Traveling is one of lifeâs great pleasures â and UAE residents around this time of the year (July and August) normally pack their bags and head to cooler places. The fiery summer does have a knack of driving one up the proverbial wall â unfortunately for me, due to the fact that I joined a new workplace and having to fulfill the customary probationary period â flying out was a fleeting thought.
Fortunately, I did satiate my travel pangs â travel I did, well within the UAE at least, and without breaking the bank. My better half and I booked a series of weekend staycations in July and August, culminating with oversees travel in September (to celebrate a BIG milestone in our life â more of this later).
Mid July, we found ourselves on familiar grounds ala Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR). Now most of you know I absolutely love JBR for its vibrancy, myriad dining options and the water sports laden gorgeous beach â there is always something happening, to keep you on your toes.
Amwaj Rotana were running some special summer deals â we quickly seized the opportunity and booked ourselves into a lovely sea-facing premium room â well worth the money as it came with exclusive Â Club Rotana benefits.Â On entering the hotel premises, we were greeted by the lovely Sheila â who escorted us to the 25th floor to be checked in via the VIP Club Rotana lounge. Welcome drinks were served â a sweet gesture, given the fiery heat we drove through.
A quick signature here, a quick signature there and we were then guided to our room â loâbehold, our room boasted a magnificent sea view and had a private balcony. The premium room was large and tastefully decorated â oozing warmth, with the cosy bed and super soft pillows inviting me into a luxurious slumber. Oh, and it came with free wi-fi, little things like this make for an enjoyable experience â especially given that I have a knack of uploading photos onto my social media profiles almost immediately. Yeah I know, I am addicted to Instagram! Haha
Feeling a bit peckish, I decided to visit the Club lounge and indulge myself with some afternoon tea and cookies â whilst at it, I got chatting with Sheila who advised that as part of Club Rotana benefits guests can avail of complimentary tea/coffee and juices throughout the day. If I so prefer, they also serve canapÃ©s in the evening along with alcoholic beverages between 18:00hrs and 20:00hrs â but I had a dinner reservation at JBâs Gastropub!
One of the things both me and my partner look out for whilst selecting a hotel or a resort, is a well-equipped fitness centre. We both love staying in shape, and see no reason to give ourselves a break from running on the treadmill just because we are on vacation/staycation. Thankfully, the Bodylines gym at Amwaj Rotana is a delight â equipped to the hilt with a plethora of machines designed to work your core and all parts of your body, we happily indulged ourselves to the tune of some fast paced music belting around. Â Last but not the least at the behest of my partner, I monkeyed around at the TRX training zone â gosh, those things look far more difficult when you eventually try them out. I reckon I was working up an appetite for the exciting dinner that lay ahead of me.
Come evening, and with a voracious appetite we made our way to JBâs Gastropub â and nothing prepared me for the âbuzzâ that you get when you immediately step foot into the establishment. This place is busy, and I mean that in a very good way â infectious energy, smiles all around with an electrifying feel good atmosphere â it just took me back down memory lane to last yearâs fabulous vacation in London. We were sat in a cosy corner, atop plush leather sofaâs and even though the restaurant was buzzing with people, the attendants delivered a spectacular personalised service â they were always around to check up on you, crack a joke or two.
Now onto the food â where do I start, it was lip smackingly good â the highlights of the evening were the grilled octopus, pork grinds, house signature cut Angus steak (with hot/sweet peppers, roasted bone marrow and grilled onions) and my personal favourite BBQ pork ribs (the portions were huge).Â Whilst at JBâs gastropub, live a little and throw caution to the wind â I absolutely loved the refreshing Rose’ Sangria – just puts you in the right mood.
Talking about drinks, you cannot leave this place without trying out their âadultâ shakes. Absolutely loved these cheeky milkshake versions conjured up by the team at JB’s Gastropub. I reckon I may have seen a unicorn or two after chugging this decadent concoction of rum, mozart chocolate and crushed cookies.
Closing notes on the restaurant â we will definitely return to try out the daily roast and the 9-hour braised beef short ribs â you guys have a winner of a restaurant at your hands.
Feeling completely full, we made our way back to the lobby of the hotel â but not before my partner found time for hunting PokÃ©mon. Being very competitive, I wanted to outdo him â and funny enough in no time we were running amok capturing PokÃ©mon. Surprisingly, there were a few hotel guests who were doing exactly the same â so we didnât feel that weird! Haha
Back into our suite, I requested for bath salts from housekeeping and armed with a good novel, I made way into my personal sanctuary.Â Was pleasantly surprised to find toiletries from one of my favourite brands Lâoccitane â suffice to say, I relaxed and rejuvenated myself. After all, happiness is taking a long warm bubble bath and drowning out the noises of yesterday.
They say, a good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything. I woke up the next day with a certain glow emanating from my very being.
With thoughts of having another ridiculously amazing day, I made my way to Horizon restaurant to catch some breakfast. Am grateful that I haveÂ a high metabolism, for before me was a scrumptious spread of breakfast goodness â from Â an interactive egg station, bread and cheese counters, to hot stations there was something for everyone.
Even though it was a bit hot, I had some time to check out the swimming pool and go for a swim â after all, a staycation isnât complete without taking a dip or two!
Closing sentiments of my staycation at Amwaj Rotana – with views of the Arabian sea, plush premium Club Rotana room benefits, service with a smile and an amazing dinner at JB’s Gastropub, it made for an extremely memorable stay. Definitely worth checking out, especially with a nearby beach and water sport activities to tickle your fancy – and of course The Walk for all your shopping needs.
They say if a picture is worth a thousand words, what is a video worth? Have put together a couple of short video montages of my staycation – hope you all enjoy! And would love to get some feedback!