As travel begins to resume in the Middle East, we discover some of the region’s most exclusive luxury resorts to add to your travel bucket list.
Armani Hotel, Dubai, UAE
How can you get more iconic than a hotel in the world’s tallest building? Quite simply you can’t. The Armani Hotel, Dubai located in The Burj Khalifa offers a unique luxury lifestyle for its guests. Bringing together the excellence and innovation of Armani and the iconic location you have a very special recipe for success. This stylish destination recently celebrated its 10th anniversary and has become one of the world’s most in-demand destinations over the past decade. Armani Hotel Dubai invites guests to become part of the Armani lifestyle envisioned by fashion icon Giorgio Armani. No detail or element has been left unturned. As you step into the flawlessly designed property you immediately become immersed in the vision of Giorgio Armani. A sleek and chic design that embodies the same understated elegance of his fashion house can be seen throughout this unique property.
Occupying the floors of the Burj Khalifa from concourse to 8 and levels 38 and 39, the hotel features 160 luxurious guest rooms and suites, seven innovative restaurants, exclusive retail outlets and a spa. Every aspect of the hotel’s design and service offerings has been designed and planned by Giorgio Armani himself, from the bespoke furnishings to restaurant menus and in-room amenities. Practicality and elegance, the cornerstones of Armani’s signature style, combine with precious materials and sophisticated finishes to create a highly personalized space.
The choice of restaurants, all hugely popular with guests and walk-in diners, includes a selection of world cuisines ranging from Japanese and Indian to Mediterranean and authentic Italian fine dining. Also popular among guests are the three exclusive retail outlets: Armani/Galleria, the first and only place in Dubai where the Giorgio Armani/Privé collection is showcased; Armani/Dolci, a luxurious confectionary store and Armani/Fiori, a floral boutique offering exquisite fresh flower arrangements and exclusively designed vases by Giorgio Armani.
Based on the philosophy that travel is as much an emotional journey as a physical one, Armani Hotel Dubai assigns each hotel guest a personal Lifestyle Manager who will serve as a personal contact and host from the moment they make a reservation to the time they check out and even beyond. If you have time to relax, the Armani/ SPA, offers fully tailored sensory experiences that suit individual needs. Each unique space in the Armani/SPA provides a context for personalised treatments, personal fitness and sequential thermal bathing, as well as for private and social relaxation. And when you’re done relaxing – the hotel is within walking distance of The Dubai Mall, and some of Dubai’s most compelling tourist attractions, including The Dubai Fountain.
Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Emirates Palace is a very fitting name for a hotel that truly resembles an Arabian Palace. Inspired by traditional architecture this unmissable property was originally conceived to host the Gulf Cooperation Council Summit. Today, it remains the preferred venue for several high-profile conferences and is also well recognised for welcoming several heads of states, foreign dignitaries and celebrities. Be prepared to be amazed from the second you enter the driveway to the moment you leave the impressive hotel lobby, this resort is true Arabian opulence at its finest. The resort, which is now run by The Mandarin Oriental Group is located in a natural bay with a private beach and marina. It is known for its unique interiors which resemble that of a traditional palace, as well as second to none, five-star service.
The rooms and suites follow the same traditional décor of the public areas, with many of the suites offering unrivalled views across the ocean. The most luxurious suites include the Palace suites, which come complete with an expansive terrace, majlis, formal dining room, living area and bedrooms as well as an oversized bathtub and jacuzzi. Other touches in some of the suites include crystal chandeliers, gold-thread bedding, as well as a 24-hour butler service. When venturing outside of your room, the resort has several five-star restaurants and lounges, catering for every taste.
Emirates Palace’s latest addition to its offering is the IV Nutrient Therapy which is part of a partnership with the world-leading The Elixir Clinic. This unique treatment offers guests tailor-made IV infusions designed to replenish, reinvigorate and restore wellbeing from the inside out. An exclusive Emirates Palace VitaDrip® has been carefully formulated with essential vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants to enhance energy levels, strengthen immunity, rehydrate the body while promoting detox, anti-ageing and overall wellbeing. If that’s not luxury then we don’t know what is!
Six Senses Zighy Bay, Oman
Zighy Bay’s rustic and traditional approach to luxury truly makes it stand out amongst the region’s best resorts thanks to its unique aesthetic and touch of nature. Nestled in Oman’s Musandam Peninsula the resort can be easily accessed via road from the UAE, once travel restrictions are eased. Surrounded by a beautiful mountain backdrop on one side and deep blue seas on the other, this village-inspired resort featured traditional style villas and suites with a contemporary twist of elevated luxury. Each villa or suite has its own private pool and many of the rooms have private beach access. The villas and suites are designed in natural stone and timber reflecting traditional Omani architecture.
Colourful and cool interiors lead out to personal pool areas with high cobblestone walls, sun loungers and shaded summer houses – you won’t even need to leave the comfort of your room. For those who do want to venture out, each room is provided with bicycles so guests can get a true experience of the area. When it comes to dining the resort offers a number of memorable experiences, most notably the hilltop restaurant where you can enjoy stunning views whilst sampling signature cuisine. For those looking for an authentic Omani experience try Bedouin dining on the beach, while for the ultimate luxury guests can choose to have a private chef in your villa.
