ANARCHITECT gives abandoned convenience store a second life as luxury desert hotel

by | May 16, 2019 | Design

Luxurious Sharjah desert

Meet Al Faya Lodge, a UAE desert’s new, luxury oasis with a cool backstory

Rising out of the dusty desert and traversed by camels, the Al Faya Lodge is a new watering hole and oasis for visitors to the Sharjah Desert in the United Arab Emirates.

We take a look at the transformation of this former grocery store.

Luxury boutique hotel pops up in the middle of the desert

Hotels are often described as a “luxury oasis”, but few live up to their name in this regard. This is most definitely not the case for the Al Faya Lodge, a veritable oasis nestled in the heart of the Sharjah Desert in the United Arab Emirates.

Located at the foot of Mount Alvaah, this five-bedroom boutique hotel was once a clinic and grocery store that tended to visitors to this part of the UAE.

It has been transformed into a small hotel complete with a restaurant, saltwater pool, library, spa and rooftop terrace.

The rooms can be rented individually, or guests can book the entire property if they want a unique, isolated and private experience.

ANARCHITECT reimagines desert luxury

London and Dubai-based architectural practice ANARCHITECT was behind the transformation of this desert pit-stop into a coveted destination.

Working with the structures which already existed on-site, ANARCHITECT set about giving them a new lease of life as a lodge, spa and restaurant.

The two single storey stone buildings from the 1960s and the new interventions in CorTen steel create a marked contrast to the existing fabric of the building, so old and new are immediately differentiated.

The existing spaces have been given new functions and the footprint of the buildings have been extended to accommodate new amenities and entertainment offerings.

ANARCHITECT also considered the geography and topography of the desert location, which requires that guests be able to get out of the sun when it is at its hottest during the day.

This was addressed in the building’s orientation and massing and by creating sections of the facade which can open to allow air to pass through. These opening also provide expansive vistas of the desert and mountains beyond.

Each of the five rooms is fitted with skylights so guests can stargaze from the comfort and privacy of their beds at night. There are also private covered terraces where guests can relax and take in the surrounding scenery and landscapes.

The Al Faya Lodge is the latest addition to the Sharjah Collection of boutique hotels and eco-retreats purposefully located at key points throughout the Sharjah Emirate.


Let’s take a look at a few other projects currently underway in UAE:

MGM Hotel – The Island Resort

Andaz Dubai La Mer

Cayar Cantara Residences


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