Imagine going for just 2 nights away, and Instagram telling you that your Insta Stories can’t take any more uploads… that’s how click-happy I got throughout my weekend away at JA Resorts, Dubai’s largest experience resort!
Located in a quiet corner of Jebel Ali (Dubai) and minutes away from the Expo 2020 site, JA Resorts is a sprawling 128-acre resort boasting of three 5-star luxury hotels (JA Beach Hotel, JA Palm Tree Court and JA Lake View Hotel), an 800 meter private beach, a world-class golf course and tennis courts, 25 restaurants and bars, an equestrian center and so much more.
We were staying at JA Lake View Hotel, the newest of the trio of hotels at JA Resorts that was launched this September.
As we walked into the foyer, awestruck by the new-age architectural design elements of the place, the concierge greeted us with the most apt of greetings; “Welcome to Paradise”.
Click on Farasha’s Instagram post below to get a virtual tour of our room:
This suave, modern hotel is like no place I’ve ever stayed at before. Our cozy, inviting room features cutting-edge technology. Apart from a 32” television screen loaded with a wide variety of entertainment channels, a ‘magic mirror’ that opaques the window between the bath and bed by a switch, and one-touch switches that light up for easy navigation, our room was also equipped with Alexa assistance. My little girl Farasha made great friends with Alexa, and apart from ordering in extra amenities, she also got Alexa to tell her bedtime stories and very interesting general knowledge tidbits.
And the cherry on the cake was the view! We could see the pool, the golf course and the lake from our balcony.
We were booked under the Ultra All-Inclusive Package, the best way possible to really make the most of a stay at JA Resorts as it gives you unlimited access to food and drink across all 25 restaurants and bars across the resort. It also means that all the snacks and drinks in the mini bar at our room is complimentary too!
The team at JA Resorts made us feel extra special with a personalized handwritten welcome note, a board of cheese and crackers and a deliciously chilled bottle of rosé in our room. And as an afterthought, just to please Farasha as well, there was a knock on the door… and she was sent a platter of macaroons, gummy bears, marshmallows and more! We were already getting that Paradise feeling!
JA Lake View Hotel has not one, but three swimming pools, and one of these are reserved for adults only. We headed to the family pool, and spent a very laidback, leisurely afternoon taking in the stunning views of the hotel façade, the expansive pool and the greenery of the golf course beyond.
While lounging by the pool, the very friendly staff from Garden Bar come along to take your orders. I knocked down a vibrant Aperol Spritz, and Farasha really enjoyed her virgin Pina Colada.
Kinara by Vikas Khanna
On our first night, we dined at Kinara, JA Lake View Hotel’s contemporary Indian fine-dining restaurant by award-winning celebrity Chef Vikas Khanna. Kinara is a sensory exploration of Indian gastronomy with a clever, modern twist.
Walking into the restaurant is a treat in itself with its artistic interiors inspired by the spice bazaars of India and the open kitchen giving diners a glimpse into the magic that goes into the creations on their plates. Click here to read more about our Kinara experience.
Bibe Lounge & Bar
Post dinner, I tucked Farasha into bed and headed off to Bibe Lounge & Bar. Located on the rooftop of JA Lake Resort, Bibe opens its flamboyant, eye-catching bar from 5pm daily. You get spectacular aerial views of the resort from here, and the staff tell me that sunset is the best time to really take in the magic of the skies.
I found myself a cosy corner, and sipped on a deliciously fruity cocktail called Time 2 Tan-Go.
The evening was beautifully breezy, and perfect for shisha…. And what a shisha it was! This giant shisha was custom-designed for Bibe and features a mini aquarium. They have a few more of these in the pipeline including a mini garden shisha. I was smoking a specially created blend of vanilla, grape and mint.
A very special ‘thank-you’ to Mohammed from team Bibe for offering to click my photos with my stunning shisha!
I returned to my room, heady with the smoke of shisha and looking forward to my inviting bed only to find Farasha wide awake and having a party of her own with Alexa!
Breakfast at 81
Wanting to make the most of Day 2 at JA Resorts, I set the alarm at 8 am for the following day, and we headed to breakfast at 81, JA Lake View Resort’s all-day dining restaurant that is named after the year that JA Resorts was built.
The buffet breakfast at 81 has something for everyone. At one corner you’ll find a range of freshly squeezed juices, granola, oatmeal, a variety of yoghurts, fresh fruit and more. At the other end is the hot foods section which includes a live eggs station to have your eggs whipped the way you like (I like mine loaded with fresh green chilies and melted cheese please). They also do fresh pancakes, and a smorgasbord of hot dishes from around the world including dimsums, shakshuka and Chinese fried rice.
We had our breakfast out on the terrace of 81, taking in the greenery of the stunning 9-hole golf course.
Post breakfast, we took our very first buggy ride to JA Beach Hotel. The complimentary buggy rides are available across JA Resorts every 15 to 30 minutes, and connects guests to the three hotels, the equestrian center and the golf course.
A Morning by the Beach
We spent an idyllic morning by the beach at JA Beach Hotel. The 800 meter private beach also offers a variety of water sports for those inclined, and you can even book a horse ride on the shores on special request at the equestrian club.
Calm Spa & Salon
I had an appointment at Calm Spa & Salon that afternoon.
I was booked in for a full body massage with the lovely Fitri from Bali. She made me feel very much at ease, helping me fill in the required form and asking me if I had any particular concerns that needed addressing.
I was also given a choice of body oils; lemongrass & rosemary for energizing, or lavender for relaxation. I chose the lemongrass as I still had the rest of the day to enjoy my resort life.
Fitri kneaded away the tensions of my body with expert moves, and the one hour was over well before I would have liked.
