Many associate the United Arab Emirates with Dubai and vice-versa. Less than 30 to 40 minutes drive from Dubai is the Emirate of Sharjah – the third largest and third most populous city in the U.A.E. forming part of the Dubai-Sharjah-Ajman metropolitan area. Dubai International Airport is also within very easy reach, within a 30 minute drive too.
Sharjah is proudly U.A.E. centre for culture, with a wealth of museums and exhibition spaces dedicated to the arts, including several museums covering areas such as archaeology, natural history, science, arts, heritage, Islamic art and culture. Distinctive landmarks include two major covered souks, reflecting Islamic design, and a number of recreational areas and public parks such as Al Montazah Fun Park and Al Buheirah Corniche
In 2014, Sharjah was the Islamic culture capital in 2014 while in 2019, Sharjah was named World Book Capital by UNESCO. The Heart of Sharjah project includes restaurants, retail areas, art galleries, themed markets, archaeological sites, museums, play areas and commercial offices. Construction includes the reconstruction and renovation of historical buildings for a variety of uses as well as the construction of new buildings.
The Emirate of Sharjah has been at the forefront of preserving cultural heritage, including the finest luxury hotel of Sharjah, which is an exquisite reconstruction of a luxury hotel build around four heritage houses, including the Al Midfa House and majlis,. The houses are of traditional construction, single story with coral and gypsum walls and teak and barasti (palm frond) ceilings.
No expense has been spared to develop an authentic construction, reflecting subtly and in many details on traditions and customs. At the same time, The Chedi Al Bait meets the highest luxury standards of an international calibre, with state-of-the-art smart-Tvs, high-speed Wi-Fi, smart-control lighting including several ‘moods’, seamlessly adjusting AC no matter how high the outside temperature as well as high-water pressure in the shower.
All the interior design elements have been carefully curated to recreate a very cozy, ‘feel at home’, yet without being over-the-top. Some details only hit at an Arabic influence, while others, such as the hand woven carpets are of the finest quality, obviously hand made.
Bathrooms feature free-standing show-stopping copper bathtubs, and a large walk-i shower, providing guests with Acqua di Parma amenities and the finest quality Egyptian cotton pure white towels. Without any doubt, the bed is one of the major highlights of all accommodations – Swiss made ultra-luxury Duxiana mattresses and high-thread satin cotton. Most of the suites feature four-poster beds.
Due to pandemic restrictions only two out of four restaurants are presently operating, one of them being the Arabic Restaurant, perfect for an intimate, cozy dinner with high, wood-beamed ceilings and sumptuous textiles. Saffron, cardamom, turmeric, thyme and combination of local spices characterise the dining experience. Make sure you do not miss the selection of Moroccan dishes, prepared by a highly experienced Moroccan Chef.
The Restaurant is open for breakfast and lunch, all being served a la carte. Given the low capacity of the property, you will never feel at any time or at any spot as being closely surrounded. This is probably a major differentiating and competitive factor, during this pandemic, with guests feeling completely at easy at in a natural way distance. Nevertheless, guests and staff must wear masks whenever indoor. A most comprehensive set of measures to protect against the spread of Covid-19 is firmly implemented, including highest disinfection and hygiene standards.
The feel of being home is also complemented by being taken care of. I was impressed at each interaction or encounter with staff how genuinely happy and pleased they were to help. One could easily tell it is a very motivated team, driven by passion and the satisfaction of guests. Any service aspect, no matter how small or big is approached in a most effortless way, also instilling guest a sense of confidence. You will feel special with most staff knowing you by name while doing their best to anticipate your needs or desires.
Reflecting on culture and especially books, the property also includes a generously sized library with a most diverse set of topics. Guests can lounge and read while documenting on the history of the place. Although not obvious or expected, adjacent to The Library, the hotel also operates a Cigar Lounge which offers light beverages and an expert-curated selection of fine cigars. Besides hotel guests, I learned that this is a favourite for locals (non-hotel guests) especially for small gatherings or business meetings.
Due to pandemic restrictions, Spa and wellness facilities are restricted, yet a dip in the pool can be an ultimately serene experience. The Spa covers a surface of 500 sqm, being divided into men’s and ladies’ spa facilities with two treatment rooms for men and three for women. In each respective area, guests will find separate relaxation lounges, hammam, steam and sauna. ILA and Voya are some of the exceptional organic based products utilised at the Spa.
Special thanks to Albert Meow, Hotel Manager
Oliver Petcu in Sharjah
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