The 10 Best City Hotels in Africa and the Middle East
Africa and the Middle East are home to some of the most stunning natural landscapes on earth. But for every palm-fringed island or lush desert oasis, there’s a vibrant city worth exploring — from ancient capitals like Cairo to glimmering metropolises like Cape Town. And once you’re there, you’ll find an abundance of hotels to serve as perfect jumping-off points for discovering these spectacular locales.
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.
Related: The 2018 World's Best Awards
While our list represents six countries in diverse regions, one destination emerges as a favorite: South Africa, home to four of the top properties (including the winner). Cape Grace, which claimed the No. 3 spot on our list, is located on its own private quay in Cape Town. Beloved by readers for its harbor views and elegant design (think chandeliers, antiques, and French doors), the 120-room icon is also a favorite of celebs like Beyoncé and the Obamas.
The Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem provides all the creature comforts one would expect from a modern property in the heart of a historic city: 225 opulent rooms, three restaurants (two of which are kosher), and an indoor pool. “Excellent, first-class hotel,” said one respondent. But this year’s list is also studded with properties that invert our expectations of what an urban hotel looks like. The modern, low-lying alcazar that is La Mamounia in Marrakesh has 207 opulently decorated rooms and suites surrounded by tiled courtyards and fragrant orange trees (one reader even went so far as to describe La Mamounia as her “dream hotel.”) Also on the list is Giraffe Manor, a colonial home on the outskirts of Nairobi, whose 12 private, forested acres are home to a herd of Rothschild’s giraffes..
Our winning property this year is also a city hotel unlike any other — a serene collection of suites and villas that feels worlds away from its prime location in South Africa’s largest city. Read on for the full list.
10. Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza
9. Four Seasons Hotel, Amman, Jordan
8. Table Bay, Cape Town
7. Waldorf Astoria, Jerusalem
6. Four Seasons Resort, Marrakesh, Morocco
5. Giraffe Manor, Nairobi, Kenya
4. Ellerman House, Cape Town
3. Cape Grace, Cape Town
2. La Mamounia, Marrakesh, Morocco
1. Saxon Hotel, Villas & Spa, Johannesburg, South Africa
Situated on 10 acres of manicured gardens, the intimate Saxon Hotel is the ultimate city refuge — in fact, it was where Nelson Mandela worked on his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom. Yet it is also just minutes away from central Johannesburg. Before you hit the streets, take advantage of all the spoils at your doorstep, from the giant infinity pool and Grei, the new 30-seat fine dining restaurant, to the award-winning spa, which has a hammam and a Himalayan-salt sauna. Said one reader: “We stayed at Saxon for a couple of nights following seven weeks of safaris and wine tasting (hard work, that!) before returning home. Everything is simply stunning. We felt we were special people in very competent and caring hands.”
See all of our readers' favorite hotels, airlines, cruise lines, and more in the World's Best Awards for 2018.