There’s something about being on a beach — with the air in my hair and the sand tickling my feet — that makes me feel young(er) again.
The peppy, art-filled, open-plan lobby is positively bustling when my husband and I check in on a Saturday afternoon: an arcade-style machine in one corner means that he disappears before I can say “Ms Pac-Man".
Fortunately, I am able to tap him on the shoulder just a few minutes later, signature Rove wooden key card in hand, and we proceed to our seventh-floor Rover Sea View room.
The hotel is on the southernmost tip of Dubai's La Mer beach, which is accessible directly from Rove La Mer Beach via a flight of stairs, and where guests, or “Rovers” as the hotel refers to them, can occupy dedicated sun loungers if the rest of the beach gets too crowded.
Also a stone’s throw away is a melting pot of restaurants and bars, from the fusion Indian Masti and Japanese Miyabi to Pizza Giuma and seafood eatery Aprons & Hammers, many of which offer guests staying at Rove a handy 20 per cent off the bill. We promptly add restaurant-hopping to our agenda. Until the end of March, the hotel provides free shuttle buses to its sister property at the Expo 2020 Dubai site.
The safety measures
Rove follows Dubai Municipality guidelines when it comes to hygiene, including an increased sanitisation schedule in public areas and rooms and plenty of hand-sanitising stations dotted about the property, with staff quick to remind guests to keep their masks on and maintain social distance.
Rove Hotels was also the first midscale hotel brand in Dubai to receive the Safeguard Label from Bureau Veritas, a French company that specialises in testing, inspection and certification services, which means the property ticks global safety, hygiene and cleaning requirements.
The extra-large, extra-comfy double bed takes up most of the space, but the room’s 26-square-metre size is belied by the arching views of the beach by daytime and the twinkling lights of La Mer’s restaurants by night.
The room continues the lively decor theme from the lobby, with psychedelic wall art, a trio of quirky paintings and graffiti-style splodges plastering the electrical metre box. The industrial-chic “wardrobe” is an open cage-like structure with various vestibules for storage, plus a beam on which you can hang your clothes.
From the receptionist and restaurant hosts to the team manning the various counters by the swimming pool, every single member of staff we interact with is, in a word, animated.
Effusive greetings and farewells seem to be part of the code as are, what we imagine to be, mile-wide smiles under the masks. The attitude certainly serves to add to the property’s life-is-good vibe.
The bustling lobby and balmy beach aside, make time to hang out at the sea-facing swimming pool. Here, you'll find a cheery red food truck taking orders for bites and beverages, a House of Pops stall selling refreshing ice lollies, a rickshaw-style towel station and a cabinet dispensing water bottles. The hotel is a veritable magnet for families, but the pool is large enough that you can steer clear of children or adults, as the case might be.
Elsewhere, the hotel has terrace seating for those who want beach vibes sans the sand, a 24-hour gym and laundromat, and a locker room for storing luggage, plus The Daily, the property’s in-house restaurant.
The two meals we had at The Daily fell on either end of the spectrum, with breakfast paling in comparison with an a la carte meal. While the morning buffet had some of the usual suspects (breads, fruit, cold cuts, sausages), the spread didn’t get us overly excited. The eggs-your-way option was one saving grace.
Lunch, on the other hand, was exceptional. The Daily has an extensive a la carte menu, with plenty of options for vegan and gluten, nut and dairy-free diners. We went for the crab quesadilla (Dh52) to share, and thoroughly enjoyed the tender crabmeat laced with melty cheese and avocado, with a hint of cumin punching up the flavour. While the grilled sea bass fillet (Dh89) was a bit fishy for my taste, my partner lapped it all up, while I made short work of a creamy prawn and Parmesan spaghetti (Dh74), which we requested in a piquant pink rather than plain white sauce.
Sadly, the tempting sounding apple crumble was unavailable on the Sunday we lunched at The Daily, but the ice cream sandwich (Dh31) — scoops of chocolate and strawberry smooshed between giant chocolate chip cookies — made up for it.
Highs and lows
Having the beach at your doorstep is definitely the first and best reason to book a stay at Rove La Mer Beach. And while the breakfast buffet did not excite, the numerous restaurants dotted around La Mer means you can easily dine at any of these instead.
Should beach breezes and seawater do to your hair what they do to mine, carry your own frizz-fighting conditioner because the hotel provides only a conditioning shampoo in rooms.
If going from room to pool to beach to resto-bar is your idea of a holiday well spent, then this hotel has you covered.
The bottom line
Rates start from Dh299 ($82) for a Rover room, not including tax.
Check-in is from 4pm, but you can arrive earlier and leave your luggage while you enjoy the beach, and checkout is at 2pm.
Rove La Mer Beach, Jumeirah 1, Dubai; rovehotels.com
This review was conducted at the invitation of the hotel during the global coronavirus pandemic. It reflects hotel standards during the time, services may change in the future