Resort holidays to remember in Europe and the Middle East

by Hazel Plush    in Family & Couples

Whether you’re craving a restorative beach break, an action-packed ski trip, or a fun getaway for all the family, a resort holiday keeps things brilliantly fuss-free. You’ll have an abundance of great restaurants on your doorstep, a host of activities to enjoy, and everything from infinity pools to golf courses nearby – plus a concierge service to help you make the most of it all. Now that really is a holiday. Read on to discover the best resorts across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Find family-friendly adventure in Portugal

With its 27-hole Championship golf course, three Michelin-starred restaurants and tranquil location in the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park (near Lisbon), Penha Longa Resort is one of Portugal’s best holiday resorts. It’s wholly family-friendly too, with a kids’ club and complimentary activities – so you can hit the spa or head to the pool in peace.

On the south coast, the Pine Cliffs Hotel, a Luxury Collection Resort, Algarve sits high on the rocks above Praia da Falésia beach – featuring nine top-notch restaurants, eight swimming pools, and a bounty of sea-view rooms and suites. Active guests love the Annabel Croft Tennis Academy, while spa-seekers have an extensive wellness centre to discover.

Beach or city? Do both in Dubai, UAE

Le Royal Méridien Beach Resort & Spa

Le Royal Méridien Beach Resort & Spa (Photo: Marriott International)

In the glittering, sky-scraping neighbourhood of Downtown Dubai, the Dubai EDITION occupies one of the city’s most prestigious addresses – with views of the mighty Burj Khalifa and Dubai Fountains, and easy access to the Dubai Opera and Dubai Mall. It’s the ideal base for a glamorous city break.

Sunseekers, meanwhile, should head to Le Royal Méridien Beach Resort & Spa: this award-winning hotel sits on the golden sands of Jumeirah Beach, with three swimming pools and myriad watersports to try. It has its own private beach, as does Aloft Palm Jumeirah – which is set on the Palm, overlooking the city’s extraordinary coastline.

Enjoy world-class golfing in the UK and Ireland

Breadsall Priory Marriott Hotel & Country Club

Breadsall Priory Marriott Hotel & Country Club (Photo: Marriott International)

Combining Michelin-starred dining, a Jack Nicklaus signature golf course, and a wealth of elegant rooms and suites, the Mount Juliet Estate, Autograph Collection is the epitome of rural extravagance – set on a pristine country estate in Kilkenny, Ireland. All of golfing’s greats have played here, including Tiger Woods, who described the fairways as ‘perfect’.

In Derbyshire, United Kingdom, the Breadsall Priory Marriott Hotel & Country Club is bordered by the Peak District National Park, and its magnificent manor house dates back to 1266. Here you’ll find two 18-hole golf courses, including the Championship Priory Course, plus two restaurants serving traditional British cuisine.

Discover ancient wonders in Petra, Jordan

Dead Sea Marriott Resort & Spa

Dead Sea Marriott Resort & Spa (Photo: Marriott International)

Not only does Petra Marriott Hotel offer a glorious spa, fine dining and luxurious rooms and suites, but it also has a World Wonder on its doorstep: Jordan’s ancient city of Petra, which was carved into the landscape by the Nabataeans over 2,000 years ago. The hotel overlooks the beautiful rose-red valley and is a ten-minute drive from the park entrance.

After a few days exploring Petra, retreat to the Dead Sea Marriott Resort & Spa for a rejuvenating soak in its famously buoyant brine – plus wellness treatments featuring mineral-rich Dead Sea mud and salt crystals.

Ski on pristine powder in Switzerland or Spain

W Verbier

W Verbier (Photo: Marriott International)

At an altitude of 1,531 metres, with ski in/ski out access to Switzerland’s premiere alpine resort, W Verbier has over 400km of world-class ski slopes right on its doorstep. Spend your days in the mountains, and your evenings enjoying the W’s apres ski scene – with cocktails at Sergi Arola’s EAT-HOLA Tapas Bar and live DJ sets at W OFF PISTE.

Alternatively, head south to Hotel AC Baqueira Ski Resort, Autograph Collection, located in the Catalan Pyrenees, Spain. During the winter months, its combination of five-star facilities and easy access to the slopes (it’s just 50 metres from the cable car) makes it unmissable for skiers and snowboarders from all over the world.

Discover ancient treasures in Egypt

Marriott Mena House, Cairo

Marriott Mena House, Cairo (Photo: Marriott International)

Featuring a state-of-the-art Heavenly Spa, huge swimming pool and 27-hole golf course designed by Sir Nick Faldo and Brian Curley, The Westin Cairo Golf Resort & Spa, Katameya Dunes, has everything you need for a fun break in the sun – and it’s also a great base for visiting Giza’s famous pyramids (they’re less than an hour’s drive away).

If you’re planning to spend multiple days immersed in Egypt’s ancient treasures, the Marriott Mena House, Cairo puts you even closer to the must-sees: it’s within walking distance of the Pyramids, and a short drive from the Sphinx and The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities too.

Seek out Spain’s designer hotspots

The Ritz-Carlton, Abama

The Ritz-Carlton, Abama (Photo: Marriott International)

The terracotta turrets of The Ritz-Carlton, Abama pop perfectly against the inky blue of the Atlantic Ocean and the cerulean skies above Tenerife – making it one of Spain’s most eye-catching resorts. Its suites and swimming pools are equally spectacular, while the spa offers thalassotherapy and signature treatments galore.

For a restorative adventure on mainland Spain, the W Barcelona occupies a shimmering glass skyscraper designed by world-renowned architect Ricardo Bofill – with lofty views of the city, harbour and beaches. Up on the 26th floor, its Eclipse rooftop bar is Barcelona’s top spot for sundowners.

