“Why would we brave the Sharjah-bound traffic to drive into neighbouring Ajman for a staycation?” That’s the question we asked ourselves, and it was answered at the end of the drive on Ajman Corniche. The Wyndham Garden Ajman Corniche, Ramada’s latest addition to their Ajman properties certainly has something that makes it worth that drive. Relatively new — it opened to business in April — it has to compete with the long row of larger and longer rooted properties on the 7-km stretch that jostle for business.
Perhaps a reason why the littler giant decided to focus on its strengths: the small stretch of cordoned off beach right across the road, an exceptionally warm and welcoming staff. The care that goes into their hospitality itself make it worth the drive — 30km from Dubai Airport and 20 from Sharjah.
More proof: the hotel was full on a weekday, the guests mostly from Europe.
The 16-floor hotel has 55 suites and 124 standard rooms, all sea-facing. Our suite was done in cool blue and green hues, modern yet cosy and warm. Both the bedroom and the living area have unhindered view of the serene blue sea through full length glass doors that open out to a large balcony where you can laze around and… you guessed it, gaze at the sea. You get all the must-haves and then some: WiFi, a minibar (without the grape), coffee and tea paraphernalia, ironing equipment, hair dryer, safety locker, the works. There are large-screen TVs in both the rooms. The toiletries provided are green-certified.
What to do
What to do was a question we asked ourselves before going there. As it happened, the Ajman Museum is only a 5-minute drive, so the morning was spent quite fruitfully boning up on history. In better weather, there is of course the private beach.
If seminars are your bag, there are multiple conference facilities, with audio and video. They also accommodate private functions.
There are separate temperature-controlled swimming pools for women and men with a pool bar (mocktails only), jacuzzis, gyms and sauna rooms.
The Sky Lounge perched on the 16th floor offers you a bird’s-eye view of the Ajman coast and is a calm space where you can work in peace, or just relax. This facility, however, is only for executive guests.
The piece de resistance is the Eminence Spa — an oasis of serenity with skilled masseuses offering oriental as well as Ayurvedic massages. We went in for a ninety minute Eminence special treatment — an aromatic hot oil massage for the entire body that lulls you into a dreamlike state. The prices are very reasonable.
Where to eat
If you are a sucker for seafood like me, Seascape is a good restaurant to dine at. Fresh catch of the day is displayed on a counter for you to survey and choose from (weighed by the kilo). You can tell the chef exactly how you want it grilled, fried, boiled or sautéed, or you can just let him work his magic. Either way, it will arrive at your table sizzling and cooked to perfection.
I had a whole hammour grilled with Arabic seasoning, and couldn’t stop singing its praises. Huge tiger prawns and lobsters, all grilled in subtly different styles, made a glutton out of me. Saeed, our friendly waiter from Egypt, guided me skilfully through their extensive menuwhile offering nuggets on how to order seafood. The warm and quick service by the entire staff gave a clue as to why the hotel was full.
If you are a vegetarian, like my wife, you may prefer the Gourmet Garden, a bright sunny all-cuisine restaurant that has a tree as its centrepiece. They even do a mean vegetable biryani, dal (lentils) and roti (flatbread) on order.
There’s also a coffee and pastry corner in the cavernous lobby.
What we recommend
Swim, workout and then get a massage, or just laze around the beach, poolside. You can also sit on your balcony and read a book. If you are in a mood to explore the treasures of the sleepy little emirate, the museum and the archeological dig are just minutes away.
What: Wyndham Garden Ajman Corniche
Where: Ajman Corniche
Price: The hotel is running a summer promotion with a room for two inclusive of breakfast for as low as Dh249. Half-board option is Dh325. There’s also a value-added offer: full-board stay, or half-board stay inclusive of a 30-minute massage for two at Dh475.