Luxury Arabia

Qatar, UAE, Oman: Trendy Escapes
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As we head off into 2019, here are some trendy escapes around the Arabian Peninsula – in Qatar, the UAE, and Oman – to keep on your luxury travel radar...

Arabian Escapes: Qatar luxury

The Ritz-Carlton Doha: Modernity meets tradition

Rising from the shores of the Gulf Sea, The Ritz-Carlton Doha blends the best of both modernity and tradition on its own exclusive island at Doha’s prestigious West Bay Lagoon district. From its several restaurants and lounges, to its tranquil spa, to its sweeping sea views, elegant rooms and suites, magnificent indoor and outdoor swimming pools, and private beach, this 5 Star hotel combines contemporary opulence with the warmth of a traditional Arabian welcome. www.ritzcarlton.com

Banana Island Resort Doha by Anantara: Qatari luxury living

Banana Island Resort Doha by Anantara is a crescent of golden beach and over-water villas just off the coast of downtown Doha. It’s a perfect escape for a family adventure or for a romantic retreat – which combines breathtaking seascapes with Qatari hospitality, and plenty of luxury at places like the resort’s Anantara Spa and Balance Wellness centre, and world class fine dining options. www.anantara.com

Travel Highlights! Doha, Qatar

  • Souq Waqif: Doha’s lively traditional market.
  • Waterfront Promenade: A hip, happening waterfront promenade and recreation zone encircling Doha Bay.
  • Al Zubarah Fort: One of Doha’s must-visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  • The Pearl-Qatar: A Mediterranean-style yacht-lined marina, with luxury residences, hotels and eateries.
  • Museum of Islamic Art: Experience 14 centuries in a few hours at this world-renowned collection of Islamic art.

Arabian Escapes: UAE luxury

Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara: Sunrise over the sands

Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara was the winner of the prestigious 2018 Condé Nast Traveler US Readers’ Choice Awards’ “Top Resorts in the Middle East” category. Located on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi, next to the famous Empty Quarter desert – Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara rises up from flame-coloured dunes like a mirage. This is where you can dine under crystal clear night skies and desert stars, before waking up the next day to a desert sunrise. Later, you can head out on an unforgettable desert adventure, or make your way to the resort’s Moroccan hammam and desert spa ritual. www.anantara.com

Anantara The Palm Dubai: Thai-style luxury

Located at Dubai’s world-famous Palm Jumeirah, Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort boasts 400 metres of private shoreline and spectacular views of the Gulf Sea. Guests can indulge in an exclusive Thai-style beach escape, enjoy the UAE’s only over-water villas, and at the same time, escape the hustle and bustle of high-energy Dubai. Anantara The Palm Dubai, by the way, took the coveted second place spot at the 2018 Condé Nast Traveler US Readers’ Choice Awards’ “Top Resorts in the Middle East” category. www.anantara.com

Travel Highlights! Abu Dhabi, UAE

  • Sheikh Zayed Mosque: One of the largest and most exquisite mosques in the world.
  • The Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club: This is where a number of glitzy, glamourous horse racing events are held every year.
  • Louvre Abu Dhabi: Get your cultural fix at the Louvre Abu Dhabi – the acclaimed art and civilization museum that recently celebrated its one year anniversary.
  • Yas Waterworld: This massive, futuristic waterpark has over 40 rides, slides, and attractions.
  • Ferrari World Abu Dhabi: The theme park that is home to a winning mix of Ferrari-inspired rides and attractions.

Travel Highlights! Dubai, UAE

  • Burj Khalifa: Marvel at the world’s tallest building.
  • Dubai Opera: Take in a world-class performance at this iconic opera house.
  • Theme Parks: Take the family to visit Dubai’s dozens of world-class theme parks and waterparks.
  • Shopping: Discover Dubai’s vast selection of malls, street souks and shopping festivals.
  • Ski Dubai: Play in the desert snow and ice at Ski Dubai.

Arabian Escapes: Oman luxury

Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara: Ultimate 48-hour Salalah escape!

