A Torus Room at 72 by Hues hotel in Sharjah. Courtesy 72 by Hues
A Torus Room at 72 by Hues hotel in Sharjah. Courtesy 72 by Hues

A boutique base for exploring Sharjah’s arts hub



The welcome

On Corniche Street in Sharjah, the 72 by Hues hotel’s small pull-in doesn’t scream five-star stopover, but that proves typical of an unostentatious approach, as we’re checked in at a reassuringly leisurely pace. Taking the boutique approach over glittering suaveness, the emphasis is on bright and breezy shades and contemporary lines, with multicoloured modern-art touches throughout the public areas. (In case you’re wondering, the hotel nomenclature relates to the total number of rooms.)

The neighbourhood

Sharjah is currently the Capital of Islamic Culture for 2014 and, accordingly, it presents a much more traditional Emirati experience for visitors than elsewhere in the country. The 72 overlooks the sparkling water of the Khaled Lagoon, Al Noor Mosque and Buhaira Corniche Park, where families congregate and children play in the evenings; it’s all a throwback to simpler times. The city’s arts hub is only a short drive along the Corniche – if you have time, though, it’s worth the walk along the waterfront. Once you escape Sharjah’s traffic-clogged city-centre streets, the transport links are solid; Dubai International Airport is 10 minutes away, while Sharjah’s airport is even nearer.

The room

Our “Apex” junior suite could quite possibly accommodate a small business conference thanks to it’s a well-appointed lounge, including its own television and a sofa that converts to a bed, as well as an additional couch. Minimalist, post-Ikea fixtures and fittings abound, and it’s excellently lit, with a yellowish warmth controlled by an array of glowing blue switches. Two small rocking bird ornaments are a cute addition, as well.

The scene

In a city where most hotel options appear to have been here as long as time itself, the 72 is a real breath of fresh Gulf air. You won’t spy nearly as many expat visitors as in, for example, neighbouring Dubai; the clientele at 72 appears to be almost exclusively Arab. The dining options are relative to the hotel’s comparatively cosy size, but you won’t be left wanting for relaxation and recreation, with a spa, a gym and an indoor swimming pool.

The service

A little sluggish at points but, generally speaking, everybody is polite without stooping to off-putting kowtowing.

The food

Equation is the hotel’s solitary restaurant; a colourful space that offers all-day dining. The Arabic-centric dinner buffet is modest in scale, although the breakfast options are far more commendable, with an expansive range of fresh fruits being the standout. For an informal bite, the Quadrant coffee shop, adjacent to the lobby, is a sunny spot that serves snackish fair, from salads to sandwiches and burgers, plus desserts.

Loved

The room itself is pleasingly laid out, while the Ellipse spa also gets a thumbs up – a combination of the signature massage (60 minutes, Dh220), nourishing argan shell scrub (45 minutes, Dh220) and relaxing taster facial (30 minutes, Dh165) melts away two-hours-plus in what feels like minutes.

Hated

The dinner buffet isn’t the worst meal that you’ll ever experience, but it is limited and occasionally misguided – the cheeseboard’s limp crackers, for example, have the consistency of wet cardboard. And at more than Dh100 per person, it isn’t great value for money.

The verdict

While it’s debatable whether Sharjah is ready for a boutique hotel, 72 by Hues certainly stands on its own in the city and should appeal to those visiting for the emirate’s cultural aspects.

The bottom line

Doubles start from Dh600 per night, including taxes but excluding breakfast. 72 by Hues, Corniche Street, Sharjah (www.hueshotels.com/seventy-two-hotel; 06 507 9797).

aworkman@thenational.ae

Eyasses squad

Charlie Preston (captain) – goal shooter/ goalkeeper (Dubai College)

Arushi Holt (vice-captain) – wing defence / centre (Jumeriah English Speaking School)

Olivia Petricola (vice-captain) – centre / wing attack (Dubai English Speaking College)

Isabel Affley – goalkeeper / goal defence (Dubai English Speaking College)

Jemma Eley – goal attack / wing attack (Dubai College)

Alana Farrell-Morton – centre / wing / defence / wing attack (Nord Anglia International School)

Molly Fuller – goal attack / wing attack (Dubai College)

Caitlin Gowdy – goal defence / wing defence (Dubai English Speaking College)

Noorulain Hussain – goal defence / wing defence (Dubai College)

Zahra Hussain-Gillani – goal defence / goalkeeper (British School Al Khubairat)

Claire Janssen – goal shooter / goal attack (Jumeriah English Speaking School)

Eliza Petricola – wing attack / centre (Dubai English Speaking College)

Company Profile

Company name: myZoi
Started: 2021
Founders: Syed Ali, Christian Buchholz, Shanawaz Rouf, Arsalan Siddiqui, Nabid Hassan
Based: UAE
Number of staff: 37
Investment: Initial undisclosed funding from SC Ventures; second round of funding totalling $14 million from a consortium of SBI, a Japanese VC firm, and SC Venture

if you go

The flights Fly Dubai, Air Arabia, Emirates, Etihad, and Royal Jordanian all offer direct, three-and-a-half-hour flights from the UAE to the Jordanian capital Amman. Alternatively, from June Fly Dubai will offer a new direct service from Dubai to Aqaba in the south of the country. See the airlines’ respective sites for varying prices or search on reliable price-comparison site Skyscanner.

The trip 

Jamie Lafferty was a guest of the Jordan Tourist Board. For more information on adventure tourism in Jordan see Visit Jordan. A number of new and established tour companies offer the chance to go caving, rock-climbing, canyoning, and mountaineering in Jordan. Prices vary depending on how many activities you want to do and how many days you plan to stay in the country. Among the leaders are Terhaal, who offer a two-day canyoning trip from Dh845 per person. If you really want to push your limits, contact the Stronger Team. For a more trek-focused trip, KE Adventure offers an eight-day trip from Dh5,300 per person.

Kandahar

Director: Ric Roman Waugh

Stars: Gerard Butler, Navid Negahban, Ali Fazal

Rating: 2.5/5

TALE OF THE TAPE

Manny Pacquiao
Record: 59-6-2 (38 KOs)
Age: 38
Weight: 146lbs
Height: 166cm
Reach: 170cm

Jeff Horn
Record: 16-0-1 (11 KOs)
Age: 29
Weight: 146.2lbs
Height: 175cm
Reach: 173cm


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