When it comes to dreamlike stays, we often feel the need to choose between luxury and comfort. However, there’s a hideaway that lies – literally within the heart of Sharjah – that takes the pressure off having to compromise one for the other. “Welcome home” is the default greeting at Al Bait Sharjah, and it really is home, because everybody knows your name.
Situated a mere 25 kilometres from Dubai, Al Bait Sharjah is one of GHM’s newest destinations and a member of The Leading Hotels of The World. Having opened its doors in December 2018, the resort brings together the best of modern comfort and amenities with echoes of old-world UAE. The property transforms historic manor houses to create a magnificent escape that’s home to 53 exquisite rooms and suites, four unique dining destinations, a state-of-the-art fitness centre, a 15-metre outdoor swimming pool and a luxurious spa.
Al Bait Sharjah also features a variety of breath-taking cultural experiences and architectural sights including the UAE’s only round wind tower. Plus, an authentic ‘elephant door’ that has been restored from one of the heritage homes – not surprising since the property houses a mini museum and library. Every room and suite within the hotel reminisces traditional Arabic influences with contemporary design aesthetic to ensure that each space is unique to itself.
The Patio Room, our abode for the night, is spacious, well-lit and unmistakably Arabian-styled. The ladies will feel like they’re the Jasmines waiting for their Aladdin to arrive through the terrace, but the magic carpet awaits inside just opposite the bed. With a channel selection that includes a variety of handpicked options, it can be hard to leave the comfort of the elevated bed, but once you hop off – don’t forget to leave the glass teardrop so that housekeeping won’t change the sheets, a fantastic initiative that’s part the hotel’s sustainability efforts.
At Al Bait Sharjah, they welcome you with a magical, sparkly lavender drink and popping chocolate, and your room is stocked with a healthy beverage-filled mini bar, a coffee machine, Middle Eastern treats and even gold and silver sugar to enliven your sips. The hotel takes food very seriously, with carefully crafted dishes and surprises that you’ll find nowhere else in the UAE.
The Restaurant offers a one-of-a-kind tray, think Alice in Wonderland, featuring everything from golden egg fondant to giant meringues and gift-wrapped mini sandwiches. Breakfast at The Restaurant is a la carte, and you can order as much as you want from an artfully-presented menu of charcuterie, cheese and even truffle eggs and foie gras – you’re in the land of wonder after all.
The Arabic Restaurant, on the other hand, offers a more authentic experience that will bring you back to the roots of Middle Eastern cuisine. From crispy falafel and spicy potatoes, to grilled fish with rice and a very special carrot cake, nothing beats a night at the elegant yet cosy dining venue, which boasts exceptional service too. The restaurant exudes Emirati elegance with a modern flair, welcoming guests with high, wood-beamed ceilings and interiors adorned with stunning textiles.
The Ice Cream Shop, a hidden gem in the Heart of Sharjah, creates indulgent homemade ice cream in a variety of flavours, using either camel or cow milk as a base. Served on a bed of ice, you can try everything from gold charcoal to mastic and honey – and they’re all as good as they sound.
If you’re in the mood for some relaxation, and we would highly encourage this notion at Al Bait Sharjah, you can head to the beautiful outdoor swimming pool. You can also discover a whole new level of beauty and wellness treatments at The Spa, paired with the most effective healing techniques of the Far East. A sanctuary in its truest sense, it’s divided into two spaces to offer men and women dedicated havens – each with its own relaxation lounge, hammam, steam and sauna as well as individual reception areas and spa boutiques.
Over-thinkers and those who carry their stress with them can make the most of the spa experience with the India Oriental Ritual, a full journey that includes an aromatherapy foot polish, ayurvedic abhyanga massage, marma point head massage with a hair masque and more. The therapist was very professional, carefully explaining every part of the ritual, and leaving time for some blissful solitude by the hot and cold baths, or at the tropical shower where you’ll be transported to another world through light and sound.
A retreat by itself, Al Bait Sharjah sits in the one of most central areas of the emirate with convenient access to a variety of cultural sites and destinations, including Sharjah Art Foundation’s ever-magnificent Rain Room. From inspiring museums, art galleries and handicraft centres to a number of quaint souqs and shopping streets as well as the wonderful Al Noor Island and Mleiha Archaeological Centre, the property welcomes guests to embark on a nostalgic journey that will take them back to the roots and heritage of old-world UAE.
Al Bait means “home” in Arabic, and whether you find it in the alleyways of the hotel on a starry night, or while relaxing in your room before a swim, there’s something about Al Bait Sharjah that will make you feel like you just have to come back – and we’d be delighted to.