SHARJAH // Five traditional Emirati homes are to be merged into a Dh100 million hotel as part of the Heart of Sharjah project.
Al Bait development will take over the heritage houses close to Sharjah Creek and bring them up to modern five-star hotel standards, but retain their architectural style.
Bait Ibrahim Al Midfa, Bait Eissa Al Midfa, Bait Abdul Rahman Al Midfa, Bait Abdullah Al Mahmoud and Al Midfa Majlis are owned by the Sharjah Government.
Marwan Al Sarkal, chief executive of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), said: "Al Bait hotel project is implemented to preserve and restore heritage and historical sites in the emirate, as well as to revive Sharjah's traditional character and national identity, and transform it into a premier tourist attraction in the Emirates and the entire region.
"Work will focus on the surrounding streets and courtyards that will consist primarily of paved areas and street furniture, with area and wall lighting included. The courtyards will be revitalised and resurfaced as well."
The 54-room boutique hotel, which also will include new buildings in a traditional style, is being built close to Souq Al Arsa, one of the oldest souqs in the region, and Bait Al Naboudah, the former residence of the Al Shamsi pearl trading family, constructed in 1845.
Mr Al Sarkal said the hotel aimed to offer visitors the opportunity to experience Emirati hospitality in an environment that reflected the UAE's heritage. When finished it would be on par with any five-star hotel in the country in terms of services and amenities.
"The design concept for the Al Bait hotel is based on integration into the existing historical urban fabric, recreating where possible the urban character of the historical city," Mr Al Sarkal said.
Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, chairwoman of Shurooq, said: "We are pleased and excited to shine the spotlight on our history through this luxurious hotel.
"As the first of its kind in the Emirates and the region, Al Bait hotel in Sharjah is expected to be a unique tourism icon, and will undoubtedly draw the attention of tourists and residents alike."
The project is due to be completed by end of next year or early 2015.