Dubai: Looking for a weekend escape away from the city life? Or, a glamping spot where you can go barbecuing with friends without the hassle of having to set up a tent? Dubai has the perfect spot for you, just a 90-minute ride away from the city. We are talking about Hatta, Dubai’s exclave nestled in the Hajar mountains.
From the giant Hollywood-style Hatta sign on a mountainside to the mountain bikers and rover riders you see on the way, there is a palpable sense of adventure as you reach the Hatta Wadi Hub.
A vintage vehicle cut in half decorates the entrance of the parking lot and people of all ages look excited as they head to the industrial grey-coloured main building. Vintage-style signage shows visitors directions around the makeshift mountain town.
The entrance on your left leads to a café and a bike shop. Here you can also rent bikes. On the right is the reception area where cheerful staff dressed in park ranger uniforms greet people, guide them to the reception desk, or can be heard recommending activities to try.
Guests who have booked a room in one of the rental options are ferried from the reception in a Utility Terrain Vehicle (UTV) buggy. It’s a rocky ride to your accommodation as you cross bike tracks, rope walkways, and children playing on tyre swings in the play area.
Visitors usually leave their luggage in their rooms and head back down to the Wadi Hub activity area to enjoy some adventure sports.
The hub is a welcoming space. Giant wooden tables and benches provide plenty of seating areas for those who want to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee or a snack from one of the many permanent food trucks in the area. But, the star food outlet is a small hut-like stall on one corner, with a never-ending queue of determined people, waiting to buy an Emirati regag (crepe) for Dh5 or freshly fried luqaimat (deep-fried dough balls with date syrup) – Dh20 for a large portion and Dh10 for a small.
Coming back to living unit options that you can choose from, there are four types of stays close to the Hatta Wadi Hub.
1. Damani lodges
I tried a Damani lodge suite during my stay in Hatta and I loved it. It was a spacious cabin with its own alfresco dining area outside, with a built-in barbecue pit. Indoors were chic interiors with grey walls and industrial-style shelves made of metal and wood. Of course, there were the added luxuries of a mini-fridge, kettle, television, a comfortable queen-sized bed, and a well-equipped washroom.
My favourite part was the overhanging terrace, supported on stilts and furnished with a huge beanbag for lounging and three deckchairs.
The terrace doubles up as viewing deck to enjoy sunsets over the majestic Hatta mountains, stargaze at night, and watch the sunrise if you are up early. If you are lazy to head to the terrace for the morning view, just look out the giant floor-to-ceiling windows.
The view will leave you wondering if you are really in Dubai.
Other than the Damani lodge suites, visitors can also opt for standard or standard plus rooms. The amenities for all rooms are exactly the same, the only difference is the size of the cabin. All rooms also offer either sunrise or sunset views.
A standard room can be shared by two adults, a standard plus room can be shared by two adults and a child, while the suites can be used by a family or group of four.
Prices for the suites start from Dh1,375 per night depending on which day you are booking the rooms for. Standard rooms start at Dh1,175, and Standard Plus rooms start at Dh1,225. On weekends and public holidays, the room costs can go up to Dh2,000.
2. Hatta Dome Park
Recently, glamping has become all the rage. The Hatta Dome Park is the perfect glamping spot. It features 15 dome-shaped permanent luxury tents with panoramic views of the Hajar Mountains. The tents come with a full range of amenities, including a television, Wi-Fi, and a mini-fridge.
Each dome accommodates up to two adults and two children and has a king-sized bed as well as two single sofa beds. The dome tents also have a private barbecue area and fire pit within a large terrace space.
Rates for Hatta Dome Park start at Dh1,250 on weekdays.
Hatta Caravan Park
Billed as the first luxury caravan park in the region, the Hatta Caravan Park is home to 11 bespoke caravans with a range of amenities, including a TV, kitchenette, and free Wi-Fi access.
Each camper van is designed to house two adults and two to three children.
Prices start from Dh1,100 per night on weekdays.
If you're looking to really get away from it all and closer to Nature, then this is the option for you. Nestled high in the mountains close to the banks of the Hatta Dam, are the Sedr trailers.
The staff transport you and your luggage up into the mountains in specially approved 4X4 vehicles and help you get settled in your converted Airstream trailer. The gleaming silver trailers can house two adults and one child.
Each comes with a kitchenette, a dining area, a bathroom, and an outdoor shaded seating area. There's a communal fire pit that the staff will light on a daily basis and a barbecue area if you want to grill your own food.
You can book a kayaking package to explore the water or simply enjoy sitting by the Hatta Dam lake, surrounded by mountains. After all, that is what Hatta is all about.
Room rates start at Dhs1,250 and the resort closes annually from early May to early October.
Tent camping ground
If you're more of a wild spirit or an outdoor enthusiast, Hatta's dedicated campsite is a good place for you to pitch your own tent.
Explore the serene landscapes of Hatta from the comfort of your own caravan or tent. There are barbecue areas for toasting marshmallows and you can walk to the food trucks if you'd rather not cook your own food.
Rates from Dh155 per night on weekdays
Follow the #DubaiDestinations campaign on social media, to see Dubai's unique destinations, vibrant culture, sights, activities, shows, events, and festivities.