I had heard much about the traditional Arabian charm and painterly landscape of Fujairah, its beaches and resorts that evoke genteel, understated opulence. Amidst this quiet Emirate, the only one on the east of the UAE and along the Gulf of Oman, lies an oasis of uncomplicated luxury and idyllic pleasure – the InterContinental Fujairah Resort.
For our visit to the first InterContinental resort in the UAE, my husband and I set out on a two-hour road trip from Dubai to Fujairah, passing by jaw-dropping vistas and the occasional flock of camels trudging across the deep orange sand dunes. We entered the resort, its simple, all-white façade a cross between local heritage and the InterContinental’s signature elegant luxury, glistens against the russet Hajar Mountains and pristine blue Indian Ocean.
All-white façade of the resort
Inside, the whole Arabian aesthetic vocabulary is on display – Arabic lamps lay on the floor, mosaic-patterned tiles decorate the white walls, and majlis seating dresses every corner of the lobby with windows done in dark wood and latticework. The lobby, replete with marble floors and a classic rim chandelier as its centrepiece, is done in a subdued colour palette, filled with natural light that streams in from the terrace overlooking the ocean.
The resort has, as its personal traits, plenty of space and solitude. The fresh and modern design by Barcelona-based Van Zeller Architects and Cape Town’s K/M2K Architects features a series of low-rise Arab-village-style buildings, a nod to the Emirate’s cultural sensibilities speckled with contemporary design elements. It houses 190 rooms and suites, including 44 Club InterContinental rooms and 38 suites, with expansive, recessed balconies that offer wondrous views of the surroundings.
The resort lobby
‘Marhaba!’ the staff greeted us upon arrival, as we were taken to the exclusive Club InterContinental Lounge to check-in while relishing a delicious afternoon tea spread including rose-themed h’ordeuvres. Club Lounge guests can enjoy breakfast, evening canapés, relax in the cosy seating area or recharge with a dip in the private pool. Next, we were ushered to our ocean-view suite, an airy, brightly-lit room, done in beachy tones of blue, orange and yellow with an Arabian-inspired gold oval ceiling lamp lending a dash of glimmer. The bathroom comes with double vanities stocked with delicious amenities by Amouage, a fragrance brand from Oman that offers a taste of local decadence.
Ocean-view junior suite
The balcony offers a brush with peaceful seclusion and we stood there, taking in spectacular views of the resort’s many facilities – a private beach, four temperature-controlled swimming pools, and a broad sweep of lawn strewn with tennis and volleyball courts dotted with swaying palm trees. After a calming dip, we dined at Drift that evening, one of the two signature restaurants at the resort, an easy-going beach bar and grill serving specialties that abound in big flavours. We devoured the classics – the beef tenderloin with forest mushroom sauce was succulent and perfectly seasoned, along with an extra-juicy chicken breast with fresh rosemary sauce paired with a big serving of crispy sweet potato fries.
Nama restaurant at the resort
The resort’s all-day dining restaurant Nama offers a delicious international buffet experience for breakfast, with its open-plan design featuring floor-to-ceiling windows and an outdoor patio with remarkable views of the ocean. For lunch and dinner, the buffet is accompanied by an a la carte menu with nods to Levantine cuisine. There’s also the lobby lounge and bar Horizon where you can enjoy your evening latte or a mocktail.
The resort’s pièce de résistance is the O Spa by L’Occitane, the French brand’s first spa in the Middle East, which has been designed by Dubai-based esadore Creative with its fit-out done by esadore Wet. Fantasy reigns inside the spa, spread across 2,025 square metres, and designed with the ideas of openness, nature, timelessness and serenity, as it brings the outside in with its use of indoor gardens and water features. The spa’s design draws inspiration from the Hajjar Mountain range as a source of copper and spring water and a destination frequented by nature-lovers.
Interior view of O Spa by L’Occitane
The central staircase features a vertical brass rail that lends the space a contemporary feel, with marble flooring and backlit timber walls rounded off with furniture in neutral colours and rich velvet that sets the tone for the Mediterranean-style ethereal space. It also houses a private couple’s sanctuary, a hammam, and a therapeutic outdoor mud pool. For peaceful seclusion, the spa suites feature their own private gardens and terraces.
I opted for a body massage and what ensued were 60 minutes of pure bliss. I soaked my feet in warm water infused with L’Occitane bath salts, and my head pillow was sprayed with mandarin, bagamod and sweet orange essential oils meant to ease out my body and mind. The massage involved use of aromachologie oils and at the end, I inhaled a revitalising blend of mint and pine oils to awaken my senses. I left feeling refreshed and destressed.
O Spa by L’Occitane
The next morning as we had breakfast at Nama with our bags packed, I was consumed by the resort’s positive, festive feel. And just before we left, we took one last walk at the beach with sand between our toes, taking in the scent of salt that perfumed the air and vowing to return.
Special thanks to InterContinental Fujairah Resort for hosting this review. Ihg.com