To celebrate our 100th Departure Lounge milestone (last week), we are sharing 100 hotels around the world that we can’t wait to visit when travel restrictions are lifted.
We have already featured 50 hotels across the UK and Europe, and in part three, we focus on 25 hot properties in the Middle East and Africa…
First stop on our journey has to be event planners fave Dubai, where we’ll head straight to the utterly decadent Mandarin Oriental Jumeirah which opened last year. Overlooking both the pristine waters of the Arabian Gulf and Dubai’s skyline, with an enviable Jumeirah Beach setting, the property offers 178 rooms and 78 suites with warm inviting interiors and a magnificent lobby with a forest of lights leading to the beach front.
Next stop is the Emirates Hills for a peek at the Vida Emirates Hills, while other new and upcoming properties on our must-see list include Andaz Dubai The Palm, along with Taj on the Palm by Taj Hotels, the Waldorf Astoria, Radisson Damac Hills and the contemporary ME Dubai.
The 235-room Grand Plaza Mövenpick Media City, located in the heart of Dubai Media & Internet City, is perfect for larger groups – it comes complete with its own Convention Centre. A ballroom with natural daylight can accommodate up to 800 guests and cater for a range of events, with a further nine flexible meeting rooms on offer.
Our final stop in Dubai will have to be the Royal Atlantis Resort & Residences, The Palm – the forthcoming and eagerly anticipated sister to Atlantis, The Palm. The 795-room property will boast a sky-high infinity Sky Pool, a 3,000 square-metre wellness centre, spa, 13 restaurants and bars including Dinner by Heston Blumenthal and a lobby bar featuring the largest jellyfish tank in the world.
In up and coming Oman, W Muscat is top of our must-see list, offering 279 luxurious rooms and suites, 850m2 of meeting space, and five tantalising restaurants in the upbeat Shatti Al Qurum beachfront. Another major new opening we can’t wait to check out is the forthcoming Jumeirah Muscat Bay – a five-star waterfront retreat in the popular Jissah area.
Elsewhere, Sahab Resort & Spa is a new 27-room property perched at the edge of a canyon boasting breathtaking views over the Jabal Akhdar plateau and valleys in the western Al Hajar mountain range. The authentic Omani resort, built with natural, unpolished stone still retains impressions of the many fossils dating thousands of years, mined from the mountains of Jabal Akhdar.
Hyatt is also bringing its luxury eco-conscious brand, Alila, to Hinu Bay. The resort will offer 120 private suites and 25 villas, alongside several dining venues, a Spa Alila and a diving centre.
Over in Qatar, the Alwadi Hotel Doha MGallery is top of our list of places to check out. The property’s 213 rooms and suites, many offering views of the West Bay Skyline, feature inspiring patterns and a vibrant colour scheme to bring a touch of heritage to its contemporary design.
Our first stop on the African continent will be Morocco to explore the stunning Oberoi Marrakech, which is set inside a palatial residence, inspired by the destination’s ancient palaces. Nestling within 28 acres of orchards with fragrant citrus trees and centuries old olive groves, The Oberoi features 84 luxurious rooms and villas with beautiful views of either the Atlas mountains or the lush landscaped grounds. While in Marrakech, we’ll also make a beeline for the Riad Louhou, a gorgeous traditional boutique offering five luxurious bedrooms, each decorated in traditional Moroccan style with monochrome rugs and gold throws.
In South Africa, Cape Town’s hottest, or should we say most gorgeous, new kid on the block is THE place to be and be seen. Blending Victorian design elements with industrial tones such as raw, exposed concrete and steelwork, Gorgeous George is the first in property in the city to join the Design Hotels stable.
A three-and-a-half-hour drive from Cape Town, in the eastern, most exclusive sector of De Hoop Nature Reserve, Lekkerwater Beach Lodge at De Hoop offers a homely and comfortable beach experience in a magical setting. Each of the seven rooms are located right on a six-kilometre stretch of private beach – perfect for whale watching from July to November.
For a spot of star gazing, we’ll be heading to Kwessi Dunes Lodge, Namibia – which offers 12 cool and comfortable (and air-conditioned) chalets all with canvas walls and thatched roofs, deep in Namibia’s striking NamibRand Nature Reserve, a vast desert wilderness of over 200,000 hectares.
Another hot new property in this stunning destination is Sonop Namibia by Zannier Hotels, set on the southern edge of the Namibian desert in the Karas region. With vestiges of the British Colonial 1920s, this retreat is made up of ten spacious tents, filled with bright carpets, dark woods and curated antiques.
From Namibia, we’ll hotfoot it over to Zambia to see the latest opening in South Luangwa National Park. Puku Ridge relaunched in September following a complete luxury overhaul by Luxury Frontiers, creators of some of the most desirable tented camps in the world. Effortlessly blending luxury with a sustainable and eco-conscious approach, the camp is home to eight individually appointed suites featuring rooftop star-beds, free-standing bathtubs and private plunge pools.
In Botswana, the Xigera Safari Lodge will offer the ultimate luxury safari experience. There are just 12 fully air-conditioned suites, each showcasing the finest Southern African artisans and designed to be completely in tune with its surroundings. With 105 looking after 24 guests, Xigera is all about personalised, flexible experiences.
The ideal property for checking out the mighty Victoria Falls, the newly built Pioneers Lodge in Zimbabwe, will offer 50 well-appointed rooms designed in an elegant, classic style, embracing Zimbabwe’s Pioneer era when it opens.
And finally, we end our African journey in the stunning and emerging destination of Rwanda, where Singita Kwitonda Lodge, named after a legendary silverback gorilla is the perfect place to enjoy gorilla trekking in luxurious surrounds. Another new option – One&Only Nyungwe House – is set within the lush green expanse of a working tea plantation offering 22 luxury rooms and suites situated in five stunning wooden villa clusters, designed using local African craftsmanship inspired by Rwanda.