Centro Sharjah by Rotana

Flying into Sharjah? A stay at Centro Sharjah might be just what you are looking for.

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The stylishly contemporary lifestyle business hotel is a stone’s throw away from Sharjah International Airport (we could even see the airport from our window!), and my family and I had the pleasure of being invited to try it out for ourselves last weekend.

Centro Sharjah by Rotana is a relatively new property, and was inaugurated by His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi in October 2011.

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Check-in starts from 2 pm, but given it was a working day, we opted for a late check-in at 5 pm.

Driving in from Dubai, we got a little disoriented, and missed the turn into the hotel. Trick is to drive into the Sharjah Airport, and turn left from the first roundabout. GPS coordinates for Centro Sharjah by Rotana: 25.31918, 55.51474

Driving in to the property, we were impressed by the clean, yet stylishly modern architecture of the hotel building.

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The hotel provides valet service, and there is also ample shaded parking for guests right in-front of the entrance.

We were given a Classic Room, which had a Queen-sized bed. The room itself is very compact and would be perfect for a busy executive flying in on a business trip. For our family of three (me, hubby and our 4 year-old), the room was nice and cozy, but I would have liked a slightly bigger bed.

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Having said that, it was pretty neat cuddling up with my little daughter in the middle and a deliciously deep, soulful sleep came over us when it was time to snooze.

There’s something magical about hotel beds. This one at Centro was plush and inviting. The scent of freshly laundered white linen made me want to dive right into the sheets and take a snooze.

The interior decor of the room is suave and sophisticated. Deep, dark wooden accents take on the functional yet stylish shelves, and an entire wall behind the bed is covered by mirror to bring in the illusion of more space.

The bathroom is small, neat and compact. Basic amenities including hand-soap, bath gel and shampoo were provided for.

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I was also impressed by the Rotana Earth policy regarding the use of towels.

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The Rotana group encourages guests to reuse towels as a part of their #rotanaearth initiative.

My only complaint about the bathroom would be the lack of a bathtub. Perhaps its just as well given the amount of water and power we are susceptible of using up for hour-long bubble baths #rotanaearth.

The Classic Room at Centro Sharjah by Rotana provides the following amenities:

  • A choice of a Queen-sized bed, or 2 single beds.
  • 24-hour on-call service.

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  • Bed and bath linen (additional linen can be requested any time from the reception)
  • Bathroom toiletries
  • Electric kettle, and complimentary tea and coffee

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  • Mini fridge
  • Safe
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We take a safe in a hotel room for granted in the UAE. I was therefore surprised not to find one in my hotel room at Jan Tabak (Bussum, The Netherlands).
  • Iron, board and a wardrobe equipped with hangers.
  • Hairdryer.
  • 32-inch television with cable channels (we watched reruns of Karate Kid before bed!).
  • Free access to pool (from 9 am to 7 pm) Jacuzzi and sauna (open till 10 pm) and gym (also open till 10, and its ‘Ladies Only’ between 12 noon to 2 pm).
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  • Complimentary breakfast at C.Taste restaurant.

Additional amenities that need to be paid for separately:

  • Meals can be ordered into the room.

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  • Wifi in the room is chargeable at AED 55 per day (however, it is free in the lobby area and they have very comfy couches by the reception!).

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  • Airport transfers (to Sharjah International Airport)
  • Baby Cots and Baby Sitting
  • Car Rental
  • Currency Exchange & Travelers’ Cheques
  • Medical Assistance

Dinner at C.Taste

We headed to C.Taste for dinner. C.Taste is Centro Sharjah’s all-day dining restaurant, and the buffet dinner costs AED 125 per person.

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Dinner is served between 7 to 11 pm, and each day of the week has a different theme.

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Sunday is Italian night, Monday Indian, Tuesday Mediterranean Night, Wednesday BBQ night, Thursday Seafood.

We had dinner at C.Taste on Thursday night, and lucky us, it turned out to be seafood night!

I started off with the Seafood Chowder. The full-bodied soup was brimming with the salty goodness of the sea, and a sprinkle of crisp croutons completed the moreish factor of this starter.

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The buffet also included a wide variety of salads, many of which were seafood salads.

