Throwback: Check out these photos of the UAE's first hotel
BOAC Rest House was constructed over 90 years ago…
The version of UAE we know today include thousands of hotels from the basic to ultra fancy, but this hasn’t always been the case. Less than a century ago, the country had only one hotel, known as the BOAC Rest House, built in the 1930s.
British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) airline built the hotel as a stop-house in response to the need for an overnight stop for its airliners on the western Gulf flight to India.
The guest wing of the fort had six single rooms and three double rooms, with a capacity of twelve people. BOAC Rest House was based at the airfield of what we now know as the emirate of Sharjah, which was part of the Trucial State until the formation of the UAE in 1971.
BOAC Rest House remained as the only hotel in the Sharjah and Dubai vicinity until the 1960s. Guests included Colonel Moody, a medical advisor to the Political Resident, explorer Wilfrid Thesiger and Egyptian journalist, Salim Zabbal.
The Rest House served Bahrain-based British diplomats, as well as businessmen and entrepreneurs who visited Sharjah and Dubai. Some visitors described the accommodation as the only lodging “to Western standards”.
Archeologist Nicholas Stanley-Price wrote an article stating that the founder of the Dubai-based British Bank of the Middle East, Mark Stott, and Desmond McCaully, who had set up Al-Maktoum hospital, lived in the hotel for extended periods.
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By the end of the 1960s Sharjah had added three modern hotels, including the Seaface on the waterfront, the Sheba in the new town, and the Carlton, which is still operating today, near the beach in al-Khan.
Images: WAM – Emirates News Agency