As the Northern Emirates first art-inspired hotel, the Fairmont Fujairah Beach Resort is all about the visuals. The newest five-star property from the Fairmont brand follows hot on the heels of openings in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Ajman.
Situated roughly 60km north of the city of Fujairah, this beachfront property sits on an isolated stretch of coastline close to the sleepy fishing village of Dibba and the gateway to Oman’s Musandam Peninsular. First impressions are everything and the Fairmont Fujairah is an unusual case, for the layout of the property is slightly disjointed, wedged against the jagged limestone of the Hajar Mountains and the waters of the Indian Ocean. From the outside, it’s difficult to garner a real feel for the property, painted in a jarring apricot colour reminiscent of Morocco architecture. A precarious and poorly planned driveway brings little confidence to this far-flung property, yet as soon as we step through the glass revolving doors, everything changes…
The lobby is stunning, a bright open foyer encompasses metal structures adorned with floral blooms. A concierge desk made out of stacked vintage suitcases provides the feel of a journey, while the reception area showcases Bedouin textiles reminiscent of an Arabian souq. The perfectly white walls are inscribed with quotes that inspire travel “the world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page” and the lobby is flanked with exquisite majalis style seating areas containing hundreds of Arabic lanterns, leather and beautifully thick carpeting.
The design of the Fairmont Fujairah may not flow as seamlessly as expected, with the property following the steep incline of the mountainside. For the guest, this equates to lots of stairs, steps and corridors that jut out at right angles. This inconvenience is temporarily forgiven upon ascending the main stairway towards the pool and spa, for the landing area and ceilings are covered in artefacts relating to Fujairah’s cultural heritage. Resembling a mini-museum of beautifully illuminated vintage jewellery and textiles. These discreet touches provide much of the resort’s character, with wall art and bold sculptures punctuating the common areas, set against the stark white walls as if in an art gallery.
The Room: Fairmont Fujairah’s 180 rooms and suites take over the hotels upper levels and are generously sized when compared to other five-star properties in the Emirate. The monochromatic design adds a distinctive appeal while retaining the Arabesque embellishments carried through from the hotel’s communal areas.
Our 40SQM Fairmont room showcased impressive views over the Indian Ocean and the adjacent marina, from a spacious tiled terrace and flanked by the mountains, Fairmont Fujairah feels like somewhat of a secluded escape from life in the city.
Rooms are impeccably designed with a large king bed and a range of modern comforts (42-inch flat screen television, Nespresso machine) to make life that little bit easier. Dark wooden shutters enable privacy for the bathroom, but can be opened to bring a more open-plan nature to the room. Black bathroom floor tiles continue the volcanic theme proposed by the resorts Lava Beach Club (more on that later), giving way to a free-standing tub, double vanity and walk-in shower.
As we’ve come to expect from the Fairmont brand (having previously stayed at both the Abu Dhabi and Ajman properties), rooms are comfortable and embrace the Emirati heritage via Arabic touches. Alcoves are filled with fanous (Arabic Lanterns) while intricate mashrabiya designs cover the mirrors. The design is not fully traditional with elegant soft furnishings providing a sense of modernity within the tranquil space.
Facilities: We continue to be impressed by the amenities and levels of service associated with the Fairmont brand the Fujairah property is no different. Deviating somewhat from the normality of the Northern Emirates, this particular property is looking to shake things up with the introduction of an Ibiza-style beach club in this quiet mountain enclave.
The Lava Beach Club (full review here), decked out in a somewhat controversial and opinion-dividing colour scheme of orange and red, has the capacity for up to 400 guests and boasts a free-form swimming pool complete with six in-water jacuzzis, a children’s splash park and a 1,100 SQM stretch of private beach. The beach may not be the most picturesque in the region and access from the hotel requires navigation through a number of steep stairways.
Thankfully, the resort has a separate swimming pool for guests. The IAMMAI (meaning “I am water” in Arabic) swimming pool may be on the smaller side of acceptability but makes for one of the most beautifully designed pools we’ve seen in some time. The unique black and blue tiling replicate the design of the Berber tapestries seen in the lobby and comes surrounded by an abundance of loungers.
An onsite fitness centre ‘Life Fitness’ is home to a selection of state-of-the-art gym equipment housed within modern surroundings, or if pampering is more your thing, the Willow Stream Spa has four treatments rooms, rock sauna and hammam.
Dining: It’s a particularly smart move of the Fairmont Fujairah to open a fine dining establishment (upscale options are severely limited in the Northern Emirates) and The Copper Lobster (full review here) successfully delivers via a combination of strong service, locally sourced seafood and audacious mixology.
Canvas presents a selection of international dishes within a pleasing environment (the breakfast is particularly good) that successfully bucks the trend of soulless all-day-dining spaces, resulting in a restaurant which is a cut above most in terms of food selection and quality. Cafe Pronto brings a casual bistro that has some of the most appealing cupcakes and brownies, while also offering salads and sandwiches. For something quick, head to Arteasan, a coffee shop looking to elevate the lobby lounge experience or if you’re poolside, both IAMMAI and Lava Dining offer concise menus of cocktails and light bites.
Despite a few minor niggles, the Fairmont Fujairah is a property that more than surpassed our expectations for sheer comfort and luxury and would definitely be our choice for a staycation on the East Coast. Making for the ideal spot for exploring the attractions and Wadis of Fujairah such as Al Hayl Castle, Al Bidiya Mosque (the oldest mosque in the UAE) and the popular Masafi Friday Market.
If money is no object, Fairmont has recently introduced the Epicurean Adventure package in collaboration with the Fairmont Ajman. Whisking guests on a luxurious five-day tour of the Northern Emirates inclusive of helicopter transfers, accommodation, spa treatments, private star-lit dinners, culinary masterclasses, mixology sessions and culturally tailored tours. The price? AED 120,000 for two people… Perhaps one to save up for!
Out & About UAE were guests of the Fairmont Fujairah Beach Resort. All views are our own and photographs are © Out & About UAE.