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Calamari Salad.
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Cocktail Shrimps.
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Fish Salad.
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Artichoke Salad.
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Beef Salad.

The mains were mainly continental, with a few Arabic and Indian dishes thrown in (loved their Chicken Biryani!).

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Roast Garlic Chicken.
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Beef Stroganoff.
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Roast Vegetables.
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Baked Fish.
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Potato Gratin.

However, the highlight of the night was the live seafood counter where we got to pick fresh cuts that were grilled on the spot, and sent to the table.

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Chef in action.
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Prawns on the grill.
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Beautifully presented on the table!
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More from the chef’s grill: deep-fried battered calamari rings, grilled salmon, grilled tuna, and grilled sherry.

My daughter was at the dessert counter before we were even halfway through the mains. The pretty jellybean bottles had caught her attention, and before we knew it, she was on a jellybean high!

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The dessert counter offered a number of appetizing choices.

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Fruit Tarts.
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Deconstructed Apple Pie.
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Fruit Cake.
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An army of Red Velvet Cake.

Our favorite for the night was the Chocolate Slice. The base is a dense nutty brownie, and the upper layer is a smooth, creamy chocolate mousse. Sinfully chocaholic, we drowned the richness with cups of coffee once we were back in the room.

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Our favorite dessert from the night: the decadently scrumptious Chocolate Slice.

Jacuzzi Tales

I headed for a long, hot shower a little after dinner and my daughter preoccupied herself with some idle TV time.

My husband took this opportunity to head to the Jacuzzi by himself.

This turned out to be a very good idea, because it turns out there is only one mid-sized Jacuzzi at Centro, and by evening it was packed with men!

The Jacuzzi at Centro is an outdoor format, and sits by the corner near the main swimming pool.

My husband made friends with a few of the other guests. Most of the guests seem to be transit passengers from Saudi Arabia.

The other UAE resident he met at the Jacuzzi had come to stay at Centro all the way from Abu Dhabi. He said he loved Centro Sharjah for its stylish and neat set-up, and the room rates were also very reasonable for a staycation within the UAE.

Breakfast at C.Taste

Before we knew it, we were back at C.Taste, this time for breakfast.

Breakfast is served between 7 am to 11 am, and offers a wide variety of continental and Arabic favorites.

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Fresh Watermelon and Orange Juice.
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Foul Medames.
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I had my toast with Zaater and crumbled Chili Feta #omnomnom
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A bowl of creamy oats with a generous sprinkle of brown sugar and dried fruit.
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A wide selection of freshly cut fruits.
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Eggs the way you like it.
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The warm, fluffy pancakes tasted divine with drizzles of maple syrup.
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Grilled cheesy tomato slices went beautifully well with scrambled eggs and sausage.
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A selection of breads.
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Traditional Arabic breads.
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Pots full of goodness: oats in cold milk and fruit.

I was also impressed by the service at C.Taste. Despite being a buffet service, staff dutifully removed used cutlery, and offered to bring dishes to the table.

The restaurant was pretty packed for breakfast, yet the buffet dishes did not seem lacking at all. The staff seem to have mastered the art of keeping the buffet dishes fresh, full and inviting.

At the Pool

After breakfast, we headed for a day by the poolside.

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The swimming pool itself is not very big, and one corner of the pool is the shallow area used as a baby pool.

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The pool is under the surveillance of a bodyguard at all times, and when he saw me huffing and puffing to blow up my daughter’s floatie, he was kind enough to walk right over and do the needful. Premium service!

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After a laid-back morning by the pool, we headed back to enjoy the remaining few hours in the room.

Check out is at 12 noon, but the staff were kind enough to extend it to 2 pm.

My daughter took over a corner by the window where she had a great view of the airport. She gave out sequels of delight as flights took off into the sky.

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Overall, our stay at Centro Sharjah by Rotana was a welcome change from the usual routine. The peaceful ambiance combined with great food and immaculate service was the much needed rejuvenation we were after, and it is heartening to know that a very affordable escape is available right in our very own ‘backyard’.

For more details on reservations and room pricing, visit the Centro Sharjah by Rotana website.