Khorfakkan, a coastal town in Sharjah overlooking the Gulf of Oman, is a delightful stop on any UAE road trip and the perfect destination for a relaxing – yet cultural and exciting – escape. Located in the east of the country and closer to Fujairah city than Sharjah, the former industrial town is undergoing impressive redevelopment to become a thriving tourism hub, with trendy coffee shops, attractive Airbnbs, quirky shops, an amphitheatre hosting regular live events, a heritage village, long stretch of golden coastline and now, a handful of new Khorfakkan hotels in the pipeline. With so much to offer, it was named the best Arab city for 2023 at the travel trade show ITB Berlin.
Sandwiched between the Arabian Sea and the Shumayliyah Mountains, which rise as high as 1,023 metres, Khorfakkan is a place of outstanding natural beauty – where rustic farm stays hide in wadis and on the cliffside, and apartments and lodges lie near the sea. Marking a new era for the town, global luxury hotel brand Lux* announced the opening of LUX* Al Jabal for 2024 – a luxurious new beach resort in the town.
The most stylish Khorfakkan hotels for 2024
Nozal Al Rayaheen
Nozal Al Rayaheen Hotel is one of the most delightful Khorfakkan hotels and a refreshing antidote to the many shiny mega-resorts that pepper the UAE. Consisting of 20 old heritage houses – all of which have been resorted to becoming 35 tasteful hotel rooms – the property neighbours Khorfakkan’s historic Old Souq and gives travellers a chance to live as Emiratis once did – albeit, in a modern and more luxurious setting. Charming and rich in heritage, guests stay in villas and ‘villettes’ – available in one to four bedrooms – and include a living room, liwan and outdoor seating in teh traditional courtyard setting. Public spaces are also pretty impressive, with an outdoor garden planted with palm, henna and basil trees, a restaurant, room service and beach facilities – the golden sands of Khorfakkan beach are just a short drive, or walk, away.
Villas from AED800 a night; @nozol_al_rayaheen, nozolalrayaheen.com
Palace Beach Resort Fujairah
Though not technically in Khorfakkan, Palace Beach Resort Fujairah is just a 25-minute drive from the town itself, situated on a peaceful enclave of coast backing onto rugged mountains and its own private beach. As the latest addition to Fujairah’s five-star hotel scene, the property is from Emaar Hospitality and is part of the opulent Palace brand – known for its Arabian palace in Downtown Dubai. The property itself is a homage to Arabian heritage, but with its feet firmly planted in the present. Arabesque design touches (like jewel tones and mashrabiya) are found throughout, adding a touch of opulence to a stay in Fujairah, and there are three elegant dining outlets: Middle Eastern Ewaan, casual poolside and terrace Buhayra Lounge and Al Bayt – the setting for coffees and sweet treats. There’s a shiny new gym, along with a spa and wellness area, allowing you to enjoy a truly luxurious experience in the eastern emirate.
Doubles from AED455; Corniche Road, Al Faseel; addresshotels.com
Alwadi Resort Chalet
Available to rent in its entirety, Alwadi Chalet is a three-bedroom mountain escape, reconnecting guests with nature. Tastefully decorated with pops of blue and white – offset by pink flora and plenty of greenery – the chalet has an outdoor pool and garden with a fireplace and terrace, perfect for alfresco meals and drinks and connecting with loved ones and families. The chalet has three bedrooms, a full kitchen with an over and microwave for in-villa meals, and a lounge area with television – plus five bathrooms with a bath and shower. The Khorfakkan hotel also offers free wifi, air conditioning and is moments from the Old Souq, fishmarket and beachfront- and it’s possible to stroll around and soak up the beautiful mountain and coastal view on foot.
From AED3,600 a night; booking.com
Address Beach Resort Fujairah
Address Beach Resort Fujairah is another popular spot for those wanting to visit Khorfakkan, less than 30 30-minute drive away on a peaceful cove. Since opening in 2021, the hotel has been a hit on the UAE’s staycation scene, setting a new standard for luxury in the emirate and providing a failsafe place to stay for a long weekend or peaceful week. There are 196 guest rooms and suites, from deluxe king and twin rooms to one- and two-bedroom suites perfect for family-friendly stays. For those looking to explore Fujairah’s impressive underwater world, there’s an on-site diving centre, while adventurers can enjoy hiking tours during the cooler months that make the most of the beautiful mountain backdrop. For dining, a culinary array of four restaurants and bars includes Address’ signature all-day dining concept, The Restaurant, a cool pool bar and a relaxing lobby lounge, where an elegant afternoon tea is served daily (popular with the locals). Families are taken care of with a kids club and outdoor play area that will keep little travellers busy, while adults can enjoy five-star fitness and wellbeing facilities, including three cascading swimming pools, a modern spa and a gym with views onto the pools.
Doubles from AED 665; addresshotels.com
Coming soon: LUX* Al Jabal
With views as far as the eye can see, a secluded private beach, spectacular dining experiences, and a focus on wellbeing, LUX* Al Jabal is set to take Khorfakkan hotels to the next level as the first luxury beach resort in the city. Opening this year, the property is the brainchild of Lux* resorts, the brand known for its idyllic paradise retreats in the likes of Maldives and Mauritius, and is bringing a slice of this to the northern emirates. Overlooking the Arabian Sea and backed by the Soueifa Mountain, LUX* Al Jabal will be a five-star eco-resort with a difference, introducing travellers to the outstanding natural beauty of this coastline with 45 eco-lodges, a clifftop restaurant, gym and kids’ club. Tucked away on the hillside, the resort will offer striking vantage points, and a team of passion chefs creating menus that explore Sharjah’s rich cultural heritage.