The Best City Hotels in Africa and the Middle East in 2016

Saxon Hotel
Photo: Courtesy of Leading Hotels of the World

It has captivating beaches and elegant vineyards, enticing boutiques and an iconic mountain. And this year, Cape Town offers another draw to travelers: five of the top 10 urban hotels in Africa and the Middle East. Cape Grace and One&Only, perennial favorites in the city’s Victoria & Albert Waterfront, both made the list, coming in second and fifth. Ellerman House also made the list—a striking Cape Edwardian mansion overlooking the South Atlantic Ocean. The hotel has just 11 rooms, two suites, and two villas, but offers guests two lounges, a library, a spa, and three spots for a tipple, the brandy lounge, the wine gallery, and the Champagne cellar. 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 lines, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated hotels on their rooms and facilities, location, service, food and drink, and overall value. Properties were categorized as city or resort based on their locations. Though Cape Town had the most winners, Abu Dhabi and Dubai also made strong showings. Dubai’s Madinat Jumeirah, a grand resort inspired by ancient Arabia, was ranked third in the region. “My husband and I were treated like royalty from the moment we disembarked,” said one appreciative past guest. But at the pinnacle of the list was the Saxon Hotel in Johannesburg, which respondents prized for its secluded atmosphere and verdant grounds. As one survey taker wrote, it is “the gold standard for elegance, luxury, and service.”

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No. 10: Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Etihad Towers Jumeirah
Courtesy of Jumeirah

Score: 91.579

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No. 9: Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel, Cape Town, South Africa

Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel
Courtesy of Belmond Luxury Hotels

Score: 91.949

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No. 8: Ritz-Carlton, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Ritz-Carlton Dubai
Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton

Score: 92.842

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No. 7: Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi
Courtesy of Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi

Score: 92.97

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No. 6: Table Bay Hotel, Cape Town, South Africa

Table Bay Hotel
Courtesy of Table Bay Hotel

Score: 93.391

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No. 5: One&Only, Cape Town, South Africa

One&Only Cape Town
Courtesy of OneandOnly Cape Town

Score: 93.826

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No. 4: Ellerman House, Cape Town, South Africa

Ellerman House
Courtesy of Ellerman House

Score: 93.88

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No. 3: Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Madinat Jumeirah al Qasr
Courtesy of Jumeirah

Score: 94.323

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No. 2: Cape Grace, Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Grace
Courtesy of Cape Grace

Score: 94.593

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No. 1: Saxon Hotel, Villas and Spa, Johannesburg, South Africa

Saxon Hotel
Courtesy of Leading Hotels of the World

Score: 95.09

“This hotel and spa is one of my favorite places to unwind and relax,” said one survey-taker. The sanctuary-like feel of the Saxon Hotel, which occupies 10 landscaped acres in the leafy, upscale suburb of Sandhurst, is beloved by T+L readers. The decor is contemporary with African inflections that are particularly noticeable in the art and textiles. As reader Peter Weitz, who checked in recently, put it: “We were blown away by the beautifully appointed rooms, meticulous grounds, and thoughtful service.”

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