By John Wogan
July 10, 2019
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Kasbah Tamadot
Credit: Courtesy of Kasbah Tamadot

This year’s top resort hotels in Africa and the Middle East are as spectacular as the landscapes they inhabit, which include vast stretches of desert, dramatic mountain ranges, and azure beaches along the Persian Gulf.

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.

The One & Only Royal Mirage (No. 4) is like a world in itself: a 65-acre compound of lush gardens, palm-fringed swimming pools, more than half a mile of private beach, and 466 guest rooms in three buildings. Spa-goers will find an elaborate facility with 12 oversize, private treatment rooms and a traditional hammam. Restaurant options include the Beach Bar & Grill for fresh seafood and Nina, which serves contemporary Indian cuisine.

Runner-up Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar is perched 6,500 feet above sea level on the edge of a canyon in Oman’s Green Mountains (about two hours southwest of the capital, Muscat). It’s so remote that the property can be accessed only by a four-wheel-drive. In fact, the one-of-a-kind location was reason enough for some readers to make the trek. But Anantara goes the extra mile with guest rooms that start at 645 square feet and perks like an infinity-edge swimming pool on a cliff, a spa, mountainside yoga sessions, and guided hiking and bike rides.

5. Beresheet, Mitspe Ramon, Israel

Credit: Courtesy of Beresheet

Score: 91.00

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4. One&Only Royal Mirage, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

One&Only Royal Mirage
Credit: Courtesy of One&Only Royal Mirage

Score: 92.50

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3. Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach, United Arab Emirates

Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach
Credit: Courtesy of Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach

Score: 92.94

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2. Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort, Oman

Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar
Credit: Courtesy of Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar

Score: 93.60

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1. Kasbah Tamadot, Atlas Mountains, Morocco

Kasbah Tamadot
Credit: Courtesy of Kasbah Tamadot

Score: 93.80

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A former governor’s mansion at the base of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, this year’s winner is a tiny, 28-room retreat about an hour’s drive south of Marrakesh. It’s the passion project of British entrepreneur Richard Branson, who’s created an eclectic, charming getaway where internationally sourced antiques fill the interior and roses, cacti, and cherry trees color the gardens. As tempting as it is to lounge around the grounds, though, more active guests can consider tennis on the property’s two courts, treks through the mountains, and even mule rides to explore the landscape. The standout for one reader, though, was the staff (“so special”): the hotel makes a point of hiring employees from nearby Berber villages.