The resort’s spa features sandy pathways, towering date palm trees and lime bushes surrounding a sanctuary of wellness that embraces local healing traditions and celebrates smart technology all under one roof. With two Arabic-style hammams, an ice cave, a menu of skin-purifying and soul-soothing treatments, outdoor yoga with great sunrise views, indoor gym or outdoor workouts in the jungle gym there’s a little something for everyone.
Burj Al Arab, Dubai, UAE
The Burj Al Arab is the epitome of luxury. The world’s first-ever seven-star hotel, the iconic building stand tall over the Arabian Gulf. This hotel has become an icon in the global hospitality industry and an essential landmark over the Dubai skyline. Known to the world for its spectacular setting, impeccable service and unwavering dedication to creating lifelong memories for its guests, no detail is left uncatered for at this luxury resort. The hotel’s signature suites, where floor-to-ceiling windows frame mesmerising views of the Arabian Gulf and Dubai skyline, promise a stay like no other. With opulent interiors, you’ll feel as much as though you are staying in a palace as a hotel. Every room and suite comes equipped with Hermès amenities (what else?) and guests will be waited on by the hotel’s exclusive Butler service, for which no request is too big or too small.
For the ultimate in relaxation, guests can indulge in unique wellness treatments at the hands of the hotel’s world-class experts at The Talise Spa – a spectacular haven set 150m above the azure waters of the majestic Arabian Gulf. Visitors can also spend their days strolling along the white sands of the stunning two-kilometre stretch of pristine private beach. The recently open lounge SAL has become a popular destination amongst the UAE’s cool crowd both for its iconic pool and sea views and its culinary excellence. While the hotel has a number of exceptional restaurants from Michelin-starred dining destinations to five-star afternoon tea venues.
Currently, Burj Al Arab is running an offer to make your stay even more memorable. For every two-night stay booked, the hotel will offer the third night free. For more information please visit Jumeirah. com/BurjAlArab For reservations and bookings, contact baainfo@ jumeirah.com or +971 4 301 7777.
The Chedi Katara Hotel & Resort, Doha, Qatar
The soon to be opened Chedi Katara Hotel & Resort in Doha is set to become Qatar’s most sought after luxury resort. Located in the Katara Cultural Village in Qatar’s capital the resort will be composed of 59 rooms and suites as well as 32 chalets and villas. Developed by the Qatari real estate consortium, Triple A in partnership with Katara Cultural Village and GHM, The Chedi Katara Hotel & Resort, Doha, Qatar will occupy a stunning beachfront setting within the iconic Katara Cultural Village district which includes theatres, concert halls, exhibition galleries, mosques, restaurants, shops, a park and an open amphitheatre.
The area is popular with tourists and Qataris who are keen to explore the cultural heritage of the region. All of Katara’s pedestrian-friendly attractions will be accessible from the property, either by foot or buggy.
“The Katara Cultural Village is a microcosm of everything that Qatar stands for and what it aspires to be,” said GHM Chief Executive Officer Tommy Lai. “Our resort shall be both a springboard to and a respite from one of the most invigorating experiences to be had in the region. It is an oasis of calm and heritage in the middle of a dynamic and modern city.”
The design will pay homage to the glories of Indian Mughal architecture and a touch of Ottoman influence, the new Chedi’s principal hotel building will house a lobby lounge with 180° views of the sea, an expansive spa and fitness facility, and rooms and suites with terraces and views. Rooms and suites will feature terraces with Arabian Gulf and Doha skyline views.
Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara, UAE
Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara has recently undergone extensive luxurious updates to its facilities including enhanced leisure, wellness and family offerings making it more opulent and indulgent than ever. Situated within the world’s largest sand desert – the Empty Quarter this desert resort is easily accessed from the UAE’s cities as it rises up from flame-coloured dunes like a mirage. You will truly feel lost in the desert at this resort but, surrounded by luxury, you’ll feel completely at home. Choose from rooms surrounded by orange-hued sand dunes or expansive pool villas, suitable for all the family.
For the ultimate luxury, the Royal Pavilion Pool villas consist of 130 square metres of private space including a private pool, dining area and villa host service to meet your every need. These villas are proving to be particularly popular throughout the pandemic thanks to their complete privacy and seclusion.
Four Seasons Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
While travel to Saudi Arabia is still currently restricted, when the skies do open again there is only one place to stay. The Four Seasons Riyadh is a cosmopolitan oasis in the centre of the city. Towering above the city the iconic Kingdom Tower which is home to the hotel, is instantly recognisable for its unique design and inside the property is immediately acknowledged for its standard of excellence. Guests will be met with exceptional views and contemporary cuisine along with Arabic hospitality, and of course, the Four Seasons highly personalized service. For the ultimate in luxury, the Kingdom suite offers unparalleled views of Riyadh in a two-story space spanning the 48th and 50th floors. Floor to ceiling glass windows open up the space which features a living room, private office, dining room and media room. The suite is decorated with carefully curated modern art which adds a personal touch.
