1. THE ABU DHABI EDITION, Abu Dhabi, UAE
The cosy, contemporary design of The Abu Dhabi EDITION creates a unique home-away-from-home energy - an accessible, urban hotel that offers escapism and a sanctuary all at once. Sitting pretty in the heart of Al Bateen Marina, flanked by boats and an ever-growing social scene thanks to the plethora of coffee shops and restaurants, it feels central to the city, yet far enough away to provide solace from urban interruptions. Inside, it’s all warmth and minimalism everywhere you look, from the soft lighting in the lobby, to the soporific sound of the water feature on the mezzanine level, to the smooth, curved lines found from corridors to arm chairs, bed-heads to deep baths.
It’s impossible not to relax here - the colour palette alone demands it, all calming tones of cream, taupe and tan. The beds are the best made, the pillows the softest and the suites divinely uncluttered and fuss-free. If, however, you need a little help in the switching-off department, The EDITION Spa will chart a path of peacefulness, with a menu of relaxation rituals, massages and bodyworks, along with healing hammams, sound therapy and reflexology. For something quick but deeply rewarding, try the Moisture Miracle Facial, with its peptides, botanical stem cells, hyaluronic acids and natural ingredients working their magic to hydrate, plump and promote collagen and cell renewal.
Dining at The Abu Dhabi EDITION is an event itself - Oak Room a sophisticated steakhouse; Alba Terrace an elegant mosey through Mediterranean cuisine; and Library Bar, a gin-infused Manhattan-style cocktail bar. Dress to impress wherever you dine, by way of an appointment at the Rossano Ferretti Hair Salon. In partnership with the Italian hair maestro, state-of-the-art equipment paves the way for visionary cuts, styling and quite possibly the best hair wash and head massage in town.
If you’re then inclined to take your ‘new do’ out on the town, you can either head to Annex, the hotel’s multi-level space, with a rooftop garden bar and DJ-hosted cocktail bar, or simply stroll around Al Bateen sipping coffee and soaking up the starlit sights of the marina.
Once it’s time for bed, pause for a moment on your terrace to appreciate the beauty of your location. Central but secluded. A beautiful oxymoron.
2. FOUR SEASONS DOHA, Qatar
A seaside retreat in the heart of Qatar’s capital, Four Seasons Doha reimagined what an urban escape really stands for when it reopened in 2020. The extensive renovations saw world-renowned French interior designer Pierre-Yves Rochon turn his artful eye to creating luxury on another level - even by Middle East standards. Modern and grand from start to finish, the property sparkles with sunlight and sea views, creating a vibrant meeting point for locals, expats and tourists at once. The redesigned rooms and suites are now beautifully airy, with light flooding in from floor-to-ceiling windows, with balconies overlooking either the city or sea.
The Presidential Suite cuts to the chase, befitting heads of state and VIPs, with two magnificent bedrooms wrapping around the two sides of the tower, with a majlis-style living room, grand piano and dining table for 10. Continuing to set the bar high, the hotel is also home to Nobu Doha – which just so happens to be the world’s largest Nobu restaurant. Dramatically perched above the Arabian Gulf, the exquisite views rival the exemplary miso cod. Just seven minutes from Doha’s Financial District, you can relax in luxury whilst keeping your finger firmly on the city’s pulse.
3. JUMEIRAH MESSILAH BEACH HOTEL & SPA, Kuwait
Benefitting from being both an urban hotel and beachfront retreat, Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel & Spa is located 20 minutes from the airport, distancing you from the hub-bub but keeping you within easy reach of city entertainment. Here, you can lay claim to relaxation or be as active as you like. The hotel sits amid a lush garden and water complex, with its own stretch of private beach.
It’s also home to an award-winning spa, light and airy suites and residences refined in their design, with oodles of space and beautiful views, a wealth of restaurants serving everything from steak and seafood, to Mediterranean and Arabic cuisine, with afternoon tea a daily ritual and a hookah cafe taking guests long into the night
Take advantage of the hotel’s Talise Spa, with its organic massages, facials and treatments, and sink into the indoor relaxation pool for a taste of what the doctor ordered. When you’re ready to leave the hotel, there are myriad sites to soak up, from the The Grand Mosque of Kuwait and the Kuwait National Museum to Souk Al-Mubarakiya – a feast for the senses – and the Corniche, with its 10 kilometres of winding paths, beaches and parks.
4. THE ST.REGIS DUBAI, THE PALM, Dubai, UAE
When you plump for the tallest tower on Palm Jumeirah, you know you’re in for some pretty stellar panoramas. The new St. Regis Dubai, The Palm, occupies the first 18 floors of The Palm Tower, which stands on sentry duty at the top end of the ‘trunk’. The tower itself has many accolades... It’s directly connected to Nakheel Mall with over 300 shops, has access to the Palm Monorail, and is home to both The View at The Palm – an exclusive observation deck at 240 metres with 360-degrees of the city – and Aura Skypool Lounge, which offers guests a ‘swim in the sky’ at the world’s highest 360-degree infinity pool at 200 metres in the air.
If you do decide to pop out from the hotel, you’re within easy reach of Sheikh Zayed Road (the main artery of Dubai), Dubai Marina and the outdoor social scene of The Walk at JBR. In the hotel, it’s all the lavish, five-star splendour you’d expect from both Dubai and a brand as storied as The St. Regis: innovative design, elevated experiences, and, of course, the 24-hour attentions of the St. Regis Butler Service. Choose any of the ultra-elegant suites to sleep in, relinquish yourself to Iridium Spa, then dine on seafood and champagne at Cordelia for an ultra-urban experience.
5. SHANGRI-LA JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia
The just-opened Shangri-La Jeddah marks a new dawn for leisure destinations in the Kingdom. Anchored on Jeddah’s waterfront, it’s a hotel filled with resort vibes in the city. Situated in the exclusive Burj Assila, with endless views of the Red Sea, the hotel’s monolithic structure strikes a swathe silhouette as the city’s tallest tower. The 64-storey building has 203 rooms and suites, 17 serviced apartments, a 7th floor 25-metre swimming pool, four incredible restuarants – including the legendary Shang Palace, which is the first in Saudi Arabia – a Shangri-La Wellness Club with Jacuzzi, steam and sauna, and The Spa at Shangri-La – a wellness oasis rooted in the Asian traditions of the hotel.
Location is everything here, with the hotel a stone’s throw from the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, home to the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix, the fastest street circuit in Formula 1; Rubaiyat Department Store and Boulevard or Al Khayyat malls, havens to luxury shopping with the likes of Dior, Gucci and Giorgio Armani; and the Tayebat Museum, which offers a living history lesson on the foundation of Jeddah.