By Hannah Walhout
July 08, 2020
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Credit: Courtesy of Burj Al Arab

This year’s World’s Best Awards survey closed on March 2, just before widespread stay-at-home orders were implemented as a result of COVID-19. The results reflect our readers’ experiences before the pandemic, but we hope that this year’s honorees will inspire your trips to come — whenever they may be.

Though bound loosely together by language, religion, and history, North Africa and the Middle East is a massive, diverse region with cities of all flavors: from the Moorish architecture of Fez, Morocco, and Tunis, Tunisia, to the pilgrimage sites of Jerusalem and Mecca; from the vibrant social scenes in Beirut, Lebanon, and Tel Aviv to the futuristic dreamscapes in Doha, Qatar, and Dubai. That variety, naturally, carries through to the hotels, which are among the best in the world, according to T+L readers.

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. 

Cairo, the most populous city in the region, had two hotels in the top 10, as does perennial favorite Jerusalem — including its grand Waldorf Astoria, No. 3 on this year’s list, just a short walk from the Old City. Many readers raved about the Waldorf’s staff, with one respondent reminiscing that they “take care of guests like family.”

But the undisputed hotel capital of MENA this year is Marrakesh, Morocco, also voted the No. 1 city in Africa and the Middle East. Three palatial Marrakesh properties made the top 10. The star among them is La Mamounia, which comes in at No. 4: readers praised the “meticulous service,” “magical spa,” “great cocktails,” and “fantasy garden fragrant with orange trees.” This is an opulent property — and one of the most expensive in the city — but, as one respondent said, “next time our stay will be even longer. It's worth every penny.”

Four Seasons, which has a portfolio of 16 properties in the MENA region, made an impressive showing on this year’s list, with three hotels in three different countries. At No. 8, the Four Seasons Hotel Amman in Jordan earned praise for its elegant building, prime location, and excellent bar, while the No. 10 Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at the First Residence was described as an “oasis” in the city by more than one reader. 

There are also many homegrown properties on the list — including our winner, the flagship of an iconic Middle Eastern brand. Read on for the full list of the top 10 hotels in the Middle East and North Africa.

1. Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, Dubai

Credit: Courtesy of Burj Al Arab

Score: 97.20

More information: jumeirah.com

Emirati hotel brand Jumeirah has dozens of properties across the Persian Gulf, Europe, and Asia — but none are as iconic as the Burj Al Arab, on an artificial island off of Dubai’s Jumeirah Beach. Completed in 1999, the Tom Wright–designed building remains one of the most beloved landmarks on the city’s skyline. In true Dubai style, its claims to fame are many: it’s one of the tallest hotels in the world, with one of the world’s loftiest interior atriums, and it offers one of the most expensive hotel suites anywhere. Records broken on-site include the world’s most expensive cocktail in 2018 (around $7,400 at the time) and the world’s largest tin of caviar (just over 37 pounds). But beyond over-the-top stunts, the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah also excels at pure, unadulterated luxury: it’s got private beachfront, chefs with Michelin cred, and a massive 18th-floor spa with unbeatable views. One reader reminisced fondly about “the most excellent service in the world,” while another remarked that this is “a once-in-a-lifetime type of hotel.”

2. Royal Mansour, Marrakesh, Morocco

Credit: Courtesy of Royal Mansour Marrakech

Score: 97.19

More information: royalmansour.com

3. Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem

Credit: Courtesy of Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem

Score: 94.50

More information: hilton.com

4. La Mamounia, Marrakesh, Morocco

Credit: Courtesy of La Mamounia

Score: 94.18

More information: mamounia.com

5. The Nile Ritz-Carlton, Cairo

Credit: Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton

Score: 93.87

More information: ritzcarlton.com

6. Armani Hotel Dubai

Credit: Courtesy of Armani Hotel Dubai

Score: 92.47

More information: armanihoteldubai.com

7. King David Hotel, Jerusalem

Credit: Courtesy of King David Hotel

Score: 90.00

More information: danhotels.com

8. Four Seasons Hotel Amman, Jordan

Credit: Courtesy of Four Seasons

Score: 89.45

More information: fourseasons.com

9. Four Seasons Resort Marrakech, Morocco

Credit: Courtesy of Four Seasons

Score: 89.14

More information: fourseasons.com

10. Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at the First Residence

Credit: Courtesy of Four Seasons

Score: 89.05

More information: fourseasons.com

See all of our readers' favorite hotels, cities, airlines, cruise lines, and more in the World's Best Awards for 2020.