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Al Bait Hotel: Comfort, luxury and heritage.

Summary: A Dh100-million hotel will soon rise to be the first traditional Emirati five-star hotel in the Heart of Sharjah where traditional and contemporary abience will meet.

A Dh100-million hotel will soon rise to be the first traditional Emirati five-star hotel in the Heart of Sharjah where traditional and contemporary abience will meet.

Spreading across an area of over 10,000 square metres, Al Bait Hotel will include a number of houses and buildings, five of which are heritage houses such as Bait Ibrahim Al Midfa, Bait Eissa Al Midfa, Bait Abdul Rahman Al Midfa, Bait Abdullah Al Mahmoud and Al Midfa Majlis, which will be renovated.

An agreement was signed at a Press conference on Monday at Bait Al Naboodah between Shaikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), and Hans R. Jenni, director and president of General Hotel Management Ltd. (GHM). GHM is a firm renowned for conceptualising, developing and operating an exclusive group of hotels and resorts around the globe -- for the management of the hotel. Present in the signing were Shaikha Hour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, President of the Sharjah Art Foundation; Shaikha Nawar Al Qasimi; Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, Shurooq CEO; and, representatives from GHM and government officials.

Heritage meets luxury

Expected to be finished by December 2014, this first of its kind traditional hotel in the UAE and the region will also incorporate a number of other houses that will be built in accordance with the standards and designs of traditional houses, but with contemporary touches that ensure quality, luxury and comfort to guests.

Existing buildings

Bait Ibrahim Al Midfa: This building contains portions of the oldest coral walls in the development and is an important part of the heritage puzzle. Its Business Centre, administrative facilities and library will be open to the public as well as to hotel guests.

Bait Eissa Al Midfa: Its central courtyard will be maintained. The main entrance of the Al Bait Hotel will be in this house. The main reception will be at the main courtyard with a guests' lounge and also a restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating areas. The restaurant will be accessible for public as well as the hotel guests.

Bait Abdul Rahman Al Midfa: Seven bedrooms will be located on the ground floor, along with a small guest lounge and security office. The existing courtyard will be split in two to create two separate and distinct identities. Five bedrooms will be accessible off the roof terrace, which will also offer links to the gym and spa.

Ibrahim Al Midfa Majlis: The facility will function as it has over the past few years -- as a private majlis and museum. Some renovations -- such as clearing the existing courtyard of additional structures, and creating a doorway in the existing coral wall to form a link with the Souq Al Arsa -- is being proposed.

Bait Abdullah Al Mahmoud: This will be turned into Arabic Restaurant (indoor and outdoor).

Surrounding streets and courtyards: Work on the surrounding areas will be primarily hardscapes and street furniture, with area and wall lighting included. Courtyards will be revitalised and resurfaced.

Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal said the design concept for Al Bait hotel is based on the integration of the hotel and its associated public service facilities into the existing historical urban fabric.

Shaikha Bodour said: "As the first of its kind in the emirate and the region, Al Bait Hotel in Sharjah is expected to be a unique tourism icon, and will undoubtedly draw the attention of tourists and residents alike. Sharjah offers residents and visitors to the UAE a very different experience from that of the other emirates. Our emphasis has always been about finding that delicate balance between safeguarding our identity and embracing progress and development."

She said that tourists who come to Sharjah have a multitude of cultural, heritage, art and leisure options to choose from and, Al Bait Hotel will be a showpiece representing what Sharjah is truly about -- an emirate that offers its visitors a unique opportunity to experience true Arabian hospitality and traditional heritage in luxury and comfort.

"Within this scope, the Heart of Sharjah is being developed to act as the beating heart of the emirate, a place that will bring visitors from every walk of life together and with its design that seamlessly blends the past and the present," she said.

When completed, Al Bait Hotel will comprise 54 guest rooms, including standard, deluxe, junior suites and suites, a spa/health club, dining areas, a traditional Arabic tea and coffee house, a traditional Arabic restaurant, and all-day diner, a deli, and staff facilities and utility blocks. Souq Al Arsa, one of the oldest and most important souqs in the region, will be among many others, which will be part of the Al Bait Hotel development. According to the designs, the souq will form the primary route and will act as a pedestrian lane to the area.

The traditional hotel project is in line with the initiative launched by His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, to revive heritage in Sharjah, to protect and restore, where possible, the remaining historic fabric within the city and the UAE.

Designed by GAJ, one of the largest and longest established UK architectural and design practices in the UAE, Al Bait Hotel in Sharjah is set to be a luxurious retreat, a true Emirati hotel that will provide guests with a unique experience of the best Sharjah has to offer.

Copyright 2013 Khaleej Times. All Rights Reserved.

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Publication:Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:7UNIT
Date:Mar 12, 2013
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