Sharjah’s eco-conscious hotels Mysk Kingfisher Retreat and Mysk Al Faya Retreat have been recognised by the 2021 Tripadvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards.
The properties, located in distinct areas of the emirate, are owned by Sharjah Collection by Mysk, a group of boutique eco-retreats under the Mysk by Shaza umbrella.
Despite the challenges to the travel industry brought about by the pandemic, these two retreats continued to receive positive traveller reviews on Tripadvisor over the past 12 months.
What is Mysk Kingfisher Retreat?
Nestled in Khor Kalba, the Kingfisher Retreat is set in an exclave in a region that was once known for its fishing market. It offers 20 beautifully designed tents, each of which comes with a private pool, and is designed to reflect the country’s heritage. The main tent has a communal space where freshly cooked food is served up daily, and fire pits offer pockets to cosy up in under the stars.
Located on the Gulf of Oman's coast, it boasts stunning views, while the nearby mangroves are home to a turtle breeding area, and ornithologists will enjoy the many species of birds that call the area home.
The mountain-dotted backdrop offers a taste of adventure, with walking and hiking trails, as well as being a great base from which to jump if you want to do a spot of paragliding.
"One of the best natural retreats I have visited," wrote Tripadvisor user Omar Al Falasi on June 10, giving the Kingfisher Lodge five stars. "Food was amazing and delicious, staff were extremely nice and helpful, room was very clean and cosy. I hope to visit the place again in winter to experience the cold weather there."
Charlotte D, from Lancaster in the UK, wrote earlier this month: “We could not fault the resort and will be coming back and recommending to all. Thank you to the Kingfisher team for an excellent stay.”
What is Mysk Al Faya Retreat?
Mysk Al Faya Retreat, designed by Dubai firm Anarchitect, is a stark yet stunning five-room boutique hotel and saltwater spa located in the Sharjah desert. It combines luxury with bold, innovative architecture. Most striking, though, is the sense of isolation.
"My friends and I stayed at Al Faya retreat and had the most amazing time," wrote Nadia S, who titled her Tripadvisor review "Best staycation ever". "It was incredible. Best staff, and such a beautiful location. It was so clean and Covid-friendly and the food was so good."
Saidja D, from Mumbai, India, described their stay as “amazing”. “Staff is extremely well trained … We loved our stay and went to the different geology sites and hiked as well. Superb.”
Shafik Alaaeddine, general manager of Sharjah Collection by Mysk, said he was “thrilled” that the two properties won the award. “It shows our consistency at delivering quality and excellence across our hotels. It also shows that our guests understand and appreciate our efforts to please and serve them, which is something we are known for.”
Kanika Soni, chief commercial officer at Tripadvisor, said she was impressed by how tourism businesses adapted amid the pandemic, “implementing new cleanliness measures, adding social distancing guidelines and utilising technology to prioritise guest safety”.
“The Travelers’ Choice Awards highlight the places that are consistently excellent, delivering quality experiences time and time again even while navigating changing customer expectations and new ways of working.
“Based on a full year of reviews from customers, this award speaks to the great service and experience you provided guests in the midst of a pandemic.”
This isn't the first time Mysk Al Faya Retreat has been recognised internationally. In 2019, British architecture and design magazine Dezeen included it, alongside The Opus by Zaha Hadid, among its top 10 hotels for the year.