1. W Dubai – The Palm
West Crescent, Palm, Dubai
An incredible array of 350 guest rooms and suites with uninterrupted Gulf views in one direction and a cityscape in the other, the new W Dubai is the latest luxury lifestyle resort to open in the UAE. Carrying all of the signature W swagger – and the terminology that goes with it – the Palm destination is replete with an AWAY Spa, WET deck and a dedicated “W Insider” (expert concierge) to help unlock the best of the property. The B&F venues (because beverage comes before food) include celeb chef joints Torno Subito and Akira Back, offering gourmet Italian and pan-Asian cuisine respectively.
2. Taj Theog Resort & Spa, Shimla
Himachal Pradesh, India
Nestled amidst thick cedar forests and spread over five acres, every corner of Taj Theog Resort & Spa, Shimla offers mesmerising views of the mighty Himalayas. The hotel’s design and architecture echoes colonial charm reminiscent of hill station appeal. Surrounded by the Deodar forest, with pathways through apple orchards and terraced gardens, the resort is the quintessential luxurious home in the hills. Each of the 99 rooms feature warm wooden furniture, traditional rugs and tall French windows, with spacious balconies overlooking snow-tipped peaks and quaint villages.
3. Grand Plaza Mövenpick Media City
Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai
At the apex of Dubai Media and Internet City, alongside the city’s superhighway, Grand Plaza Mövenpick Media City is ideal for both business and leisure travellers. Inspired by its locale, the 235 spacious rooms and suites offer views of either Palm Jumeirah or Emirates Golf Club. Foodies should look out for Verve Bar & Brasserie, a chic and elegant European-influenced brasserie with varied culinary options from day to night, helmed by Dubai-based restaurateurs Nick & Scott – alumni of Claridge’s under the tutelage of Gordon Ramsay.
4. The Merchant House
Campbell Gray Hotels has made its long-awaited debut in the Gulf with the opening of its much-anticipated boutique hotel, The Merchant House – the first boutique hotel in Bahrain to be awarded a five-star rating. On the heels of the ultra-successful Le Gray, Beirut, the 46-suite hotel is located next to the bustling Bab al-Bahrain Souk area, one of the most dynamic areas in Manama. Many striking works of art have been collected and commissioned for the hotel over the past few years, juxtaposed with a dramatic graffiti pillar and concrete columns in the lobby.
5. Hyatt House Jeddah Sari Street
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
The Hyatt House brand has entered the Middle East market with the opening of Hyatt House Jeddah Sari Street. A brand rooted in casual and authentic hospitality, Hyatt House opens with a smartly designed, tech-savvy and contemporary environment across its 102 upscale guestrooms, studios, kitchen suites and “Gathering Rooms” – flexible meeting spaces spanning more than 50 square metres. Close to Jeddah’s coast resort area, the hotel also offers comfort food at H Lounge, fresh goodies at The H Market, a 24-hour fitness centre and more.