on October 26, 2004
"OK, now just don’t get into an accident…"That was the first thought to cross my mind when I saw the sign welcoming me to the Sultanate of Oman. I was on my way to the town of Hatta, which is actually in the UAE, but because of its place nestled in the Hajar Mountains, it is only accessible by traveling through 20km of Omani territory, and my rental car was only insured for the UAE. Any accident would put a quick stop to this vacation.Then, within moments of crossing the border I looked up at the road to see a huge heard of camels making their way onto the road. I slammed on the breaks, turned on the warning lights, and listened to the tires screech. Where I come from a couple people die every year from hitting moose with their cars, and I imagined that hitting a camel would yield similar results. Luckily I was quick enough on the breaks and didn’t have to find out personally.Hatta is one of the real gems of the UAE, a small town tucked into the mountains, seemingly cut off from the rest of the UAE. Its dry air is a great attraction to Emiratis fleeing the coast and the surrounding Hajar Mountains are some of the most spectacular scenery in all of the UAE. All of this makes Hatta a great getaway from the excesses of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and the Hatta Fort Hotel is the best place, well actually to only place, to spend a couple of relaxing days in Hatta.Because it is the only hotel in Hatta, it is of course, not cheap, but then again nothing is really cheap in the UAE, and the Hatta Fort Hotel at least gives you your money’s worth. The hotel consists of a set of lovely chalets all with A/C, TV, and a balcony that overlooks the lovely grounds of the hotel as well as the surrounding mountains. The grounds of the hotel are particularly green and impressive and the hotel has set up a couple of 5k and 3k walking paths through the palm groves and surrounding hills. There are also many sports facilities set up including a pool, archery range, and 9 hole par-three golf course. In terms of food and drink, the restaurant has a top quality restaurant for dinner as well as a poolside café for lunch and coffee. There is also a small bar located upstairs that has happy-hour everyday from 7-9.In addition to all this the hotel has various tours that it can arrange for you, the most popular of which is a 4X4 tour of the surrouding wadis (dry river valleys). In terms of services the Hatta Forth Hotel has all you need and is a great place to kick back and relax.
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