I extended my zen vibes at the spa by sipping hot ginger tea at the relaxation lounge which boasts of stunning views of the beach.
Lunching at Republik
Post my very pampering spa treatment, we headed to Republik at JA Lake View Hotel for lunch. This modernesque gastro-pub is located right by the pool, yet its interior design is just as stunning.
Here I met the very talented bartender Oscar Brina who has created a very special Johnnie Walker cocktail which he has dubbed the ‘Johnnie Brina’. It is his entry to an international Johnnie Walker cocktail creations competition, and I can assure you he’s a very strong contender (pun intended!). Brina’s smoky, aromatic concoction features homemade poached pear, roasted cloves, green apple soda and a slither of dehydrated pear for garnish. This cocktail tastes festive, smoky and sophisticated all at once and I really do hope Republik retains this in their regular menu.
The skies were going grey by this point, and the Fish & Chips on the menu was calling my name! My crisp, golden batterd fish came with thrice-fried fries, tarter sauce and a serving of traditional British mushy peas.
Farasha ordered from the kid’s menu, and loved her Mac & Cheese.
For dessert, we had Profiteroles doused in rich chocolate sauce. At Republik, Chef Sydney has perfected the art of making pub food look and taste classy.
Farasha’s Horse Ride at the JA Equestrian Centre Dubai
The usual highlight of a hotel stay for Farasha has always been the pool, but JA Resorts now tops her personal list after our afternoon spent at the Equestrian Centre.
Farasha LOVES animals. She pats stray pups and wants to adopt even the scruffiest of cats, so imagine her excitement at getting introduced to an entire stable of gorgeous horses from around the world! She was especially in awe of a Scottish pony who had her hair braided skillfully down her mane, and pleaded to take her home.
Farasha was assisted by the very friendly, knowledgable Sanjay who helped her saddle onto the absolutely beautiful Bella, a chocolate-brown beauty from Argentina. They happily trotted around the resort, accompanied with interesting insights on horses and stable life from Sanjay.
Click below to see the fun!
Phoenicia by Greg Malouf
That night we dined at Phoenicia at JA Beach Hotel. Headed by celebrity Australian-Lebanese Chef Greg Malouf who is widely credited for being the master of modern Middle Eastern cuisine, the restaurant is named after an ancient Mediterranean civilization which now forms a part of modern-day Lebanon.
Dimly lit and invitingly cozy with its cushioned seats and mirrored décor, the menu here lists a range of Lebanese favorites that have been revamped and skillfully plated to fine-dining status.
Click here to read on about our experience at Phoenicia, JA Beach Hotel.
14 Reasons for choosing JA Resorts:
Overall, we had one of the best staycations ever at JA Resorts! We were treated like royalty every step of the way right from the valet to the concierge, to the check-in and beyond. Here’s a whole list of reasons why JA Resorts is currently topping our UAE staycations list, and why you really need to make a booking yourself:
- 5-Star Treatment at a 5-Star Resort: We never saw a frowning face here. Everyone we interacted with went well beyond their call of duty to make us feel welcome.
- Stunning Design: You really do step into another world when you enter JA Resorts. The property has been designed with great architectural finesse and boasts of stunning views and greenery which are a sensory delight in this part of the world.
- The All-Inclusive Package: Upgrade your stay to the Ultra All-Inclusive Package, and get access to 25 restaurants and bars spread across all 3 properties on the resort. This includes alcoholic beverages from 11am to 11pm daily.
- Award-Winning Dining Options: The all-inclusive package includes 2 signature restaurants; Kinara by Vikas Khanna and Phoenicia by Greg Malouf.
- Cutting-Edge Technology: This is the very first hotel-stay I’ve had the pleasure of staying at that is equipped with Alexa assistance! JA Resorts is a very forward-thinking resort.
- The Pools: When staying at JA Resorts, you have access to all 7 swimming pools spread across the property.
- Private Beach: Get free access to the 800 meter pristine private beach at JA Beach Hotel.
- Outdoor Activities Galore: The resort features a world-class 9-hole golf course, 4 tennis courts, and also offers adrenalin-boosting water sports including jet skiing, windsurfing and banana boating. You can also book in seaplane tours from the private marina, and ofcourse there’s the horse-riding!
- The Equestrian Club: Farasha’s favorite place at JA Resort! They have pony rides for the little ones, and horseback riding for adults and children. You can also book a horse-ride by the beach; many of the horses are actually trained swimmers!
- The Buggy Rides: The facilities across JA Resorts is easily accessible with the complimentary buggy rides that come at the designated stops every 15 and 30 minutes. These buggy rides are joy rides in themselves!
- Free Shuttle Services: The hotel offers free shuttle buses to The Dubai Mall, Atlantis The Palm, Ibn Battuta Mall and Mall of the Emirates.
- The Spa: Book yourself for some self-pampering at Calm Spa & Salon. Loved my full-body massage and me-time there!
- Expo 2020: JA Resorts is in very close proximity to Expo 2020, making it the ideal choice for corporate bookings.
- Dubai’s most Sustainable Resort: The 1 million square metre, experience-packed JA The Resort has been awarded the prestigious title of ‘Dubai’s Most Sustainable 5 Star Resort’. The DTCM Sustainability awards were measured on 5 key performance indicators – Waste and Environmental Protection, Water, Energy and Carbon, Responsible Practices, Training and Awareness and Continuous Improvement. JA The Resort was announced as the winner, with the Cluster General Manager William Harley-Fleming, crediting the dedicated Green Team for ensuring the smooth running of all Sustainability and CSR efforts in the 3-hotel experience resort. Click here to read more.