The Top 5 North Africa and Middle East Resort Hotels
This year's World's Best Awards survey was open for voting January 11 through May 10, 2021, as destinations around the world were lifting COVID-19 restrictions. Survey rules have always allowed readers to reflect on their travel experiences over a three-year period. We hope that this year's honorees will inspire your own travels as you get back out into the world.
Deserts. Date palms. Mountains both brush-covered and snow-capped. White-sand beaches facing aquamarine seas. The countries of the Middle East and North Africa are home to some of the world's most striking landscapes — and the best resorts, according to T+L readers, offer plenty of nature, adventure, and seclusion.
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.
It comes as no surprise that the emirate of Dubai, well known as a destination for leisure (and a little bit of excess), claims two of this year's top properties — though the experience at these hotels couldn't be more different. At No. 2 Al Maha, a Luxury Collection property in the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, the 42 suites look out over red dunes and the occasional passing oryx. Fifty miles away, the iconic Atlantis, the Palm, towers over the crystalline Arabian Gulf. Many visitors go to the property, which snagged this year's No. 5 spot, for its family-friendly waterpark and expansive aquarium, but one respondent said, "My wife and I were more amazed at the view."
Another seaside resort on the list is the Kempinski Hotel Ishtar, in Swaimeh, on Jordan's Dead Sea. "This property is absolutely lovely," wrote a reader, "and the location is so dreamy." While the ancient salt lake is the main draw, the No. 3 resort is also a luxurious home base for exploring historical sites like Mount Nebo and the ancient city of Petra. But with a gleaming spa and what one reader called "five-star service" all around, there's plenty of reason to stay on property, too.
Two of this year's top resorts can be found in reader-favorite Morocco, including the property in the top spot, tucked deep in the Atlas Mountains. Keep reading to find out which hotels readers voted for as the best resorts in North Africa and the Middle East.
1. Kasbah Tamadot, Atlas Mountains, Morocco
Located just outside of Marrakesh, the No. 1 resort in North Africa and the Middle East has kept the title for three years running. Part of the Virgin Limited Edition hospitality group, Kasbah Tamadot — first owned by Venice-born antiques dealer Luciano Tempo — caught the eye of Richard Branson during a ballooning expedition in Morocco's Atlas Mountains. He purchased the property in 1998 and converted it into a 28-key hotel, with rooms and suites ranging from tented villas reminiscent of Berber camps to lush suites with views of the Moorish garden. Each is filled with rich textiles, eclectic jewel-toned furniture, and items from Tempo's personal collection. Looking to go all out? The Kasbah is also available for buyout for you and your 50 closest friends.
More information: virginlimitededition.com
2. Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai
More information: marriott.com
3. Kempinski Hotel Ishtar Dead Sea, Swaimeh, Jordan
More information: kempinski.com
4. Four Seasons Hotel Casablanca, Morocco
More information: fourseasons.com
5. Atlantis, the Palm, Dubai
More information: atlantis.com
See all of our readers' favorite hotels, cities, airlines, cruise lines, and more in the World's Best Awards for 2021.