8 to try: weekend breaks and staycations in the Middle East

Need a holiday? Stay in the region and recharge your batteries with a short break
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Where to stay: The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai International Financial Centre
\nThe Ritz-Carlton, Dubai International Financial Centre offers a dynamic setting and opulent retreat for any traveller. Standing 14 stories high, the hotel epitomizes understated luxury and elegance behind its handsome limestone facade. Guests enjoy a string of sumptuous amenities, a direct walkway to The Gate which is the heart of the Financial Centre, plus the added convenience of the city of Dubai at their fingertips.
\nWhat to do: The central location makes this hotel a great hub to visit Dubai’s world-famous shopping attractions. The Dubai Mall, in particular, is located within a short drive of the Dubai International Financial Centre district. It is the region's premier shopping, lifestyle and entertainment destination. With more than 1,200 stores and attractions such as an Olympic size skating ring, a world class aquarium, and a wide range of cafés and restaurants, The Dubai Mall is quickly becoming the city’s favorite destination for shopping and family outings.
\nDetails: The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai International Financial Centre
\n$225-640 per night\n
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Where to stay: The Ritz-Carlton, Doha
\nSoaring 115 meters above Qatar’s sea and desert landscape, The Ritz-Carlton, Doha is an impressive symbol of the nation’s emergence as a destination for travelers to the Middle East. The hotel fuses contemporary styling with classic Arabic and European design, creating a hotel with a promise of setting a new benchmark for luxury and sophistication in the region. Located on its own exclusive island in prestigious West Bay Lagoon, the hotel has sweeping views of the Arabian Gulf.
\nWhat to do: The Ritz-Carlton, Doha is a convenient base for exploring the area, either as a business traveller or an out-and-out tourist. The on-site Ritz-Carlton Marina has slips for 235 vessels whilst the nearby Doha Golf Club plays host to the Qatar Masters PGA Tour event each year. The hotel is not far from the corniche, Doha’s most popular area, a waterfront promenade with palm trees and green lawns lining your way. Landmarks along the corniche include the Qatar National Theatre the new Islamic Museum of Art and the Qatar National Museum.
\nDetails: The Ritz-Carlton, Doha \n
\n$280-800 per night\n
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Where to stay: Sharq Village & Spa
\nFourteen individual courtyard belts meander organically up from the 350 metres of private coastline around the ancient Arabic bazaar to form Sharq Village & Spa hotel in Qatar. The 174-room hotel, which features a 22,590-square-foot Royal Villa, is situated in an area known as Sharq, meaning "Orient," which perfectly blends traditional architecture and design with the latest in modern comforts and amenities. Guests at this hotel can glide through the twisting streets surrounding Sharq Village, cool off in the two strikingly constructed pools, recline on an outdoor majlis, or pick up everything from high fashion to precious jewels at the village souq.
\nWhat to do: Guests will not need to leave this hotel to find entertainment after checking in. The resort-style means everything guests could need may be found on site. Whether that is the amazing spa (with 23 different treatment rooms and two hammams,) the on-site bazaar or the eight on site dining spots there is enough to keep even the most demanding visitors busy for a weekend and beyond.
\nDetails: Sharq Village & Spa \n\n
\n$270-935 per night\n
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Where to stay: The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa
\nSituated on the north coast of Bahrain, this seven-story luxury Manama hotel features 245 rooms and suites located on a 20-acre urban resort complex just steps from the sea. The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa is only 11km from the airport, 3km from the city center and close to Bahrain International Exhibition Center. This Manama hotel’s exceptional location affords it panoramic view of the sparkling waters and the stunning city that surrounds it. Comprised of 23 elegant and spacious villas strategically located along the beach and tucked into lush greenery the villa accommodation is among the very best on the island.
\nWhat to do: Arabian souks form a network of social and cultural hubs that span the Arab world, and while Bahrain’s can’t compete with the likes of Damascus or Marrakech, the souk still forms the historic soul of Manama. While a walk through the souk is de rigueur for visitors, if you live in the Middle East then it is obligatory to actually buy something. Head straight for spice street where herbs, spices, perfume and tobacco are all being peddled in an atmosphere that hasn’t changed for hundreds of years.
