The Best Hotels
the Middle East
Our favorite hotels in the Middle East epitomize luxury with extravagant and thoughtful indulgences. And the opulence is oh-so-glamorous–wraparound terraces, atriums, Swarovski chandeliers that hang above freestanding bathtubs, concierge teams that arrange bespoke art. And, of course, you can expect the finest linens, exquisite (if, occasionally over-the-top) design, and an emphasis on seclusion and privacy.
Jumeirah Muscat Bay
Muscat Bay, Oman
Pressed against the vibrant azure waters of the Arabian Sea is the sprawling village of Jumeirah Muscat Bay. Offering a spectacular private sandy expanse of beach, five diverse top-tier restaurants, and numerous idyllic palm-fringed pools for families or designated “adults-only,” the hotel is the epitome of luxury.
Situated perfectly between the dramatic skyline of the Al Hajar Mountain range and the calm waters of the Gulf of Oman, this resort is catered to holistic-wellness-focused adventure seekers. Morning yoga sessions can be followed by guided mountaintop meditation, scenic hikes, snorkeling with sea turtles, scuba dives along colorful reefs, and complimentary access to the traditional hammam, in addition to the Talise Spa and fitness center.
Each of the property’s rooms offers panoramic ocean views for tranquil sunrises, and the soft neutral color palette used throughout the resort perfectly matches the monotone landscapes of surrounding Oman. But the elegant rooms with modern geometric accents still maintain their beachfront feel. The most exclusive suites at Jumeirah Muscat Bay have private pools and exclusive access to the even more secluded white-sand beach reserved for VIP guests.
Fantasy and opulence collide at the Mondrian Doha, the definitive address for anyone seeking a bout of escapism in Qatar’s capital. Incidentally, local elements are not overlooked–the falcon, a vital part of the country’s culture, is a recurring motif across this five-star property. It’s all thanks to the exuberantly whimsical Marcel Wanders, who has designed each space to possess its own identity. The multi-sensory experience begins in the atrium, where theatrically large lamps, a stained-glass dome, and a spiral “staircase to nowhere” set the tone for what’s to follow–and evoke the phrase “curiouser and curiouser” from Alice in Wonderland.
Over in the 270 rooms and suites, a modern spin on the historic Arabian Nights tale awaits, with each standard room accented with a Desert Dune sculptured carpet as well as a Swarovski chandelier above a freestanding tub. This isn’t a case of style over substance, though; amenities are in abundance and available around the clock. Memorable meals come by way of two restaurants helmed by celebrity chefs (CUT by Wolfgang Puck and Morimoto by Masaharu Morimoto), but that’s hardly where the indulgences end. Mondrian Doha also features 12 Chairs, where caviar takes center stage, and only 12 guests are accommodated in the name of abject exclusivity.
Tel Aviv, Israel
Set within two beautifully restored 1920s-era buildings in the heart of Tel Aviv’s White City, a Bauhaus district and UNESCO World Heritage site, The Norman is an object lesson in timeless elegance. Interiors across its 30 rooms and 20 suites capture mid-century glamor with modern sensibilities (think Old Hollywood meets the South of France), while a contemporary Israeli art collection lends flair to public spaces.
With its wraparound terrace, the penthouse duplex is undoubtedly grand, although classic rooms feel just as radiant. Finished in pastel hues with high-touch details from fresh flowers and 300-count Frette linens to the hotel’s namesake aroma bath products abound. Citrus trees line the gardens below, a rooftop infinity pool and sun deck look over the skyline, and massages and private yoga classes can be scheduled in a wellness area on the third floor. A storied spot for cocktails, The Library Bar is equally popular with Tel Avivians as it is with hotel guests, much like destination restaurant ALENA, a chic Mediterranean concept also famous for its breakfast menu. The Norman concierge team can arrange bespoke art and cultural tours, although being within strolling distance of the city’s prestigious Rothschild Boulevard makes exploring the neighborhood a must.
One&Only The Palm
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Seclusion is the name of the game at One&Only The Palm–this luxury beach resort occupies the last plot on Palm Jumeirah’s West Crescent, resulting in superlative views of the city skyline and Persian Gulf. And in true Dubai style, guests can choose to arrive by a private boat transfer at its dedicated marina if a limousine doesn’t feel quite exclusive enough. Framed by Andalusian architecture, One&Only The Palm’s accommodations spans rooms, suites, and beachfront villas, each accented with Arabesque detailing like mashrabiya latticework and dark-wood furniture. Incidentally, the guest rooms are famously spacious, comparable to the junior suites of other properties in this vicinity.
But between its immaculate stretch of private beach and a sea-facing pool lined with towering palm trees, the hotel’s rooms take a backseat to the outdoor spaces that lend to its island feel. Elsewhere, the intimate Guerlain Spa–the first of its kind in the country–offers contrast to the sheer grandeur of this low-rise retreat, complete with trickling fountains, white orchids, and pebbled walkways. All things dining, meanwhile, are executed under the expert eye of French chef Yannick Alléno, who has earned a whopping eight Michelin stars over the course of his career. STAY, in particular, highlights his gastronomic prowess as the restaurant takes a less-is-more approach to French dining.