Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Sharjah Summer Breaks from AED99

Sharjah Corniche, 7Image by kevin (iapetus) via Flickr

Sharjah Summer Breaks from AED99 is a startling promise to make in an advertisement (Gulf News today) and one that is guaranteed to pique curiosity from would-be summer breakers.

But that's the deal - Sharjah's going for it and I'd commend an overnighter to the 'Cultural' emirate most highly.

There’s a hell of a lot to see and do in Sharjah, from a wide range of museums, art galleries and restored souq areas through to desert trips taking you to the idyllic Indian Ocean retreat of Khor Fakkan (and its venerable but still fun hotel, The Oceanic) and the important mangrove swamps of Khor Kalba. An overnight in Sharjah would be well worthwhile, IMHO, for many people - particularly the many living in Dubai who've never bothered going next door. These posts about stuff to do around the UAE might help

Don't forget that Sharjah's 'dry', but don't let that put you off, either.

Go crazy this summer and give one of these a bash - there are more on the Sharjah Tourism website, but I've cherry picked the best of 'em here.


Radisson Blu

Tel: +9716 5657777
Dhs 299
The Radisson SAS. This is a pretty nice hotel, actually, with a good pool and beach and does simply fantastic Lebanese food. The Friday buffet’s not unpleasant and I'd recommend the place as easily the best hotel in Sharjah.

Holiday Inn Corniche
Tel: +9716 5599900
This hotel’s on the Buheirah Lagoon, in the city centre near the famous Blue Souq (Souq Al Markazi).
Dhs 255 Single
Dhs 299 double


Sharjah Rotana
Tel: +9716 563 7777
On the site of the old Palace Hotel, plonked just on the edge of the bustling Al Arouba souq area, this business hotel always struck me as a slightly odd place. Never been in it.
Dhs 200 double

Marbella Resort
Tel: +9716 5741111
The Marbella has been there for donkey’s and is next to the Holiday Inn. It’s all chalets and has always seemed pleasant enough to me. I do recommend a visit to the website, which is highly nostalgic and will take you back to 1970s retro brochure design and first generation website design.
Dhs 199 junior suite

Sharjah Carlton Hotel
Tel: +9716 5283711
This is one of the older properties in Sharjah and used to look pretty imposing back in the 1980s. It just looks old now, but is not unpleasant, has a lovely beach and is near the old fishing village of Al Khan and Sharjah’s aquarium, which is well worth a visit. Its website describes it as situated on the lush Arabian sea and so, I guess, it is.
Dhs 199 single
Dhs 225 double

Oceanic Hotel, Khor Fakkan
Tel: +9716 238 5111
This is, again, an older hotel with distinctive round porthole windows and is absolutely fine to stay in, has a lovely beach and pool and is ideal for exploring the East Coast of the Emirates.
Dhs 99 single
Dhs 199 double

Personally, I'd go for the Oceanic for sheer value and the East Coast and the Radisson for facilities.

BTW, I got the pricings above from the most helpful Mohammed at the Tourism call centre - 800 SHJ to you!

Thanks to Rob, whose comment on the original post (which I scrubbed) alerted me to the fact that Sharjah Tourism's website had been updated and my whinge about it's lack of content had been addressed even as I was whingeing!


rob said...

shame the chap at sharjah tourism doesn't get a mention anymore. i like to imagine that as soon as you put the phone down, he was on the hotline to IT - "get that website sorted, don't you realise mr alexander was on the phone just then!"

i quite enjoy your brand of whinging by the way, do carry on.

alexander... said...

Restored him, Rob - he was indeed amazingly cogent and helpful and I did moan about the lack of content on the site, but I think it a tad more likely that the new content went 'live' at 9am while I was still posting!

Anonymous said...

You know what, Sharjah is not as bad as it sounds, but it has an attitude about it that makes it less desirable. My general feeling when I am in Sharjah is that of anxiety, waiting to get out of it.

Sharjah Police are mean and rude. I have had numerous experiences with them over a variety of things (all traffic / accident / etc. related). I have found their non-caring antagonistic attitude stand out, especiallyw hen compared with their Dubai counterparts.

Just a world of difference. And this is primarily why I don't like to spend a single second more than I absolutely have to within its borders.

And yes, this post is anonymous for obvious reasons. Some of us don't have as big balls as yo, so there!

Anonymous said...

I second Anonymous above about anxiety, although thankfully I've avoided run-ins with police anywhere in the Emirates. However, my girlfriend lives in Sharjah and visiting her I spend more time looking over my shoulder than enjoying myself. I hate that feeling in Dubai, but at least I have the anonymity granted by thousands of other people doing worse.

I just can't feel comfortable anywhere as strict as Sharjah, which is a shame as I do admire the attempts to focus on culture and heritage rather than hedonism. Ultimately though it's deliberately unfriendly to Westerners and I feel happier appreciating its religious virtue from a safe distance.

alexander... said...

Guys, I really don't 'get' you at all. Sharjah's been our home for over 15 years now and we've been more comfortable, safe and accepted here than we would have been in almost any community I can think of in the UK.

Sure, it's more conservative than Dubai - and sure, it's a foreign place. But we always did a deal to move 'out foreign' and have consistently borne that in mind. This isn't Penge - but surely you don't think Dubai is really Penge - do you?

Sharjah's tolerant enough, has a sense of humour and is just fine - if you want to invest a little in getting around the fact that you are a foreigner here and need to go the extra mile in order to be understood, accepted and tolerated.

Looking over your shoulders? In Sharjah? You have to be kidding me, right?

rosh said...

Nicely said Alex and thank you! I've lived in Oz, the UK, Canada and US. 3 generations of my family have lived in SHJ over 40 years, and I / we feel it is a SAFE place.

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