AS THE Cove Rotana Resort Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) reaps the benefit of the emirate’s remarkable growth, TTN spoke to new general manager JOE BATSHOUN about plans for the future and what makes RAK so attractive.
Have there been any developments recently at Cove Rotana? Or are there any planned for the near future?
The Cove Rotana Resort only opened last year in February so, in terms of construction, we have only made a few changes, such as building a barbecue near the Sunset Pool and adding a kitchen at the Laguna Pool to give guests the chance to have dinner under the stars. The pool bar will offer a special seafood menu.
Do you have any special promotions at the moment? If so, please provide details.
We are focusing on the spa treatments and have discounts in the morning for early birds and every month we highlight one massage and give 20 per cent discount. We have seven massage rooms, two gazebos on the beach and six spa therapists and a relaxation area.
We also have walk-in guests and have created two special packages for the facilities and lunch on a day rate.
How are you increasing awareness of the property either regionally or internationally?
We have an internal marketing/communication department which is in charge of promotion. Having a good relationship with journalists is also a key point for us, to keep them informed about new promotions and results at the hotel. Rotana group is also very strong in marketing in the Middle East. The awareness of the brand is definitely a plus for our hotel. People trust the Rotana brand and its services.
We are also very active through both our Rotana corporate sales office and our own team in terms of roadshows and we participate in most of the national and international trade shows. Roadshows are often in association with leading destination management companies serving RAK.
Which are your key feeder markets and are you looking to tap into any new markets?
Europeans are still travelling a lot to the Middle East and it seems that RAK is becoming a trendy destination. The Asiatic market as well as the eastern European market are also getting stronger.
We also can say that we have been very successful with excellent feedback from both the resident community and guests travelling to RAK from other emirates.
What makes Cove Rotana unique in RAK?
The Cove Rotana Resort is an extensive property, covering 40 hectares, situated on an elevation with marvellous views for the hill villas. Some other villas are uniquely built in the middle of the water lagoons which provide extreme privacy.
The Resort offers 204 rooms and 76 one-, two- and three-bedroom villas which are ideally designed to accommodate families or a group of friends with modern in-room facilities. All Villas have a terrace with either a garden or a view onto the lagoon, while the two- and three-bedroom Villas are also equipped with a private plunge pool. The hotel rooms are cosy and have a distinctive Nubian touch in their design.
The resort’s beach is 600 m long and there is no construction of any kind to spoil the view.
Another major advantage of our resort is that all of our food and beverage outlets have an outdoor space. We have a large-scale all-day dining restaurant, Cinnamon. Then Basilico restaurant has 80 outdoor covers, our terrace lounge Breeze does around 120 outdoors. Of course all our beach and poolside venues are outdoor. So one of the great things about the property is the al fresco seating, this is one of the main features.
Also many of our guests told us that they don’t need to travel by plane for a change of ambiance and world, they just have to drive one hour from Dubai.
What makes RAK an attractive destination?
The city of RAK is a place of history and of respect of the culture. But the selling point of the city and of the emirate is the varieties of landscapes; Ras Al Khaimah is an interesting and attractive area to visit. The waters of the Persian Gulf and 65 km of sandy coastline form a natural border in the west. The eastern part has a spectacular mountain range called the Ru’us Al Jibal. It is part of the Hajar Mountains, which start in the Musandam Peninsula and run as far south as Sur in Oman. RAK offers its visitor a different atmosphere.
The new Wowrak venue, Iceland Waterpark is also a very positive point for us as more and more people will know about the destination.
What do you think the future holds for tourism in RAK?
Ras Al Khaimah has witnessed unprecedented growth over the last five years, with social development growing in tandem with the economic gains made during the period. While it has not been unaffected by the global economic downturn, the emirate still expects to achieve growth rates of 10 per cent this year, which compares to a total UAE growth forecast of two to four per cent.
Tourism has a bright future in this city, it has so much to offer. New projects are coming and a theme park will soon open at the entrance to the city which will attract new visitors.
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