Find your island idyll in Mauritius

The Westin Turtle Bay Resort & Spa, Mauritius

The Westin Turtle Bay Resort & Spa, Mauritius (Photo: Marriott International)

Soft sandy beaches, swaying palm trees, three infinity swimming pools… Le Méridien Ile Maurice is a slice of sheer holiday heaven. Located in the north-west of Mauritius, the hotel’s sheltered coastline is ideal for windsurfing, snorkelling and kayaking – all of which are complimentary for guests. Its PADI dive centre also offers scuba trips and tuition.

Overlooking a protected marine reserve, The Westin Turtle Bay Resort & Spa, Mauritius also features a beautiful sandy beach and an abundance of watersports and fine dining. There are seven restaurants and bars to choose from, including the seafront Beach Grill (it’s right on the sand) and locally-sourced Mauritian cuisine at Fusion.

Immerse yourself in Oman’s compelling capital city

Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel

Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel (Photo: Marriott International)

In true W style, W Muscat is a buzzing, boldly-designed hotel – within easy reach of the Oman capital’s top attractions, such as the Royal Opera House Muscat and Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. After a long day of sightseeing, you’ll find soothing massages at the AWAY Spa, a beautiful swimming pool, and sunset-view cocktails at WET Bar.

Just outside the city, Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel is a long-standing icon of Muscat’s hotel scene. As well as a private beach and six swimming pools, this opulent property features everything from yoga workshops and tennis courts to a kids’ club and free watersports – all set in the decadent palace-inspired grounds.

Discover Italy’s most lavish addresses

Hotel Cala di Volpe, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Costa Smeralda

Hotel Cala di Volpe, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Costa Smeralda (Photo: Marriott International)

Set on the private island of Isola delle Rose in Venice, Italy, JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa is reached by a 20-minute private boat ride from St. Mark's Square. An oasis of olive groves, infinity pools and fabulous restaurants, it’s a tranquil retreat from the hubbub of Venice – and features an Italian cooking school and lagoon-view spa, too.

From the dining menus and décor, to the stone-built architecture of the hotel itself, everything about Hotel Cala di Volpe, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Costa Smeralda is true to the heritage of Sardinia – with a very extravagant twist. Check into the Harrods Suite for a private pool, vaulted wine cellar, and your very own cocktail bar.

Enjoy the high life in Qatar

Al Messila, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa

Al Messila, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa (Photo: Marriott International)

Designed in the style of an opulent Arabian palace, Al Messila, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Doha, sits on the edge of Qatar’s buzzing capital. Featuring an extensive spa, lush gardens and vast swimming pool, it’s a truly tranquil oasis – though Doha’s Corniche, Museum of Islamic Art and Souq Waqif market are just a few minutes’ drive away.

Meanwhile, The Westin Doha Hotel & Spa is located in the central Bin Mahmoud neighbourhood: a hub for top restaurants, luxury shopping and cultural attractions. Its Bubbalicious Brunch, held every Friday, is one of the city’s hottest tickets – with free-flowing champagne, and an incredible buffet of seafood, premium steak and more.

Relax with time-honoured Greek rituals

Santa Marina, a Luxury Collection Resort, Mykonos

Santa Marina, a Luxury Collection Resort, Mykonos (Photo: Marriott International)

With its wealth of beautiful islands, Greece offers some of the best resort holidays in Europe – such as the secluded villas and bungalows of Blue Palace Elounda, a Luxury Collection Resort, Crete, and the glamorous beach club of Santa Marina, a Luxury Collection Resort, Mykonos. For an all-suite retreat on vibrant Crete, look to Domes of Elounda, Autograph Collection: it offers a mix of family-friendly and adults-only areas, plus everything from pop-up shops to live music at CORE, its open-air agora (social hub).

On the Peloponnese, Costa Navarino is home to multiple-award-winning The Romanos, a Luxury Collection Resort, Costa Navarino – with uninterrupted views of the sparkling Ionian Sea, and exclusive butler-service suites. At Anazoe Spa, its wellness sanctuary, the treatments are inspired by the health and beauty rituals of Ancient Greece. Nearby, The Westin Resort, Costa Navarino, offers a vast Aqua Park and swimming pools, plus access to two premium 18-hole golf courses.

Follow the sun to fun-loving Bodrum, Turkey

Caresse, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Bodrum

Caresse, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Bodrum (Photo: Marriott International)

Bodrum, known as the Turkish Riviera for its sapphire waters and glitzy yacht harbours, basks in beach-worthy weather from May to October: ideal for enjoying the private sands and cabana-fringed infinity pool of Caresse, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Bodrum.

The Bodrum EDITION also occupies a prime seafront location, with four excellent restaurants to explore – including the lively Latino-inspired Brava, with celebrated chef Diego Muñoz at its helm. If a Turkey beach break isn’t your style, both resorts are within easy reach of Bodrum’s museums, shopping and 600-year-old castle, too.

Unleash your inner explorer in Ras Al Khaimah, UAE

The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert

The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert (Photo: Marriott International)

Explore the UAE’s wild side at The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert: a five-star retreat set in a 5km² desert reserve in the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah (RAK). It offers myriad ways to discover the dunes, with camel trekking, horse riding, traditional Bedouin falconry (and much more), plus each dwelling has its own private desert-view swimming pool.

With its turquoise water and sugar-soft sands, RAK’s coastline is also spectacular – yet remarkably crowd-free. For beach holiday perfection, head to The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Hamra Beach, whose luxurious perks include private beach villas, sunset boat cruises and romantic dining right on the sand.

Disclaimer: As always, check for travel restrictions and closures before planning your trip.


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