A delightful new escape on the mostly untouched and undiscovered Gulf of Oman coast in Sharjah, the Kingfisher Lodge is the debut offering from The Sharjah Collection by Mantis, a group of boutique hotels and eco-retreats purposefully located in key locations throughout the emirate. The property is situated within the small exclave of the emirate of Sharjah near the Omani border, in Khor Kalba, a desert wetland where bountiful mangroves make way for tidal creeks and pristine beaches. The Kingfisher Lodge features 25 tented suites set on a desert plain by the sea, each with their own private plunge pool overlooking the Indian Ocean.
While guests arrive on site via a pontoon ride across a creek and golf buggy to the tented suites, the remoteness of the destination is cushioned by a welcoming interior. South African-based luxury tented accommodation specialists, Bushtec Safari, were commissioned for the whole project including the interior design and décor. Head designers Karien Kotze and Nicolene Snyman embraced the brief to create a lodge with a unique tented resort atmosphere, highlighting proximity to nature that would both complement and accentuate the surrounding environment, namely the ocean and the Kalba Mangrove Reserve, without forgoing all the amenities and luxuries that customers expect from an upmarket resort in the UAE. This is mostly achieved, albeit in a rustic sense.
The combination of the tent, stylish yet simple interior and the tranquillity and closeness to nature creates a romantic, nostalgic feeling and a sense of adventure, while the serenity and privacy is a luxury few can argue with.
‘Our obvious inspiration was the ocean, the lake, the mangrove forest and the immediate environment. We also strove to find the balance between practicality, durability, timeless design, world trends and aesthetics,’ says Kotze. ‘The different hues of blue from the sea and lake were incorporated to enhance a tranquil, relaxed ambience.’
The namesake of the property, the kingfisher bird native to tropical Asia and Africa, inspired the colour palette for the suites – from sunset orange and yellow accents to striking teals, with different shades of blue, indigo and mauve proving to be quite chic. The base of the palette is light and earthy to synergise with the sand and natural landscape, while the solid oak wood furnishings are treated with a clear matte mono-coat for a natural, rough finish that adds to the rustic aesthetic. The simple furniture designs are timeless, though currently on-trend, with the focus on organic elements and motifs and a minimalist approach to finishes.
Aside from total tranquility, the property offers both adventure and intimate encounters with the natural landscape. An important breeding ground for rare bird species, Kalba offers birdwatchers spectacular opportunities for sightings of the white-collard kingfisher and the Sykes’ warbler. Paddleboarding, kayaking, nature walks and a turtle sanctuary are among the additional experiences on offer to appreciate the natural surroundings.
Read more from InsideOut magazine: