From a 2-million-year-old crater to enormous canyons, ancient caves, and imposing mountains, the greater Middle East region offers no shortage of dramatic landscapes.
Of course, you can hike to the peaks and take in the panoramas on foot, or you can savor the views from a luxurious hotel room built into a cliff. If the latter sounds more to your liking, then these cliffside retreats should be welcome additions to your bucket list.
Ma’In Hot Springs Resort & Spa
Hot springs, waterfalls, cliffs, and the Dead Sea—there’s no shortage of natural beauty at Ma’In Hot Springs Resort & Spa in Jordan. Located about 60 minutes from Amman, the resort is surrounded by towering mountains at 866 feet below sea level. The dramatic landscape is only compounded by uninterrupted views of the Dead Sea below, best enjoyed via hike or a private dining experience at the aptly named “Panorama” cliff-top restaurant. Furnished with local furniture and textiles, every room offers a balcony with panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
INSIDER TIPThere are four natural hot spring waterfalls and thermal pools on the property, all of which stay warm year-round. Under one of the falls, find the Cascade Spa—home to a unique steam cave and Dead Sea-inspired treatments.
Anantara Al Jabal Akhdar Resort
WHERE: Nizwa, Oman
A new addition to Oman’s ever-evolving hotel scene, Anantara Al Jabal Akhdar Resort opened in 2016. Built in the style of a traditional Bedouin fort, the hotel features a palatial courtyard and open-air restaurants, as well as cliffside infinity pool. Stretching across Oman’s Green Mountain, each room offers gorgeous canyon views and some have private pools. For special occasions, the hotel also offers a “Dine by Design” service that sets up private tables at various locations on the property, including “Diana’s Point”—a ledge visited by Princess Diana on a trip to Oman in 1986.
INSIDER TIPThe spa is one of the most luxurious in Oman. Splurge on a traditional “hammam” experience—a scrub, milk bath, and massage in a gorgeous marble treatment room.
Yunak Evleri Hotel
WHERE: Cappadocia, Turkey
An intimate, 30-room address built into the side of a cliff in the magical world of Cappadocia, Yunak Evleri Hotel transports travelers to the 6th century, when indigenous residents lived in the mountain’s caves. It’s not quite the stone-age setup anymore, though. Yunak Evleri Hotel is located inside a restored 19th-century Greek mansion, and guests can expect modern amenities like Wi-Fi, marble bathrooms, private balconies, and glamorous antiques reminiscent of the Ottoman empire.
JA Hatta Fort Hotel
WHERE: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
The recently renovated JA Hatta Fort Hotel brings together Arabian heritage and modern touches, evident in the wooden headboards, mosaic-print carpets, and exposed stone walls. The pièce de résistance, however, is the majestic location, surrounded by the imposing Hajar Mountains. About an hour outside of Dubai by car, the rustic landscape is a tranquil maze of peaks and valleys, offering a relaxing alternative to the busy city. To make the most of the surroundings, guests may want to unwind with a tipple on the Sunset Terrace or soak up golden hour from the infinity pool.
INSIDER TIPIf you’re seeking adventure, there’s no shortage of activities on site, with an archery range, bikes, mini golf course, gym, and tennis courts.
WHERE: Mitzpe Ramon, Israel
As you wind down a dirt road, about 2.5 hours outside of Tel Aviv in the Negev desert, one of Israel’s most sophisticated hotels emerges from the stark scenery. At 2,600 feet above sea level, The Beresheet hotel is captivating from start to finish, with its cliff-side infinity pool and open-air terraces. The property sits on the edge of the Ramon Crater, a natural beauty that’s thought to be 200 million years old. Inside, find marble floors and warm wood touches, complemented by the beige shades of the sandy landscape.
INSIDER TIPNot every room offers a crater view, so be sure to book accordingly. For adventurous outings, ask about the Jeep safaris and camel treks through the desert.
Alila Jabal Akhdar
WHERE: Nizwa, Oman
Home to a cliffside infinity pool and calming spa, Alila Jabal Akhdar is one of the most luxurious retreats in Oman. Built in the Hajar Mountains, the hotel’s rooms and villas seem to disappear into the countryside thanks to the use of local stone, sourced from Wadi Ghul, known as Oman’s Grand Canyon. It’s a romantic yet adventurous outpost featuring walking trails, biking, canyoning, rock climbing, and a “via ferrata” mountaineering course that’s been built into the cliffside under the hotel. Meaning “iron road” in Italian, the course comprises a series of wires, which climbers clip onto with carabiners to make their way around up and down the mountainside.
INSIDER TIPAt the edge of the property, there’s an open-air yoga deck that overlooks the vast abyss below. To make the most of it, ask about the complimentary yoga sessions which take place several mornings and evenings each week.
Bedouin Moon Hotel
On the edge of the Gulf of Aqaba, in eastern Egypt, Bedouin Moon Hotel champions life’s simple luxuries. The rooms are modest yet cozy, shifting the spotlight instead onto the surrounding landscape. The towering sandstone cliffs of the Sinai Mountains seem to hug the hotel, while a white sandy coastline stretches out in front—on clear days, you can even see Saudi Arabia across the water. The hotel is a popular home base for divers, who come to explore Reef 2000 Dive Club, one of Egypt’s best dive centers, which welcomes beginners and pros alike.
INSIDER TIPWhile you’re there, experience sunrise atop “Moses Mountain,” the highest peak in the Sinai Mountains.
Caves Beach Resort Hurghada
WHERE: Red Sea, Egypt
A quirky address near Egypt’s Red Sea, Caves Beach Resort Hurghada is literally built into the face of a mountain. Stretching across 10 acres, the hotel embraces the area’s natural caves, echoing their rocky design in its own decor. Waterfalls and dimly lit cave restaurants turn up the charm, while all 360 rooms have been designed to channel a Stone Age-chic setting—picture stone floors and walls, leopard-print bed duvets, and stone furniture. But not to worry: the hotel offers plenty of modern amenities including air-conditioning, TVs, and three swimming pools.