My parents have been to Dubai so many times that by now, they’ve seen most of what’s worth seeing in the city. The other day, I therefore decided to take them on a road trip to Jebel Hafeet, which is a mountain in Al Ain, some 180km from Dubai. According to GoogleMaps, the trip would take around 2 hours, but we stopped by Dubai Outlet Mall along the way (and I got a new pair of sneakers), which added an additional hour to the ride.
Jebel Hafeet is 1200m high, which makes it the second highest mountain in UAE, but part of the mountain is actually located in Oman. It’s out in the middle of nowhere, but on the top, there’s a radar station, a viewpoint and…a Mercure hotel!
We stopped at the hotel to grab some lunch, and it turned out to be a really great place. If we had known how nice it was up there, we would have brought our toothbrushes and stayed overnight. I checked the room rates on Hotels.com and it wasn’t very expensive.
The hotel had two restaurants, one in the lobby, and one outside by the pool. The lobby restaurant had the best view, but we wanted to sit outside, so we went for the pool restaurant.
To my parents’ great pleasure, the food was the usual pool restaurant fare. Long live Spaghetti Bolognese and Spaghetti Carbonara! Local food? No thank you. Bolognese and Carbonara is more than exotic enough for them. The hotel restaurant also served alcohol, so my mom could have a glass of white wine with her food. My dad and I were driving, so we had to make do with a Pepsi.
On our way out from Dubai to Jebel Hafeet, we took the Dubai-Al Ain Road, so to get a change of scenery, we went by Abu Dhabi-Al Ain Road on our way back. The last part of the trip, we drove on Truck Road, which isn’t called Truck Road for nothing. Lots of heavy traffic on that stretch! The road marking was a bit odd, because the marked-up lanes seemed far too narrow, and all the trucks were therefore taking up two lanes.
We made it back to Dubai just in time for rush hour, so we were brutally dragged out of our lazy road trip bubble and put face-to-face with the spring-loaded Sheikh Zayed Road traffic. That’s when I really noticed how peaceful and quiet it had been at Jebel Hafeet, and once again, I told myself that I really should get out of the city, correction; out of Dubai Marina, more.
It’s strange, because when I’m traveling, I’ll be browsing through every single neighborhood along my way, making sure to leave no stone unturned, but in Dubai, I only rarely venture further than Mall of the Emirates. Old Dubai might as well have been on another planet, and last year, I actually spent more days in New York, than I did in Deira. Rather embarrassing if you ask me. I’ve therefore decided that from now on, when I’m in Dubai, I’ll be dedicating one day a week to new adventures. It’s on the blog, so it counts, and feel free to remind me, should I slip back into Marina-centered laziness again.