x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Welcome to RAK - and imagine you're in beautiful Dorset

A new resort illustrates the charms of the UAE coastline - with a picture from the South Coast of England.

A screen grab from the now replaced website for The Cove Rotana Resort in Ras al Khaimah
A screen grab from the now replaced website for The Cove Rotana Resort in Ras al Khaimah

The hotel promises "breathtaking views of the Indian Ocean", but guests who recently booked into the new Cove Rotana Resort in Ras al Khaimah on the strength of its website might have been forgiven for thinking they should be somewhere else. Where, specifically? Perhaps thousands of kilometres away at the English beauty spot Durdle Door in Dorset - pictures of which the resort used to illustrate the charms of RAK on its site.

"It's nothing unusual; it's just a bit surprising that someone so far away is interested in using it," said James Weld, one of the owners of the British estate surrounding Durdle Door. "I know it's a great shot, but it's completely unconnected." Although the Cove Rotana is located on about 600 metres of "idyllic" Arqoob beach, it does not include the dramatic - and distinctive - limestone arches of Durdle Door, part of the Jurassic Coast Unesco world heritage site over 5,000 kilometres away.

After the disparity was pointed out by British newspapers yesterday, the hotel took down the image and replaced it with an aerial view of the sprawling resort, which has 202 hotel rooms and 76 villas. Durdle Door, part of the Lulworth Estate, recently celebrated its 400th anniversary. Built between 1608-1610 as a hunting lodge, it was bought by Humphrey Weld in 1641 and has been in the Weld family since. Mr Weld said many people had used the image of Durdle Door without permission.

He said tourists who travelled to the Cove Rotana Resort might be disappointed to find that there was no Durdle Door in the Emirates. "I worry for them," Mr Weld said. "Some of their visitors may be disappointed, because it is an amazing natural rock formation." Attempts to contact the management of the Cove Rotana Resort for comment were unsuccessful. But at least one other error persists on the resort's website: the hotel looks out on the Arabian Gulf, not the Indian Ocean.