Condé Nast Traveller Middle East
WHERE TO STAY
From stylish city stays to unique desert retreats, these are the openings we’re looking forward to in 2021
A roundup of the Middle East’s most hotly anticipated hotel openings, from the UAE to Oman and Jordan; five of the most coveted hotels in Jakarta for every taste; Saudi Arabiaborn model and social media pro Model Roz picks her favourite stays
A slew of new hotels are set to make their mark on the Palm Jumeirah. Among the most hotly anticipated, Atlantis, The Royal ( atlantis.com) will debut next door to Atlantis The Palm, creating a hospitality and entertainment destination spanning roughly 63 hectares. Guests can expect to check-in to one of 795 rooms and suites, keep cool at more than 90 swimming pools – including a striking infinity pool 90m in length and soaring almost 96m above The Palm – and dine at outposts by some of the world’s most acclaimed chefs, including Heston Blumenthal and José Andrés. On the trunk of the Palm, The St Regis Dubai, The Palm ( marriott. com) will occupy the first 18 floors of the 52-storey Palm Tower, with direct access to an array of shops and restaurants at Nakheel Mall. Inside lie 290 beautifully designed guest rooms, two infinity pools with breathtaking views, an Iridium spa and, of course, the signature St Regis butler service. Only a short distance away, Marriott Palm Jumeirah ( marriott.com) will debut as the first Marriott resort in Dubai toward the end of next year, offering a serene beachfront escape complete with 608 rooms and suites, all with private balconies and either a full or partial sea view. Among the wealth of dining options will be an outpost of Las Vegas’ famed Sake Rok.
Elsewhere in the city, Ian Schrager’s uber-cool EDITION Hotels ( editionhotels.com) will make its Dubai debut in Downtown before the end of 2021. Details remain tightly under wraps, but in keeping with the brand we can expect personable service and chic style reflecting the locale. Also adding to its UAE portfolio, Mandarin Oriental, which already operates one hotel in Dubai and added Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Palace to its portfolio earlier this year, plans to open Mandarin Oriental Downtown, Dubai ( mandarinoriental. com) in 2021 – this one a city hotel inside Wasl Tower on Sheikh Zayed Road. Corinthia Dubai ( corinthia.com) will be a striking new addition to the JBR beachfront when it opens toward the end of next year. The first Corinthia property in the GCC will feature 360 rooms and suites, cascading pools that descend toward the golden beachfront, an array of culinary experiences and an ESPA Life spa promising a holistic approach to wellness. Over by Dubai Creek, and at the heart of the new Jewel of the Creek development, will be a new Rixos resort ( rixos.com), offering a plethora of food and beverage, and leisure and entertainment options, including indoor and outdoor sports, fitness and wellness facilities, an infinity pool, a show arena and kids’ and teens’ clubs.
Off Dubai’s coast, as part of the ambitious Heart of Europe project ( thoe.com) on the World Islands, the first two hotels of a planned 15 properties will welcome guests in 2021. Portofino Hotel will be reserved for families, offering large suites with interconnecting bedrooms and playrooms as well as five swimming pools and 514 aquariums to entertain guests, while Côte d’Azur resort, comprised of four boutique beachfront hotels of 220 keys each, will provide a lively, glamorous taste of the French Riviera.
Complementing the Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi theme park on Yas Island, WB Abu Dhabi ( wbworldabudhabi.com), part of Hilton’s Curio Collection, will open next year as the world’s first Warner Bros.-branded hotel. Adjacent to the park, the hotel will feature 257 guest rooms spread over eight floors and a range of themed amenities, from signature WB restaurants to a kids’ club, family pool, rooftop pool and a Warner Bros. store. Designed for guests of all ages, expect to experience all of Warner Bros. best-loved characters from across the big screen, TV and a collection of comics.
Part of a new mixed-use development on the coast at Al
Aqah Beach, a 196-key Address Beach Resort Fujairah
( addresshotels.com) will debut next year. As well as a collection of contemporary rooms and suites offering serene sea views, guests checking in will be able to enjoy direct beach access, a sparkling al fresco pool and a landscaped promenade with additional restaurants, including an oyster bar with fresh fare sourced from nearby shores.
