From the coastal road that runs most of the length of Sharjah city, it’s not difficult to spot the new Sheraton, which dominates the skyline. Access to valet parking is up a quite narrow, steep driveway. The valets whisk luggage to the room while check-in is completed. I’m then pointed in the direction of one of two main sets of lifts.
About as far east as you can travel in Sharjah before crossing into Ajman, the immediate area is mostly residential, apart from the neighbouring four-star Coral Beach Resort. Road links are as convenient as they get in Sharjah, although avoid arrival or departure during rush hours, when traffic snarls up through city-centre exit routes. Luckily, you won’t need to leave during your stay, with beach, pool, restaurants and spa all self-contained within the resort.
My seventh-floor premier deluxe sea-view room is at a perfect height to enjoy views of the pool, beach and Arabian Gulf. Everything conforms to Sheraton’s colour palette of browns, beiges and creams, just skimming on the classy side of bland. There’s a matching two-berth sofa and armchair, a sitting chair with footstool and a work desk with chair and TV, as well as built-in wardrobes with copious storage. Lighting includes nifty fold-out bedside reading spotlights, although a master switch near the bed would be a smart addition. There’s an alarm clock/iPod dock next to the enveloping king bed, embellished by a towering headboard with a dome-shaped mashrabiya section. The bathroom is spacious, with a bath, plus separate cubicles for the shower and the toilet/bidet.
Excellent, if a little overzealous at times in efforts to impress.
You start to see the same faces throughout a weekend here, which lends a reassuring familiarity. The Sheraton is popular with families, although perhaps unexpectedly for a dry hotel, the piped music in the hotel corridors is distinctly party-ish – I hear everything from funky dance tunes to Kanye West. It lightens the mood and seems to catalyse friendly interactions between passing guests. The games room, with foosball, pool and table tennis, proves a popular social hub, too. A free electric shoe-shining machine near the lift is a handy all-hours touch.
Dinner on the first evening is at the Middle Eastern outlet Arjwan, which wields a real flair for updated Arabian dishes, most notably Bedouin spiced camel (Dh50) – accompanying green dill rice, pomegranate and pine nuts complete a hearty main in UAE national colours. Breakfast (Dh75) at all-day-dining spot Gusti offers most standard options, from pancakes to omelettes and fresh juices, while the dinner buffet (Dh150) at the same venue isn’t a huge spread, but throws in more unusual Indian desserts, including seviyan and watalappam. My favourite, though, is Al Qubtan, a sea-view restaurant that majors on oceanic delights such as crab cakes with curry aioli (Dh60).
The room, Al Qubtan, the pool and a 60-minute Balinese massage (Dh350) at Shine Spa.
Some stale bread in Arjwan.
A family-friendly five-star with tip-top, value-for-money rooms.
The bottom line
Double rooms at the Sheraton Sharjah Beach Resort & Spa (www.sheratonsharjah.com; 06 563 0000) cost from Dh420 per night, including Wi-Fi and taxes, but excluding breakfast.
This review was done at the invitation of the hotel.