Dubai: The heritage area of Al Shindaga now has a guest house where you can experience the Arabic way of life as it used to be in Dubai decades ago.
Overlooking Dubai Creek, the Barjeel Guest House (Barjeel means wind-tower in Arabic), is an original heritage house (classified ‘A’ category) with a courtyard and nine rooms steeped in culture and history.
“It is the most original way to showcase the Arabic lifestyle to those interested. We took extreme care in making sure that the original character of the house was maintained. It took around seven months and over $1 million (Dh3.67 million) to create it,” Habib Khan, CEO, Hospitality Division of Planet Group, which is operating the guest house, told XPRESS.
With a majlis tent in the courtyard (in the middle of the house), visitors can choose from nine rooms — all of which are furnished in Arabian themes encompassing traditional Islamic architecture, including thatched roofs, 60cm-thick walls (the modern ones are around 15cm), and traditional doors and windows. Artefacts such as hand-made wall hangings, silver surahis, utensils adorn the place.
“Old houses were made to suit the needs of people who lived in this climate. The well-insulated walls ensured that direct sun exposure was minimised. Hence, the rooms faced inwards and had constant air circulation via shaded arcades. Wind towers were like conduits for trapped air, which was directed to the rooms, providing a cooling effect. Even the thatched roof, where date palm leaves were used, fit climatic conditions. Guests would get to live that experience here,” said Khan. They would also get the luxury of round-the-clock butler services along with facilities like internet, telephone etc.
Surrounded by dining and seating area, shaded by the sun and a beautiful landscape, this restored historic house also features the traditional Arabic Barjeel Al-Arab Restaurant offering traditional Emirati, Lebanese and cosmopolitan cuisines.
The place also has a private dining area. At an average of $120 to $150 (Dh440 to Dh550) per night, a stay at Barjeel costs much less than many of the regular hotels in the emirate.
“We are operating three other heritage guest houses and have noticed that most of our guests are European tourists. The response is quite good and usually the houses are fully booked throughout the year, though prices may vary according to the season. People can book through our website.”