Constructed to resemble a Mediterranean village perched on the Ras Al Khaimah coast, the Cove Rotana benefits from decent word of mouth.
“Oh, you’re going there. Lovely,” came the majority of responses when the destination was revealed in conversation. It appeared that most UAE ‘stay-cationers’ spoken to had visited the resort and overwhelmingly enjoyed their time.
On the face of it, it is easy to see why. Upon entering the purpose built 204-room complex everything seemed very plush. Check-in at the main reception was painless and a host of on-call golf buggies are standing by 24-hours a day, waiting to whisk you to your room or villa. This service is essential.
True to its Southern European/North African design, the small winding streets connecting the accommodation create somewhat of a maze that only becomes fathomable in a) the daytime and b) after a couple of days’ stay.
Within minutes the cheerful driver had reached the Premium King Bed, sea view room that had been booked. Walking through the door, initial impressions were a tad deflating. The king the bed was sized for must have been on the diminutive side, it being little more than a double and the décor, while pleasant, was rather scantily appointed. On the plus side, everything was clean and functional and the balcony was as agreeable as the vista it overlooked.
The reason behind expectations perhaps not be met with hotels of this ilk is that they are constantly attempting to maintain a balancing act between amenities vs. cost. The Cove Rotana is, in essence, an economically efficient, middle-class getaway that benefits from its idyllic location. Wrestling with the dilemma of providing a standard of luxury while keeping the price down is no mean feat and The Cove, on the whole, does manage to strike an equilibrium. The bill at the end of the two-night stay was very reasonable, it’s just the few corners that have been cut are noticeable.
For example, yes, the main swimming pool (the smaller infinity bath was closed for renovation) is incredibly large, yet not installing any temperature control equipment meant dips were not altogether refreshing. Equally the evening meal in Italian restaurant, Basilico, was of a high standard, though, the limited buffet available for lunch in eatery Cinnamon, was extremely average to poor and overpriced for what it consisted of.
Overall, the trip to RAK was not brilliant, but nice. It provided a different atmosphere essential for a break and the resort was comfortable for the amount of dirhams handed over.
It’s just with opulence at every turn in this country, The Cove is neither lavish enough to compete in that market, nor cost effective enough to be labelled a budget getaway and thus is left in a tourism wilderness.