Sharjah takes a major stride in eco-tourism with Mleiha Desert Resort project

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A five-star desert resort at the heart of Mleiha in Sharjah, near the Mleiha Archaeological and Eco-tourism project, is being developed by Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) in partnership with Al Wanis, a Qatari tourism company established in the emirate.

The MoU for the $ 16.4 million (Dh60 million) Mleiha Desert Resort project was signed last Tuesday on the second day of the recently concluded Arabian Travel Market held in Dubai.

The Mleiha Desert Resort will be located on a natural landscape between the area’s bespoke dunes and the famous Fossil Rock, and is scheduled for completion towards the end of 2019.

Marwan Bin Jassim Al Sarkal, CEO, Shurooq, unveiling the details of the project described the move as a major boost to Sharjah’s ambitious eco-tourism projects, which are set to appeal to a global audience.

“We aim to increase the reach and expand the scope of the emirate’s tourism sector and this new partnership is a highly significant indicator that we are having that impact,” Al Sarkal said.

The promoters said the resort will offer a range full hotel services, restaurants, cafés, a health club, swimming pool and many other hospitality facilities associated with a world-class resort.

45 exclusive vacation villas

The resort will include 45 exclusively designed vacation villas, modelled on classical desert marquees, each with the luxury of its own decking and private swimming pool.

The ‘Royal Suite’, which is one four living options at the resort, encompasses a space of 167 sq. m, and includes two uniquely designed rooms and a private swimming pool. Additional options include the ‘King Suite’, expected to encompass a total space of 155 sq. m, ‘Junior Suite’, encompassing a total space of 90 sq. m and the ‘Standard Suite’ which offers a unique living on a total space of 85 sq. m.

While being entirely detached, with privacy guaranteed, there is still a sense of community, enhanced by a central communal area, fashioned in the same canopy style, where guests can meet and enjoy hotel services together, as well as a memorable ‘Sahara’-themed living experience.

Replicating an authentic canvas covering, the awning feature provides the perfect shade to enjoy the tranquility and serenity of the resort, blending in seamlessly with the environment of sublime nature and Arabic heritage.

Abdulaziz Al Amadi, Board Member of Al Wanis tourism company, who co-signed the MoU with Al Sarkal, said: “Sharjah is an extremely attractive business proposition for Arab investors and Qatar is an established partner in many existing ventures. The Mleiha Desert Resort at the Mleiha Archaeological and Eco-tourism project is a unique opportunity that combines the luxury of a world-class destination with the history and heritage that is so important to all countries around the region, particularly those in the GCC.

“It is the perfect fit for our company as we look at not just the ambition and the potential but the activity that is taking place. It is a great incentive to look at the possibility of cooperating on other projects. Sharjah’s commitment to developing its tourism sector is time, money and effort well spent.”

He said that the right operator with experience in eco tourism who can add value to the project is under evaluation and would be announced in three months.

Ahmed Obeid Al Qaseer, COO of Shurooq, commenting on its participation at ATM 2017, said: “This also provides the chance for us to highlight some of the other unique projects in our stunning portfolio of hospitality projects, such as Al Bait Hotel, which is being developed within in the Heart of Sharjah, the Kingfisher Lodge in Kalba, Fossil Rock Lodge within Mleiha and Al Badayer Desert Camp.”

Kalba Kingfisher Lodge

In March, Shurooq had announced its ground-breaking eco-tourism project, the Kalba Kingfisher Lodge, in collaboration with the Sharjah Environment and Protected Areas Authority (EPAA). Shurooq said that the five-star hospitability project, featuring a tented camp that offers unique experiences within the mangrove nature reserve in the heart of Kalba's natural beauty, is the perfect addition to its strategy of promoting environmentally friendly tourism.