If you are looking to indulge, the spa features a number of traditional and contemporary treatments, inspired by Arabic rituals. Dining options range from relaxed settings to formal restaurants presenting dishes from China, Japan, India, The Middle East and more. And if you prefer the privacy of your own company, an extensive in-room menu lets you dine in style in the comfort of your guest room or suite.
Four Seasons Riyadh has launched an enhanced global health and safety program, Lead With Care and all government health and safety guidelines are being stringently followed.
The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert, UAE
The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert is a protected Nature Reserve spanning 500 hectares (1,235 acres) and is home to a range of diverse wildlife living naturally around the desert oasis. This oasis is located just 50 minute’s drive from Dubai and is easily accessible by car. Once they arrive, guests can experience the breath-taking scenery of the resort is home to more than 50 different species of birds, falcons, Arabian Oryx, beautiful sand gazelles and blackbucks, all of which are free to roam in the resort’s grounds. This secluded oasis is focused on offering exceptional experiences alongside unparalleled service for guests, whilst being committed to providing traditional Arabian hospitality.
All of the accommodations are housed in private villas which come with private entrances, pools and uninhibited views. A host of in-villa to in resort dining options, activities and interactions with nature as well as the chance to ride the camels and ponies and get up close and personal to the birds, means there is always the opportunity to create a memorable stay.
A healing water oasis in the middle of a desert can be experienced at The Rainforest. The tranquil spa combines European hydrothermal culture with Middle Eastern bathing rituals, creating a rejuvenating sanctuary in the Arabian Desert. The experience includes 16 different stations, each travelling one-step farther in the journey to relaxation. Guests are encouraged to follow the mapped sequence and to allow time for the body to cool, whether naturally or with the Ice Igloo or showers, after completing a warm station. For those looking to truly immerse themselves in the local culture, there are a number of exclusive experiences on offer for guests. From the interactive falcon and owl show to horseback riding lessons, to a wildlife feeding experience. This resort’s true luxury comes in the experiences that you will remember for a lifetime.
Waldorf Astoria, Kuwait
Kuwait’s First Waldorf Astoria hotel will debut this autumn and it’s set to be one of the hottest properties in the country. Located within The Avenues, Kuwait’s largest retail, entertainment and lifestyle destination, the Waldorf Astoria Kuwait is set to be the go-to city hotel for tourists, businesses and locals. The stunning property will feature 200 contemporary, spacious and sun-drenched deluxe rooms and suites with panoramic views of the glittering Kuwait City skyline.
Guests will enjoy a transformative journey of the senses at this ultra-luxurious property, from exquisite dining venues offering a range of mouth-watering delicacies and refreshing mocktails, to the awe-inspiring 13,560 square foot Waldorf Spa that will leave them feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. The hotel’s exclusive Club Lounge redefines luxury, combining intimacy and comfort with bespoke service. Meanwhile, beautiful meeting and event spaces – including a spectacular Grand Ballroom – provide idyllic venues for unforgettable celebrations or tailored corporate events. Directly adjacent to the popular Avenues Mall, Waldorf Astoria Kuwait provides seamless access to over 1,100 shops and 28 cinema screens, making it the perfect address for both business and shopping breaks.
Al Bustan Palace, Muscat, Oman
Set on a stunning stretch of coastline against a dramatic backdrop of Muscat’s majestic Al Hajar Mountains, Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel is an emerald green oasis with 200 acres of lush beachfront landscaping, overlooking the glittering azure waters of the Gulf of Oman. Inspired by Arabian forts its unique architecture makes it both eye-catching and unique. Al Bustan Palace was originally built to host the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Summit in 1985 and for more than 30 years it has continued to set the standard for luxury hospitality in Oman and has helped transform Muscat into the must- visit destination it is today. A recent renovation has also allowed it to surpass the grandeur of its palatial history and offer next generation luxury experiences.
The hotel showcases intricately handcrafted wall coverings and original carvings, in addition to furnishings that artistically fuse elements from both local traditions and art deco influences. The Atrium Lobby features the world’s largest crystal chandelier of its kind measuring over 18 meters in length and beneath it, a large crystal fountain, representing a treasured jewellery box. The resorts 250 spacious rooms and suites continue the theme of Arabian opulence, while 200 acres of landscaped gardens and the longest private beach in the country make this a destination that cannot be rivalled in the country.
Leisure activities include a luxury Al Bustan Palace Spa by The Ritz- Carlton with the only ladies beach in the Sultanate, five swimming pools (four private lagoon pools and one 50-meter infinity pool), a water sports centre, and a Tennis Village with four floodlit courts. The outdoor Family Aqua Land features a dedicated children’s swimming pool, zip line, and soft outdoor games zone, along with a Ritz Kids Club for younger guests – there is truly something for everyone!