1. ANANTARA WORLD ISLANDS DUBAI RESORT
The 300 man-made islands that emerge from the waters of the Arabian Gulf just off the coast of Jumeirah Beach are collectively known as The World, one of the most ambitious projects undertaken by Dubai developer Nakheel.
Last month, Anantara World Islands Dubai Resort became the first hotel in the archipelago: a castaway island escape with 70 rooms, suites and villas in the South America portion of The World. Guestrooms are bright and modern, while the larger suites and villas make use of sea grass, rattan and other natural materials to emphasise the castaway experience. Most of the beach and garden villas have private pools and large outdoor terraces; our favourite is the Beach Pool Villa, whose cavernous open-plan interior is made entirely of bamboo and woven natural fibres.
Guests bound for the private island will check in at sister property Anantara Dubai The Palm Resort before making the 15-minute boat ride across to The World. Day visitors and can moor their private boats to the resort jetty and stop in for sundowners, skyline views and South American specialities at beachfront bar and lounge Luna, while overnight guests can feast on Arabic-Indian and Mediterranean dishes at Qamar and Helios respectively.
2. FAIRMONT WINDSOR PARK
Surrounded by bucolic English countryside a stone’s throw from Windsor Castle, Fairmont Windsor Park provides a rural counterpoint to the brand’s legendary London address, The Savoy.
With 40 acres of landscaped gardens that blend into the sprawling expanse of neighbouring Windsor Great Park, the weekend home of Queen Elizabeth II, guests will find themselves immersed in countryside pursuits from the moment they arrive. Health and wellness takes centre stage at Fairmont Spa & Wellness, home to a multi-person cryotherapy chamber, a 20-metre lap pool with floating loungers, a Japanese foot spa, a meditation and dry flotation room.
Among the 200 guestrooms, the Signature Royal Suite reigns supreme, with private entrance and direct access to the ultra-discreet Salutaris Suite, a VIP area within the spa with its own private hot tub, steam room and relaxation area. Dining options include 1215 at Fairmont Windsor Park, where fresh produce from The Royal Farms is transformed by head chef Luke Fouracre into modern British dishes; European and Middle Eastern fusion at MOREISH; gin-based creations at Schroders’ Botanicals Bar; and a tea room, café and event spaces.
3. RADISSON RESORT RAS AL KHAIMAH MARJAN ISLAND
Ras Al Khaimah, UAE
Ras Al Khaimah is the perfect counterpoint to bustling Dubai: a tranquil expanse of dramatic mountains, picturesque beaches and sublime deserts where nature takes centre stage.
Marjan Island is a jumping off point from which travellers can explore this stirring landscape; a four-island archipelago that’s home to an ever-growing collection of hideaways, including the brand-new Radisson Resort Ras Al Khaimah Marjan Island. Facing a sheltered bay with direct access to the warm waters of the Arabian Gulf, the resort is home to 388 rooms and suites that afford panoramic views across Marjan Island and the craggy peaks of the Yanis and Jais Mountains beyond. Six restaurants and bars provide a wealth of options: there’s all-day international dining at RBG Restaurant and beach-facing beverages at RBG Bar; Mediterranean fare at La Med; and light bites at The Shelf Pool Bar.
Guests can find their caffeine fix in the lobby café Bake House and The Seafood Shack is home to a raw bar, live-fire barbeque and fresh seafood. In addition to the resort’s own facilities, which include two swimming pools, a dedicated kids pool, and a fitness centre with a fully-equipped gym and spa, some of Ras Al Khaimah’s soul-stirring attractions are on the doorstep, including the rolling dunes of the Al Wadi Nature Reserve and the spectacular Hajar Mountains, home to the UAE’s highest peak and its adrenalin-pumping zipline, Jebel Jais Flight.