By John Wogan
July 10, 2019
Courtesy of Royal Mansour

The glittering cities of North Africa and the Middle East offer more to see and do with each passing year. Qatar’s capital city, Doha, just unveiled a Jean Nouvel–designed National Museum, made to resemble the “desert rose” crystals that are commonly found in the country. It joins the region’s satellite branch of Paris’s Louvre Museum, which opened in Abu Dhabi in 2017. Cairo is making a big statement with next year’s unveiling of the Grand Egyptian Museum (at a reported cost of $1 billion). Cultural institutions aren’t the only things drawing readers here, though — the region is also home to some of the best urban hotels in the world.

Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Hotels were rated on their facilities, location, service, food, and overall value. Properties were classified as city or resort based on their locations and amenities.

RelatedThe World's Best Awards 2019

A few minutes’ drive from downtown Cairo, Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza (No. 5 on this year’s list) has emerged as one of the leading high-end hotel options in the Egyptian capital. The location is convenient, but the comforts within this modern, 30-story building are what set it apart. There’s one of the largest spas in the city, a series of rooftop swimming pools, a health club with floor-to-ceiling views of the Nile, and nine food and drink establishments, including Zitouni, which serves authentic Egyptian cuisine (and a sumptuous breakfast buffet).

Runner-up Jumeirah at Etihad Towers stands out for its glassy, futuristic high-rise home overlooking the Persian Gulf and Abu Dhabi’s cityscape. With its waterside setting and bright, sleek interiors, the feeling here is almost akin to Miami Beach. The 382 guest rooms take full advantage of the building’s height, and floor-to-ceiling windows offer incredible views.

10. Cairo Marriott Hotel & Omar Khayyam Casino, Egypt

Courtesy of Marriott International

Score: 86.75

More information: marriott.com

9. Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Courtesy of Jumeirah Emirates Towers

Score: 87.06

More information: jumeirah.com

8. Four Seasons Hotel Doha, Qatar

Courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel Doha

Score: 88.75

More information: fourseasons.com/doha

7. Four Seasons Resort Marrakech, Morocco

Courtesy of Four Seasons Resort Marrakech

Score: 89.00

More information: fourseasons.com/marrakech

6. Inbal Jerusalem Hotel, Israel

Courtesy of Inbal Hotel

Score: 90.44

More information: inbalhotel.com

5. Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza, Cairo, Egypt

Courtesy Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza

Score: 93.82

More information: fourseasons.com/caironp

4. La Mamounia, Marrakesh, Morocco

Courtesy of La Mamounia

Score: 93.94

More information: mamounia.com

3. Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Courtesy of Burj Al Arab Jumeirah

Score: 94.27

More information: jumeirah.com

2. Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Courtesy of Jumeirah at Etihad Towers

Score: 95.47

More information: jumeirah.com

1. Royal Mansour, Marrakesh, Morocco

Courtesy of Royal Mansour

Score: 97.78

More information: royalmansour.com

It’s not often you’re able to stay in a hotel commissioned by a king, and checking in to Royal Mansour certainly makes one feel like nobility. The hotel is the personal passion project of King Mohammed VI of Morocco, who oversaw every detail. “This was one of the most amazing places I’ve ever been,” wrote one reader. Guests will find an over-the-top experience, starting with one of 53 private, multistory riads where staff enter and exit discreetly via underground passageways — there are no “normal” guest rooms here. And as you’d imagine, the spa and dining options are largely considered the best in the city. Rounding out the experience are acres of manicured gardens with palms, citrus trees, and fragrant desert flowers, and a huge new swimming pool that debuted just a few years ago.

See all of our readers' favorite hotels, cities, airlines, cruise lines, and more in the World's Best Awards for 2019.

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