The emirate of Sharjah is having a moment. Long overlooked by its neighbours like Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah as a staycation or vacation spot, the once low-key emirate is becoming a cultural hub of the UAE, thanks to enticing openings and a passion for the arts. There’s the Sharjah Biennial, a hugely popular contemporary art exhibition, and attractions like the Rain Room, Sharjah Library and Sharjah Art Foundation, where impressive exhibitions take place. Other reasons to visit include the Flying Saucer, a Brutalist structure restored by the Art Foundation with art space and the charming Fen Café. Sharjah also has a booming coffee and dining scene and new additions include Sand UAE – a chic Emirati, Arabian, Uzbek, Moroccan and Georgian eatery (be mindful Sharjah is a dry emirate and no alcohol is served). Thanks to this, more daytrippers than ever are making the short one-hour journey from Dubai. From a luxury take on an Emirati homestead to tented private pool desert retreats, here are the best hotels in Sharjah.
The Chedi Al Bait
The Chedi Al Bait is the most luxurious hotel in Sharjah and a popular choice for UAE staycations at just 25 kilometres from Dubai. Regarded as one of the most romantic hotels in the entire UAE, the hotel offers a window into Emirati heritage, with its charming, lantern-lit courtyard, majlis and authentic, design-led rooms transporting guests back in time. This is all you need to live out a One Thousand and One Nights fantasy: comprised of five unique single-story heritage houses once occupied by local families, now given a five-star Chedi makeover. There are just 53 rooms spread across the houses and courtyards, and design touches include intricate woodwork, authentic carpentry and brass stand-alone soaking tubs, alongside nods to Sharjah’s rich culture. A beautiful Arabian spa and three dining outlets – international The Restaurant, The Café coffee shop and Al Bareed patisserie – make this a destination in the city itself.
Heart of Sharjah; doubles from AED900 a night; ghmhotels.com
Mysk Al Faya Retreat
Mysk Al Faya Retreat lies deep in the heart of the Sharjah desert, offering an elevated and curated space to connect with and spend time with loved ones, family and friends. The almost industrial-chic hotel is one of the most impressive hotels in Sharjah, surrounded by sand and with a large swimming pool and gardens, offering relaxing, nature-inspired experiences and outdoor barbecue nights. What makes the property so unique is that it is available to book exclusively for up to 10 guests across five bedrooms with mountain views, private terraces and soaking tubs. With the entire place at your disposal, you can flit between the herbal room, dip in the salt pool and use the property’s stylish and curated public spaces as your own. There are also packages available, including archery, classic car driving and an adventure package (half-day with dune driving to fossil rocks, a bonfire, barbecue, and an archaeological centre visit and guided stargazing). The property is located in the stunning Mleiha region, a UNESCO World Heritage Site home to significant sites like Bronze Age tombs, caves and Islamic forts.
Exclusive use from AED3,200 per night; myskhotels.com
Mysk Moon Retreat
Bringing an eco-luxury take on family-friendly glamping to the breathtaking archaeological Mleiha Mysk Moon Retreat has been designed with desert adventures and budding glampers in mind. Guests check in to either one of 10 dome tents or six tents – four for families – each fitted with all the amenities guests would require for their stay, and many also come with the added luxury of a private pool. As well as the basics, resort-style facilities include personal barbeque grills, where guests can order ready-to-grill meals direct to their digs and cook out on their private terrace, surrounded by the dramatic desert landscape. Communal areas will offer spaces for guests to meet and mingle, from a reception area to the community space, where a bonfire and larger BBQ experience await. This is one of the most unique, picturesque and family-friendly hotels in Sharjah.
Tents from AED 1,275 per night; myskhotels.com; @myskmoonretreat
Villa Number 4
Less of a hotel and more of a stylish and super premium private rental, the three-bedroom Villa Number 4 offers a modern and serene escape set away from Sharjah city. This is the perfect property for a long weekend with the family, part of the Nasma Residence community and a short drive from both Sharjah Gold and Shooting Club. There are three double bedrooms, three bathrooms, a fully-equipped kitchen and an outdoor garden and terrace with a fireplace and a private pool, making it a year-round destination in the emirate. Interiors are chic, modern and inspired by the Mediterranean, with potted fig and olive trees, lots of textured greys, white-washed stone, and polished wood. The community itself is home to supermarkets, a gym, a barbershop, and a beauty centre, offering more amenities than some of the best hotels in Sharjah.
From AED2,100 per night; booking.com
Mysk Al Badayer Retreat
Proving Mysk’s domination of top hotels in Sharjah once again, the collection operates a picturesque desert retreat set in the heart of the emirate’s dunes. There are few places more magical to watch the sunrise and sunset – either from the balcony of your traditional home accommodation or private tented retreat. There are 21 tents and 10 Emirati-inspired rooms, all clad in traditional, earthy hues and with rustic Arabesque touches, and some tents have two bedrooms and private pools with views across the sands. There’s a spa, a large communal pool, an amphitheatre for entertainment and a handful of great dining options offering international and local cuisine.Doubles from AED565; myskhotels.com
The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mleiha is one of the most fascinating spots to visit in Sharjah, and the new Mleiha campsite allows visitors to spend the night in its historic grounds. Located in the foothills of the Al Faya Mountain – 45 minutes from Sharjah’s city centre – the camp blends luxurious glamping with outdoor adventure, offering a unique experience where guests ‘glamp’ out under the stars. Guests stay in comfortable and stylish yurts (tents) with a choice of standard, family or deluxe family. Tents have earthy jute rugs, rattan and wood furnishings, double beds, and a private outdoor area. Activities include a 20-minute stargazing session with a resident astronomer, and dining is a choice of on-site dinner or a DIY barbecue. The following morning, guests enjoy a picnic breakfast before enjoying complimentary access to the Mleiha Museum – with archaeological findings spanning the Paleolithic Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age and pre-Islam.
From AED1,295 per night standard, from AED1,550 family; discovershurooq.ae