With travel restrictions still in place, we find ourselves looking to the hidden gems of the UAE for vacation vibes. For the finest relaxation and seclusion, look to Al Faya Retreat in Sharjah. A mastery of minimal architecture and design, it’s home to just five contemporary yet luxurious rooms and is only a little over an hour drive from Dubai. The desert destination has a retro motel feel, due to its roadside location. The café is on one side, the spa and rooms, on the other. We decided to spend our first few hours by the saltwater pool. Fresh towels were provided, and with its limited rooms, there weren’t any other guests, so we had the concrete-clad watering hole to ourselves – optimal social distancing. They offered to bring our light yet delectable salads across from the café, so we could enjoy it wrapped up in towels poolside. Pure tranquillity and escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life can be found at the spa, which is perfectly set amongst the sand dunes in its own building, and houses a Himalayan salt room, shower walk, as well as an herbal sauna.
Once we were shown around, we were left to our own devices, to pick and choose which treatments we wanted, completely uninterrupted by staff. Again, perfect for those looking to distance themselves. Given that Al Faya is located within the Mlieha region, it offers much more than total relaxation. If you fancy spending a day learning about the ancient archeology of the UAE or taking in a desert safari like none other, this is where to do it. We drove out into the dunes in the late afternoon, where we enjoyed an educational off-road experience – we stopped at both Camel and Fossil Rock, witnessed a Bedouin town from afar, and watched the sunset high up in the mountains. Instead of having dinner back at the hotel, we opted for a private BBQ under the stars, followed by stargazing and a sip of karak chai – the idyllic end to an unforgettable trip.
Find Mysk Al Faya Retreat at Mleiha, Sharjah, UAE. Call +971 (0)6 538 7857 for reservations or visit myskhotels.com