Running until 30 April 2019, the 5 Star Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara have curated the ultimate 48-hour escape, where guests can immerse themselves in the coastal beauty of Dhofar, blissful weather, and the resort’s many luxurious offerings, including its expansive white-sand beach. Stunning in its Omani-inspired design, this is the first and only luxury resort in Southern Oman with private pool villas, and as it’s just 15 minutes away from Salalah International Airport, it makes the perfect getaway for Oman and Middle East travellers in search of a dream two-day escape or longer. The “Extend the Fun” offer includes luxury accommodation, daily breakfast buffet and dinner for two persons along with complimentary late check-out, and much more. www.anantara.com

Six Senses Zighy Bay: See the Musandam seas

Six Senses Zighy Bay Resort, located on Oman’s Musandam Peninsula, is the setting of beautiful indigenous village style accommodations and a private marina – adjacent to dramatic mountains on one side and the sandy beach of Zighy Bay on the other. This is where you come to feel the sand beneath your toes; glide silently through the Musandam seas on a sunset dhow cruise; taste locally inspired culinary delights; and head off from the resort on some memorable adventures – like paragliding, scuba diving, mountain trekking, and photography tours. www.sixsenses.com

Travel Highlights! Musandam, Oman

  • Omani dhow trip: Explore the seas on a traditional-style Omani dhow.
  • Scuba dive: See Musandam’s spectacular marine life while diving and snorkelling.
  • Trekking: Musandam provides excellent trekking and photo opportunities.
  • Sea-kayaking: Paddle directly below Musandam’s famous fjord-like khors on a sea-kayak.
  • Camping: Spending the night camping on a secret beach, below the Musandam stars.

Travel Highlights! Salalah, Oman

  • Wadi Darbat: Wadi Darbat is favourite picnic spot for families throughout the year.
  • Mughsail Beach: During winter, Mughsail beach is perfect for long walks and refreshing dips in the sea.
  • Treasure hunting: Shop for Salalah treasures like frankincense, silver and gold jewellery, and Omani textiles in the souqs, malls and markets around town.
  • Al Baleed Archaeological Park: A UNESCO World Heritage Site (and Land of Frankincense Museum), which was originally a centre for frankincense trade.
  • Khor Rori: The Khor Rori coastal lagoon is home to a spectacular range of birdlife.

Muscat: Luxury in the capital

Planning a stay in the Sultanate’s capital? Don’t miss out on these three gems…

Al Bustan Palace, A Ritz-Carlton Hotel: Marking a new era in its legacy, Muscat’s famous Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel, reopened in October following a period of extensive enhancements. This iconic palace hotel now combines a rich history with state-of-the-art design to offer a next-generation luxury experience. www.ritzcarlton.com

Kempinski Hotel Muscat: Located within the Al Mouj Muscat community, Kempinski Hotel Muscat offers a luxurious beach resort in the Sultanate. The hotel features 310 blissfully comfortable rooms and suites, spectacular swimming pools, a health club and spa, kids club, tennis court, and a variety of fun water sports activities. Kempinski Hotel Muscat comes as a dining destination with ten authentic restaurants and lounges to guarantee a delicious and memorable dining experience. The hotel also caters to meetings and events with 11 spacious meeting rooms and a 1,100 square-metre ballroom. www.kempinski.com/muscat

Fraser Suites: Fraser Suites Muscat offers luxury 5 Star apartments in the heart of Muscat. This is where you can come to immerse yourself in a quintessential Omani experience – filled with the very best in Omani hospitality, luxury and charm; as well as all the amenities needed for a successful business trip. www.frasershospitality.com

Oman Air: Plan your trip!

Along with the over 50 international destinations (and over 20 destinations via codeshare) that Oman Air currently flies to, the airline also flies to several destinations in the GCC region and Middle East – including Khasab (Musandam) and Salalah (Dhofar) in the Sultanate itself. For more info and to book a flight, visit www.omanair.com

Images: © Shutterstock; Banana Island Resort Doha by Anantara; Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara; Six Senses Zighy Bay; Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara