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’60s grocery store becomes luxury hotel in the desert

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Adaptive reuse at its best

Pool next to desert mountains Photo by Fernando Guerra

Before the Al Faya Lodge and Spa became a testament to Brutalist luxury, the concrete building lived an entirely different life. Built in the 1960s at the foot of Mount Alvaah in the Sharjah desert in the United Arab Emirates, the building was originally a grocery store and clinic that sat next to one of the country’s first petroleum pumps.

Dubai firm Anarchitect revived the aging structure and turned it into a luxurious oasis that includes a stunning saltwater pool. According to The Spaces, the hotel offers five rooms that are decked out in dark walls, modern furnishings, plus a skylight for stargazing.

Building in the desert at dusk Photo by Fernando Guerra
Bed in room with dark walls Photo by Fernando Guerra

The front of the hotel retains its stony facade, while the back features a wall of big windows that filters warm desert light into the rooms.

Next to the main building, the pool sits guarded by perforated steel screens that slide away to open the pool area to the vast desert views.

Lounge chairs by pool Photo by Fernando Guerra