It was already past noon by the time I reached the driveway of the four-star Oceanic Khorfakkan Resort & Spa; two hours off my target. "I wish there were more road signages," my companion said, trying to diffuse my irate mood. I tried to recall all the twists, turns and roundabouts we took from Dubai through Fujairah before finally reaching Khorfakkan, and gave up.
However, the sight of the renovated hotel set with the lovely backdrop of the jagged Hajjar mountains on one side and a long beachfront at the other put me on holiday-mode in no time.
At the lobby, a smiling hotel staff offered us welcome drinks—a refreshing shot of cranberry juice which I gladly sipped while waiting for my turn at the reception. A man dressed in kandoura in front of me was telling the receptionist he wanted to extend his family's stay for one more night.
Stepping into our room later, I was greeted by a wonderful view of the ocean. "Let's soak in there later and then head there," my companion said,
pointing down the lively pool area occupied by some children and adults.
"It's nice in here," I said, scanning the panoramic suite which included a spacious sleeping area and a separate living room. A bottle of chilled fresh orange juice and a tray of fruits were waiting at the dining table in a corner.
I suggested that we head for a relaxing massage at the spa before having lunch, a suggestion that was met with strong enthusiasm.
And relaxing, it was. The rooftop spa has the most polite set of therapists I have ever met and offered a wonderful view of the ocean and the Hajjar mountains. I could feel my stress ebb away. I tried the signature Oceanic Spa Body Massage; my therapist kneading her expert fingers on my tired and tensed muscles. By the end of the 60-minute treatment, I felt regenerated.
Lunch was next on the list and we had a quick one at the all-day dining Al Murjan restaurant at the ground floor, which offered more of Khorfakkan's scenic views.
Our best dining experience was at their recently opened Bab Al Bahar, a seafood restaurant that offered diners the option to choose how their food
is cooked and seasoned. The interiors were tastefully modern in design and cozy, but the temperature outside was so good that we could not resist the idea of an al fresco dinner.
For starters, we had the seafood chowder with fried baby crab. The chowder was rich and creamy, complemented by the crunchy and flavourful crab. Definitely one of their best hits.
What followed were some delicious Arabic mezze and succulent grilled lobsters. As we were digging in, we overheard two female diners at a table next to us tell the waiter that they wanted their fish cooked extra spicy. Like us, they ended up staying until closing time.
We spent much of the next day lazing by the pool; I was enjoying the cool water and a view of parasailers in the air, while my companion was entertained by a chatty lifeguard who talked about tourism in the area and the mansion sitting on top of the nearby hill that he said is owned by a VIP in the area.
He also gave us a brochure of the beach activities we could do in the hotel—from scuba diving to riding on a banana boat—some costing less than Dh100 per person. We ordered some mocktails at the pool bar and were delighted that the average cost of drinks was just Dh20. No wonder families love it here.
We then headed to the beach for a short dip and would have stayed longer if only they hadn't taken away the beach chairs and umbrellas. Those had dotted the brochure picture but were nowhere in sight when we came. Up for upgrade, maybe?
Hungry, we headed to Breakers, their cafe that served snacks and what was possibly the juiciest burger I have ever sank my teeth on. The Aberdeen Angus beef patty sat on a bed of fresh greens and was topped with blue cheese, with fries on the side for Dh28.
Then it was back to the room for a quick nap before lazily packing up for the day. In the elevator on our way to the reception to check out were a couple and their two girls, one of whom was crying while holding on to her Hello Kitty backpack. Like me, she probably was not yet ready for the weekend to end.
There will be a next time, Khorfakkan, I said, making a mental note to try the hotel's complimentary chauffeur service on the next visit.
For bookings visit www.oceanichotel.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 09 2385111. All room reservations come with complimentary breakfast for two people.