Details: The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa \n
\n$260-2,920 per night\n
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Where to stay: Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel
\nExperience an Oman luxury hotel where you can indulge in an array of water sports, savor exquisite cuisine and, just minutes away, discover the rich history and traditions of an Arabian nation. A recent redefining renovation – both inside and out – the Al Bustan Palace is a Ritz-Carlton hotel set on a private beach with acres of lush gardens. Furnishings in this Muscat hotel artistically combine local traditions and art deco creating a unique blend of Arabian culture and art. Noted for its 38-meter high domed atrium lobby, the Al Bustan Palace hotel was originally built to host the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Summit in 1985. Through the years and through the renovation, this luxury resort has maintained the intricately handcrafted wall covers and original carvings, and has earned the reputation as the “jewel of the Sultanate.”
\nWhat to do: Oman is a haven for lovers of sun and nature, with unspoilt beaches, tropical seas, mountains, wadis, caves and deserts. With 3,165 kilometre long coastline and clean unpolluted waters, there is a wealth of underwater flora, marine life and diving thrills awaiting the most discerned underwater explorer. Turtle-watching, camel-riding and dolphin-spotting are among the most popular animal activities while nearby forts and museums are popular year-round activities.
\nDetails: Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel\n
\n$260-1,430 per night\n
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Where to stay: The Ritz-Carlton, Sharm El Sheikh
\nThe Ritz-Carlton, Sharm El Sheikh is located on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt; one of the world’s prime destinations for the adventurous at heart and a perpetual playground for the leisure seeker. Set in 100,000 square meters of beautifully landscaped ground, the resort fronts the environmentally protected Red Sea. With its elegantly appointed rooms and suites, the resort is the destination of choice for leisure and business travelers, families, and honeymooners.
\nWhat to do: This stretch of Red Sea coastline has a maritime history stretching back to Pharaonic times. Known as the City of Peace for hosting many international peace conferences, this former fishing village and commercial shipping hub is now one of the world’s premier resorts and environmentally-protected diving destinations, where visitors will be charmed by reefs populated by hundreds of species of coral and thousands of tropical fish. Qualified PADI divers travel from all over the world to swim these waters.
\nDetails: The Ritz-Carlton, Sharm El Sheikh\n\n
\n$100-5,400 per night\n
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Where to stay: The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai
\nIn a city so obsessed with five star hotels The Ritz Carlton, Dubai still manages to stand out as one of the classiest options. The low rise setting alone is distinctive in Dubai and the opulently decorated rooms enjoy garden and ocean views. This intimately luxurious resort, situated on 350 meters of the pristine white sands of the Arabian Gulf, is the perfect place to relax and indulge. Guests can bask in the sun and enjoy the warm ocean waters or the refreshing pools and waterfalls within the extensive gardens. Alternatively, taking a soothing spa treatment or savouring an exceptional meal in a breathtaking setting are other ways to fully relax in this delightful property.
\nWhat to do: Make use of the beach-front location and first class watersport facilities with windsurfing, parasailing and waterskiing lessons. Or for a more sedate experience stroll along the neighbouring Jumeirah Beach Residence The Walk shopping and dining district. With dozens of cafes and boutiques as well as a street market and regular entertainments it is popular day and night all year round.
\nDetails: The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai \n \n
\n$260-670 per night\n
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Where to stay: The Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh
\nSituated in more than 210,000 square metres of luxuriantly landscaped gardens this stunning hotel was originally envisioned as a royal guest palace for visiting dignitaries and heads of state. Modeled on traditional Middle Eastern palaces the ten-story property has 493 rooms and suites including 49 lavish two-bedroom Royal suites each over 425 square metres and 50 Executive suites at 100 square metres. Throughout the opulent design and commitment to luxury is in keeping with The Ritz-Carlton properties around the world.
\nWhat to do: Beyond cultural attractions Saudi Arabia isn’t the most common tourist destination. For residents or visiting business travelers looking to extend their trip, however, The Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh is an excellent luxury option. Gourmet dining is considered to be among the best in Riyadh and the modern spa is a great option for relaxation and rejuvenation.
\nDetails: The Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh \n\n
\n$350-4,000 per night\n\n
Tue 19 Jun 2012 03:55 PM