RAS AL KHAIMAH
The adventurous emirate is set to enhance its existing array of beachfront resorts and desert escapes with a new mountain escape on the UAE’s highest peak, Jebel Jais. At Bear Grylls Explorer Camp ( beargryllscamp.ae), which opened as the first in the world in October, 20 new container accommodations made from recycled materials will make it possible for adventurers to experience an overnight rural mountain retreat. Designed to sleep up to three, the eco-friendly, self-catering camp site will offer private barbecues on outdoor terraces.
In a waterfront neighbourhood, RAK’s first InterContinental property will land with the opening of InterContinental Mina Al Arab ( ihg.com) in 2021. Surrounded by protected coastal wetlands, with a golden beach to one side and a man-made waterway on the other, the hotel will feature 350 guest rooms and suites, a tranquil spa, two swimming pools and a number of globally influenced restaurants.
GUESTS CAN EXPECT TO CHECK-IN TO ONE OF 795 ROOMS AND SUITES, KEEP COOL AT MORE THAN 90 SWIMMING POOLS AND DINE AT OUTPOSTS BY ACCLAIMED CHEFS LIKE HESTON BLUMENTHAL AND JOSE ANDRES
Saudi Arabia’s luxury hotel landscape continues to grow with new openings in 2021. Habitas – which began in America as a brand bringing like-minded travellers together around immersive events – will debut a 100-room eco-luxe resort in the desert canyons of AlUla’s Ashar Valley early next year ( ourhabitas.com). Self-described as a brand that prioritises human connection and experiences over the traditional luxury fare of five-star hotels, the resort will consciously blend seamlessly into its surroundings, while activities aim to immerse visitors in the local heritage and otherworldly environment. Ashar Valley will also become home to Saudi's first Banyan Tree resort ( banyantree.com), with a rebranding and expansion of the existing Ashar Resort. The transformation will result in a desert resort of 82 luxury villas, a plush spa and a number of gourmet dining options.
Jumeirah ( jumeirah.com) will make its foray into the Saudi Arabian market with the opening of a fivestar resort in Jabal Omar, Makkah. As well as 1,033 guest rooms and 93 villas, the super-sized complex spread over four towers will feature a variety of dining outlets, meeting facilities for the business traveller and over 90 shops.
Opening in Muscat in the latter half of 2021 and nestled in the secluded Bandar Jissah cove, Jumeirah Muscat Bay ( jumeirah.com) will display ergonomic design, allowing for exterior and interior spaces to flow seamlessly together. In addition to 206 spacious suites and rooms, there will be a strong emphasis on wellbeing, with a 1,200sqm Talise Spa, plus a range of sports and leisure facilities – including a dive centre to experience the rich marine life in the waters.
Elsewhere, in the Dhofar region, the long awaited Alila Hinu Bay ( alilahotels.com) will unroll along a stretch of natural beach on Oman’s southwest coast. The sophisticated beachfront resort comprises 112 rooms, split between 96 guest rooms and 16 pool villas, each contemporary in style and with thoughtful design. Dining by design will offer meals in the cosy grape cellar, on a breezy beachfront, atop a mountain or in the comfort of a villa. Nearby attractions include the flowing Wadi Darbat waterfalls and valleys, historic Mirbat Castle and Sumhuram archaeological park.
In Bahrain, a second Jumeirah property is set to debut in 2021, this time in the southwest. Jumeirah Al Sahel Resort & Spa ( jumeirah.com) is part of a larger development that will see shops, attractions and residential villas rise across the Al Sahel area. A secluded retreat from the city, among its many features the 207-key resort will be surrounded by tranquil man-made waterways.
SELF-DESCRIBED AS A HOTEL BRAND THAT PRIORITISES HUMAN CONNECTION AND EXPERIENCES OVER THE TRADITIONAL LUXURY FARE OF FIVE-STAR HOTELS, THE RESORT WILL CONSCIOUSLY BLEND SEAMLESSLY INTO ITS SURROUNDINGS, WHILE ACTIVITIES AIM TO IMMERSE VISITORS
IN THE LOCAL HERITAGE AND OTHERWORLDLY ENVIRONMENT