JA Lake View review: inside Dubai’s most sustainable five-star resort - Hotel Insider
Dubai is getting a new beach club as Soulbeach opens at JA The Resort in Jebel Ali on Friday. Spread across 3,000 square metres of beachfront, the new lifestyle venue is an adults-only haven where sunseekers can enjoy an infinity pool dotted with sunbeds, including a 26-metre-long lounger.
Colourful parasols line the beach and it has a host of indoor and outdoor lounges, bars and restaurants. It's the latest transformation for Dubai's largest experience resort, a destination that is also home to one of the city's oldest hotels, the JA Beach Hotel, which dates back to 1981.
Ahead of Soulbeach's launch on Friday The National paid a visit to JA The Resort to find out what else is on the cards for guests checking in to JA Lake View Hotel, the most recent hotel to open at in the city's most sustainable five-star resort. JA Lake View Hotel is set back a little from the beachfront at the rear of what is Dubai's biggest resort, and has its own turn off from the main road for arrivals.
Check-in is not the fastest we've seen, but the staff are friendly and provide plenty of information on amenities within the resort, dining options, activities and more before directing us to our fifth-floor room.
The hotel's Jebel Ali address has both pros and cons. It’s a bit far from the city for those looking to easily explore Dubai’s myriad shops, restaurants and bars. But there are frequent free shuttle buses to several of the emirate's malls.
The fact it is set away from the bustle of Dubai, though, means you really get the sense that you’re on a mini-holiday. It’s also only a 50-minute drive from Abu Dhabi, and 20 minutes door-to-door to Expo 2020 Dubai, which will suit some travellers. JA Resorts & Hotels received the #DubaiAssured stamp after a health and safety verification process in collaboration with the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing.
At JA Lake View Hotel, there are plenty of sanitising stations dotted around the public areas, and staff wear face masks and remind guests to do the same. Wide hallways mean there's plenty of room to pass others at a distance, while spacious restaurants make social distancing easy, even during busy times.
There were no hygiene packs in our room, though – something that has become almost standard during the pandemic. Perhaps this is because sanitiser bottles and face masks are typically made of plastic, which goes against the resort’s sustainability ethos.
We’re staying in a Resort Course View King room on the fifth floor of the six-storey hotel. It's spacious with a modern vibe, a muted, beachy colour palette with sandy-coloured carpets and fittings set against a deep blue feature wall. A large balcony overlooks the pool, golf course, and onwards to the sea.
There’s plenty of storage thanks to built-in wardrobes, drawers and dressers, and a handy vanity unit with a mirror that unfolds out of the desk – just remember not to forget your hair straighteners inside this drawer when you check out, a lesson we learnt first-hand.
The bathrooms have a gorgeous curved bathtub and a separate shower, sink and toilet. They are slightly on the smaller side with the toilet tucked right behind the door and you may need to exercise some patience when it comes to waiting on hot water in the shower.
All the rooms at the hotel are smart, so expect Bluetooth buttons for the easy connection of devices, USB plugs inside the lamps and touch control panels for lights, air-conditioning and do not disturb signs.
JA Lake View Hotel was also the first in the region to introduce voice-activated Alexa devices in each room, allowing guests to request services. All you need to do is say “Alexa, ask the hotel to send me new towels" and it's done – although we imagine this could get confusing if any of your guests are actually called Alexa.
The attendant who delivers our luggage tells us that we should be able to press a button in our bathroom to turn the frosted glass wall separating it from our bedroom transparent, allowing us to see through to the room and the view. It doesn't seem to work in our suite, but it’s no great loss – we prefer the privacy.
Staff are knowledgeable and friendly. We meet reception manager Diana as we wait to check-in and she gives us a run-through of everything going on at the resort and some tips on the best places to dine.
There's a lovely turndown service provided by housekeeping, although this takes place a little bit too early for our liking. We returned to the room at about 5.30pm when the sun was still up and the staff were busy closing our curtains.
We have dinner at Kinara by Vikas Khanna. The restaurant staff are welcoming and well-informed about each dish they bring us.
Reception staff on the front desk are a little slow by comparison. Upon check-out, three are clustered around one desk but we still have to wait about 10 minutes for the process to be completed. The hold-up also seems to mostly stem from the printing of a paper copy of the bill, something we were a little surprised to be offered, given the hotel's sustainable policies.