Number of streets and parking area in Heart of Sharjah to be closed
Shurooq announced its plans to develop Al Bait Hotel, a luxury five star hotel - the first traditional Emirati hotel - in the Heart of Sharjah, region's largest heritage tourism development, in March of this year in collaboration with General Hotel Management Ltd. (GHM). The AED100 million project is set to spread over an area of 10,000 square meters and will provide Arabian hospitality with a focus on preserving Emirati culture. Yousif Al Mutawa, Manager of the Heart of Sharjah, commented: "Al Bait hotel is a truly unique project that will further consolidate Sharjah's increasingly prominent position as a cultural tourist destination in Arabia. One of the most important aspects of Al Bait's development is the renovation of all of the traditional Emirati houses that form part of the project. Each one of these properties was once owned by families that had a significant impact on Sharjah's history and are therefore important symbols of the Emirate's legacy. Guests staying at Al Bait hotel will have the opportunity to experience living in these traditional Emirati homes, giving them a far richer and immersive experience of the region's history and heritage than any other available." Al Mutawa went on to emphasise that the project was the direct result of the directives of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qassimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, whose objective was to give visitors to Sharjah the opportunity to learn more about Sharjah through providing authentically Emirati luxury in the form of the Al Bait Hotel - situated on Sharjah creek in the Heart of Sharjah. An area that used to be Sharjah's centre of trade in the 50's and that now boasts more than 9 museums that preserve, celebrate and tell the Emirate's rich heritage and history. Commenting on the commencement of the work, Al Mutawa said: "During this phase of the development of this unique tourism icon, we will focus on studying the current infrastructure and the additional infrastructure needed to be executed in collaboration with Sharjah Department of Public Works and Sharjah Municipality. This will pave the way for commencement of construction works of the hotel facilities." A number of areas that surround the Heart of Sharjah development and are part of the Al Bait Hotel project will be closed, beginning with the closure of the Souk Al Arsah parking area beginning of this July. The second phase will see the closure of roads leading to Bank Street and the partially paved parking area behind the Commercial Bank International in mid-July 2013. At the end of August 2013, the partial paved parking area beside the Commercial Bank International and the Bank Street will be closed as part of the final phase. Work on all phases will be completed in December 2013. Al Mutawa went on to say that the execution of the tourism and heritage project which occupies a central location right in the heart of the city comes under the direction of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah and with the support of Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), who is following up the implementation of His Highness vision of renovating and protecting the heritage of the country and region, in general, and reviving the heritage identity of Sharjah, in particular, with the aim of turning heritage into one of the key tourism attractions in the Emirate, country and region. He reiterated Shurooq's eagerness to preserve this important legacy and pass it on to coming generations through mega projects that reflect Sharjah and the UAE's rich traditional heritage. The Manager of Heart of Sharjah said that the Al Bait Hotel development aims to make all details of the region's traditional lifestyle available to visitors, ensuring the transfer of cultural understanding from one generation to the nest. He added that the project is in line with the Authority's vision of supporting social, cultural and heritage development, in general, pointing out that the hotel is one of the national projects approved as part of the Emirate's interest in preserving and developing national heritage and capitalising on this legacy. He stressed that Sharjah is taking steady and deliberate steps toward the development of its tourism sector, which has already proven highly successful in a relatively short period of time. Al Mutawa stated that Al Bait Hotel would include a number of houses and buildings, five of which are heritage houses such as Bait Ibrahim Al Midfa, Bait Eissa Al Midfa, Bait Abdul Rahman Al Midfa, Bait Abdullah Al Mahmoud, and Al Midfa Majlis, which are currently under renovation. The project will also incorporate a number of other houses that will be built in accordance with the standards and designs of the traditional homes of the region, and will keep the names of their original owners. The surrounding streets and courtyards will be landscaped, revitalised and resurfaced. Al Bait Hotel will comprise 54 guest rooms, including standard, deluxe, junior suites and suites, a spa/health club, dining areas, a traditional Arabic tea and coffee house, a traditional Arabic restaurant, and all-day diner, a deli, and staff facilities and utility blocks. Souk Al Arsa, one of the oldest and most important souks in the region, will be also be included in the Al Bait Hotel development.