In an effort to satisfy your workday travel fantasies, we’ve scoured the region in search of the most captivating hotels, welcoming eager visitors this year.
Sat in your cramped office, daydreaming about soft sand lightly caressing your toes, as you stand on the shore of a remote Red Sea island? Find yourself sinking deeper and deeper into your sofa, wishing you were immersed in something a little less polyester and a little more pristine? Fret not, this list is not here to burst your nomadic bubble. Au contraire! It’s here to help make your dream a reality, as we’ve rounded up the sexiest hotels opening this year across the Middle East and North Africa just for you.
Anantara Santorini Abu Dhabi Retreat
Abu Dhabi, UAE
Designed to resemble a monochromatic white town on a Greek island, this 22-room boutique hotel promises a tranquil getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life. Wake up and soak in the lush Mediterranean atmosphere at the Santorini Retreat, halfway between Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Four Seasons Hotel at Kasr Al Bahr
Four Seasons have almost completed the stunning restoration of the Kasr Al Bahr, the ‘Palace by the Sea’, previously an 18th century royal residence, and originally a 12th century fort. Perched on a hilltop overlooking the Atlantic, the hotel features 6 historical buildings, as well as 5 new ones, set amongst French-designed gardens of citrus trees, palms and bougainvillaea.
Desert Rock Resort
The Red Sea Project, Saudi Arabia
With luxury rooms literally carved into a solid mountain, Desert Rock needs to be seen to be believed. Offering undisrupted views of the dramatic desert landscape below, this unique dwelling offers hiking excursions across the martian-esque landscape, adrenaline-infused adventures involving dune buggies, and serene stargazing activities.
If you find there’s something profoundly sexy about being completely carefree, then perhaps Hyde’s latest all-inclusive hotel opening in Bodrum will be just the spot for you. It's no easy feat, saying no to palatable food and electrifying music in general, but it’s an even bigger challenge when both are on offer somewhere between the sparkling turquoise waters of the Aegean Sea and the lush national parks of the Bodrum Peninsula.
Saij, A Mantis Collection Mountain Lodge
Ras Al Khaimah, UAE
A secluded nature retreat consisting of 35 luxury lodges, the sustainably constructed Saij puts emphasis on water and energy conservation, allowing travellers to fully engage with nature and making a strong case for eco-travel as the new method of tourism.
ENVI Lodge Wadi Hanifah
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Consisting of a collection of 50 eco-pods, a BBQ corner and a central immersive experiential garden, ENVI Lodge Wadi Hanifah, which is right on the outskirts of metropolitan Riyadh, also has arts and crafts workshops on offer throughout the day, as well as meditation sessions and treatments using locally sourced products.
Farasha Farmhouse is a refreshing reprieve from the urban hotel experience you might be used to. Situated amongst an ancient olive grove, this former artist’s rural residence has been transformed into an alluring portrait of Morocco’s famous artisanry and cultural richness, against the backdrop of vast mountain vistas.
St. Regis Red Sea Resort
Umahat Islands, Saudi Arabia
It’s hard to imagine a swankier location for a resort than the Ummahat archipelago, right on the panoramic Red Sea and just off Saudi Arabia’s western coast. The St. Regis Resort consists of over 90 beachfront villas, providing visitors with easy access to and unobstructed views of the peaceful clear waters. The hardest decision you’ll have to make is whether to hop on a boat or a seaplane, as they’re the only way you’ll be getting there.
The Ritz-Carlton Rabat Dar Es Salam
A luxury oasis amongst Morocco’s vibrant capital, this decadent retreat lives in the midst of a 440 acre oak forest, with a world-class golf course that weaves through the trees in reams of lush turf. It’d be a shame to let the beautifully manicured gardens get lonely, and that beautiful Moroccan landscape isn’t going to gaze at itself.
Anantara Mina Al Arab Ras Al Khaimah Resort
Ras Al Khaimah, UAE
Every now and then we need an escape from those out-of-the-box city hotels. So, how does this sound: a private peninsula of golden sand overlooking a lagoon and the open ocean beyond it. Yeah, it sounds pretty good to me, too. Nestled amongst preserved mangroves, Anantara’s Ras Al Khaimah Resort is an eco-sanctuary that could easily make its way onto your sustainable tourism bucket-list.
The Lana, Dorchester Collection
The legendary hoteliers at the Dorchester Collection have unveiled the latest addition to their opulent catalogue of global hotels. Known for their meticulous attention to detail and historied diamond-standard service, The Lana has a good chance of setting the bar for sophisticated stays within the emirate.
Marsa Alam, Egypt
There’s something very indulgent about treating yourself to a staycation, so much so that it can sometimes feel like more of a treat than an international holiday. That’s exactly what Jaz Nejma has to offer. No painstaking visa applications, not a worry about leaving your passport at home or putting up your dog in a furry friend hotel. A short trip from Cairo will land you in the enchanting bay of Marsa Mares, where Jaz Nejma awaits.
Hyatt Centric Cairo West
In the past, if someone had asked me if I wanted to play billiards inside a swimming pool at a hotel within spitting distance of the Great Pyramids of Giza, I would have probably laughed in their face. Turns out the joke’s on me because that is, in fact, one of the many features of the novel Hyatt Centric Cairo West. The first hotel of its kind in the city, this art-lifestyle location was designed in collaboration with local contemporary artists and architects, and can be experienced first-hand in the very near future.
The Autograph Collection Hotel
Sindalah, Saudi Arabia
The Autograph Collection Hotel, located on Saudi Arabia’s Sindalah Island, is set to offer guests an incredibly immersive experience when it opens its doors later this year. Calling a delicate strip of land in the Red Sea home, the hotel is surrounded by a diverse ocean habitat, made up of over 2,000 marine species, 600 of which are endemic to the area.