Nestled in the heart of Sharjah, Al Bait Sharjah, which translates to ‘the home’, is a sustainable Emirati luxury resort that embraces the city’s rich heritage and culture through the preservation of centuries-old structures and Bedouin-style interiors.
Launched in 2018 by GHM and sprawling over 10,000 square metres, the 53-room hotel is part of a major restoration project, in collaboration with UNESCO, that took nearly a decade to complete. “The idea was to preserve the original authentic look and feel of a century-old area, using only approved materials and finishing to meet all the heritage requirements,” says Patrick Moukarzel, General Manager of Al Bait Sharjah. “Although there’s plenty of luxury, we want to maintain a sense of humbleness and intelligence. Staying here is like visiting someone in their home.”
A bedroom suite at Al Bait Sharjah. Courtesy of Al Bait Sharjah
Upon entrance, guests will be welcomed with a lavender beverage and chocolate filled with popping candy which the hospitable staff, rightly so, call ‘magic’. The traditional-style bamboo ceilings and Emirati décor emanate an old-world, authentic Arabian charm throughout the space, while the furnishings uphold the comfort of modern luxuries.
The resort is home to an on-site library, spa and fitness centre, but the most intriguing is the hotel's very own museum which houses the decades-old belongings of former residents known as the Al Midfa family. Hailing from the Omani Arab tribe known as Al Harth, the family settled in Sharjah in the early 20th century and played a very important role in pearl trading and greatly influenced the building of schools and libraries in the region, such as the Taymeyah library. Furthermore, Ibrahim Al Midfa, a prominent figure of the family, was widely recognized for pioneering journalism in the Emirates. The five Al Midfa brothers lived in the very space that has been restored into Al Bait Sharjah and each section of the hotel is named after the siblings. Their descendants still live in the city today.
An outside view of Al Bait Sharjah. Courtesy of Al Bait Sharjah
During their stay, guests will encounter the only round barjeel (Arabic for wind tower) remaining in the UAE, which is over 100 years old. Originally designed by Ibrahim Al Midfa, the wind tower has been restored with the goal of preserving its original structure as much as possible.
“Indeed, the presence in the building of the only remaining example of a cylindrically-shaped windtower in the UAE is sure to serve as a major drawcard for those who appreciate history,” shares Moukarzel. “And with plush suites and contemporary trimmings such as a spa, swimming pool, cigar lounge and gourmet restaurants, the resort showcases Arabic hospitality on an even more spectacular scale than in Ibrahim’s heyday.”
An inside view of the reception. Courtesy of Al Bait Sharjah
The resort is also home to a small ice cream shop which offers exquisite tasting of unique flavours such as charcoal infused ice cream made with camel milk. A short walk away, guests will discover the Al Arsa Souk, interconnected to the hotel by a mysterious door. Housed within centuries-old coral walls, this is where the Al Midfa family brought their pearls before selling them to the public.
“We hope that after a stay at Al Bait Sharjah guests can learn something new about the history, culture and Arabic tradition,” says Moukarzel. “And also experience truly Arabic hospitality in its authentic setting.” With an on-site heritage tour and the surrounding bazaars, art museums and galleries, Al Bait Sharjah is an enriching, memorable staycation in the cultural hub of the UAE.
To make a reservation at Al Bait Sharjah, call +971 6 502 5555 or visit ghmhotels.com