This luxury boutique hotel was built on the restored foundations of four heritage homes once owned by influential Emirati families. Its name, Al Bait, translates to ‘The House’ and wherever you are on the property, whether it’s meandering through alleyways, reading in a quiet courtyard or perched on a private balcony, you feel at home. Rooms and suites are well-appointed havens, each with a spacious majlis and a bathroom where a colossal brass bathtub is just waiting to be filled. Press the ‘Your Sweet Button’ on your telephone and a made-to-order treat will be delivered to the door.
A flute of sparkling lavender cordial with swirling silver powder and popping-chocolate bites marks the beginning of a culinary adventure at Al Bait Sharjah. After these, the food just gets better and better. Executive chef Ashish Deva is behind the hotel’s restaurants, café and ice-cream parlour and the dining moments he and his team create, are experiences filled with suspense and surprise.
The hotel’s Arabic Restaurant offers a sumptuous foodie affair. Waiters whip around the candle-lit dining room holding rose-gold cloches that house medieval-sized portions of comfort food. I’d suggest ordering the garlic hummus, which is as smooth as velvet; the short-rib lamb ouzi with saffron rice and, for dessert, a meringue ‘egg’ that has a cactus ice cream ‘yolk’.
The Restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There, meals are inspired and influenced by Middle Eastern and Asian cuisines. Try the shakshouka with black garlic labneh in the morning, but also be adventurous, because the foie gras on a sunflower seed brioche is equally as good. There’s a selection of Mons cheese, too – some of the very best from France. For lunch, you’ll find duck, scallops, kangaroo and braised camel.
Because of Al Bait’s location in the Heart of Sharjah (a preservation and restoration project that is set to be completed by 2025), there are a number of cultural sites right on its doorstep. The hotel has direct access to Souq Al Arsah – wandering through its alleyways is like stepping back in time. A meeting place for merchants since the early 1900s, it’s the oldest bazaar in the UAE. The Blue Souk, so named because of the colour of its tile-festooned exterior, is a short walk or taxi ride away. There, you’ll find Bedouin jewellery, perfumes, antiques, kilims from Afghanistan, India, Iran and Pakistan, and more. The Sharjah Calligraphy Museum showcases works by local and international artists, and Sharjah Art Foundation’s light-filled gallery spaces should be on anyone’s itinerary when visiting the emirate. For a post-exploration snack, pick up home-made ice cream at the hotel – scoops of honey saffron and Arabic mastic are best.
For more information and to book your stay, visit ghmhotels.com