About One hour’s drive away from the thick of Dubai’s city life, team Grazia found ourselves in the midst of the UAE’s vast open desert (endless sand, only hints of fauna, and not a person in sight), in search of a few nights respite from the thrum of city life. The Sharjah Collection’s Al Faya Lodge was recommended as a “hidden gem in the middle of almost nowhere”. Just what the doctor ordered.
Driving into Al Faya is like stepping back in time. A quiet, subdued luxury meets a ’90s Nevada-desert movie-set vibe, and a mountainous backdrop adds depth to the otherwise flat landscape. The resort is built on the ideals of solace, silence and serenity. Think towering concrete grey walls that somehow feel comforting as opposed to cold, an open pit fire that encourages long nights beneath the stars, and clean and minimal interiors designed to de-cloud the mind. Mountain-facing rooms offer picturesque views of the UAE’s jagged backdrop, while quaint terrace areas are perfect for whiling away the hours either reading, daydreaming, or meditating.
With its white stone wash façade and fuss-free appeal, the lodge’s pool feels contemporary and cool (you won’t hear Blue Marlin-style beats here, instead, guests remain discreet and unassuming). We moved between the boutique-style pool and the lodge’s spa, each as relaxing as the other. Located in its own building, privacy is key, with views out across the desert. Guests can embark on a wellness journey as they venture through the herbal and Himalayan salt rooms, before heading to the tropical walk, where a range of different shower pressures, lights and sounds allow for a completely immersive experience.
The newly opened Al Faya makes up one third of The Sharjah Collection’s boutique portfolio, which also includes Kingfisher Lodge in Khor Kalba, and Al Badayer Oasis. Each destination promotes intimacy and privacy, housing only a handful of guests at any given time, alongside a dedication to their environments. Al Faya Lodge offers the opportunity to explore the true beauty of the Mleiha region – nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site – including Bronze Age tombs, historical caves and pre-Islamic forts. We explored the foothills of the mountain range with early morning walks and then again later as the sun started to set and Sharjah’s cool sea breeze offered respite from the day’s heat. End the day Grazia style with a revitalising dip in the pool, followed by a light farm-to-table-style dinner, and finally with laid-back chitter-chatter around the open fire. Old school but refreshingly fun.