Design concept: Al Faya Lodge, UAE
Al Faya Lodge (imagery: © Anarchitect)
A TOPHOTELDESIGN exclusive, we take a closer look at an unforgettable boutique lodge designed by Anarchitect in the midst of a barren desert landscape.
This one-of-a-kind project has transformed some unloved buildings into a remarkable retreat.
Clever desert design
A daring addition to the Sharjah Collection of boutique hotels and eco-retreats, Al Faya Lodge brings contemporary accommodation to the foot of Mount Alvaah in the UAE’s crimson desert landscape. Anarchitect was the firm behind the architecture, interior and furniture design of the scheme, which completed in 2019.
Indeed, the striking design by architect Jonathan Ashmore and his Dubai and London-based practice defines the guest experience. Anarchitect reimagined two single-storey 1960s buildings, previously home to a grocery store and clinic, into a modern lodge and restaurant, complemented by a newbuild saltwater spa.
As well as taking the desert conditions into account, the architectural and interior design interventions contrast cleverly with the original fabric of the existing structures, juxtaposing old and new. Surface materials such as CorTen steel and locally sourced stone are paired with secondary structure materials like robust hardwoods and aluminum, not least on the over-sailing roofs, shading elements and raised terrace decks.
These materials add tonal change and texture to the buildings, which are designed to age well in this harsh environment.
An immersion into the setting
Amenities within Al Faya Lodge include a dining area, reception room, library and roof terrace. The property houses just five guestrooms, which each feature a skylight for stargazing, and the luxe room also has a private roof terrace.
Its spa, meanwhile, can be found within a purpose-built spa building, home to an open-air saltwater pool and three salt spa experiences focusing on heat, water and salt inhalation. The scheme only provides spa access to guests, giving them complete privacy during their stay, as the public roof terrace and restaurant with dining room, outdoor terrace and firepit are located on the other side of the property.
The lodge, spa and restaurant buildings are also divided by a through road, creating a destination in its own right and a welcome stop-off point for guests and those who stumble on this most unusual of sites.
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