spread was quite elaborate and each section represented a different part of the world.
Some of my favourites included the machboos diyay (Emirati style) and the tender grilled chicken from the barbecue section.

Firing up the grills - Cove Rotana

Firing up the grills – Cove Rotana

You could also enjoy some artisan bread from the freshly baked section at the buffet. The foccacia reminded me of my friend’s baking. It did have a touch of ‘home made’.

Bread line - Cove Rotana

Bread line – Cove Rotana

Dining on the terrace seemed a lot better than dining indoors as we couldn’t get enough of the seaside. The casual dining ambiance is great with family or even on a dinner date. I have added this place to the list of date night spots with my husband.

Shortly after dinner, we’d managed to find a buggy to take us back to our villa (as we were obviously too full to even think about walking) and before we knew it, we were all snug in bed. Time unfortunately wasn’t on our side and it kept ticking faster the more we seemed to enjoy our stay at Cove Rotana. This place sure does have a sense of balance and it felt like a retreat as well (now you know where to escape to if you’re considering a staycation in the UAE).

En route the beach villas

En route the beach villas

 

The view with the pool

The view with the pool

After a quick dip in the pool, I’d continued to explore the rest of the area or as much as I could on foot. Had we stayed on for a day longer, we could have given the ‘spa by the beach’ treatment a go though I’m not sure if I would have been comfortable with the idea initially. Maybe I’ll find out next time?

The swimming pool

The Lagoona Bay swimming pool

There are two swimming pools a little apart from each other at Cove Rotana. The Lagoona Bay Pool is adjacent to the Lagoona Bay Pool Bar where guests can enjoy sips of fermented or freshly squeezed on the rocks. I thought the view was quite stunning from here.

Breakfast at Cinnamon

Breakfast at Cinnamon

With just a few hours left before we checked out, we’d checked-in to Cinnamon to enjoy another lap of great food. The breakfast options were gluten free, sugar free friendly as well as light if you were counting calories (my advice? Don’t count calories – burn them.)
The shelal cheese was a good addition to my simple breakfast. Mum and Dad enjoyed the gluten free pancakes and muffins as well.

Gluten free pancakes

Gluten free pancakes

And this is how we all ended the meal – on a sweet note with some waffles.

From the waffle station - Cinnamon, Cove Rotana

From the waffle station – Cinnamon, Cove Rotana

Thus, our twenty four hours had come to an end at Cove Rotana and to be honest – we all suffered from a hangover as well. We highly recommend this resort to anyone who’s looking for a break from the concrete labyrinth and is seeking a different experience in the United Arab Emirates. The service raises the bar here as the team runs the extra mile to ensure that your stay is a comfortable and memorable one in Ras Al Khaima.

The only downside (if you see it as one) is that the resorts don’t come with Wi-Fi access. You do have independent ethernet cables located close to the telephones to connect to your laptop, however it’s best to rely on your mobile plan if you absolutely cannot stay without accessing the internet. In our case, it proved to be a boon because we got to spend more time with each other and especially with Mum, by staying completely disconnected from our emails and schedules. So it wasn’t an inconvenience for us at all.

The weekend spent at Cove Rotana, Ras Al Khaima re-calibrated all of us and we’re certainly going back for more.
What a great birthday weekend this turned out to be!

Comestible regards,
Judy Sebastian.

Parting shot - Cove Rotana

Parting shot – Cove Rotana

4 Comments

  1. Alphonsa Sebastian

    August 14, 2015 at 8:38 am

    It was the most beautiful experience of my life. Would love to be there again!

  2. Grace @ Sandier Pastures

    September 15, 2015 at 5:47 pm

    Wonderful write up about Cove Rotana! it’s like I was there.

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