Hotel Missoni, Kuwait
Italian design house Missoni is known for a bold melding of colours; when designing its hotels (there’s already one in Edinburgh), the team uses the location’s natural palette as inspiration. In the Kuwaiti property, the azure waters of the Arabian Gulf artfully clash with the golds of the sand dunes and the mosaics so dominant in Islamic design.
Rooms: 169 rooms with 63 suites featuring Bang & Olufsen TV and high-speed web access.
Play: Keeping with Missoni’s style, the second-storey pool is tiled in a striped mosaic (although the water is notoriously chilly).
Dining: Cucina is the Italian restaurant, Choco Café (surprisingly) focuses on dessert and the Pool Bar also serves food.
Extras: The hotel is above three-storey mall Symphony Centre, and has a Six Senses spa.
Drawbacks: The hotel is very new (it opened in April), so there could be teething problems.
Rates: Rooms start from Dhs1,467 a night, including breakfast, laundry, minibar and limousine airport transfers.
Le Gray, Lebanon
With Scottish interior design and hotel guru Gordon Campbell Gray behind it, this Beirut location is as modern and slick as a hotel gets – refreshing in a country with a tendency for chintzy design. A testament to its commitment to aesthetics, the hotel contains more than 500 pieces of hand-picked art, including a sculpture by renowned Lebanese artist Nadim Karam. It’s also the perfect starting point for a break in Lebanon as it’s smack in the middle of the central shopping and entertainment district, yet still has a stirring view of the Med and the hills of Mount Lebanon.
Rooms: There are 87 rooms and suites, with the corner suites particularly enviable thanks to terraces on which to take tea.
Play: The open-air, chlorine-free infinity pool has definite wow factor, the gym is tech-savvy and the PureGray spa uses Spanish brand Natura Bissé in its treatments.
Dining: Fresh salads and light meals are served at Gordon’s Café, but we’d make a beeline for Indigo on the Roof thanks to outdoor terrace seating and panoramic views. There’s also a pool bar and a spot called Bar ThreeSixty, which is dripping in purple mood lighting and boasts great views.
Extras: It’s the little things that make a great hotel, and this is evident at Le Gray. Organic beauty brand REN provides the toiletries, sheets are high thread count, rooms feature espresso machines and all bathrooms boast a TV – just some of the small delights.
Drawbacks: The hotel’s internet is renowned for being slow, but hey, it’s free.
Rates: From Dhs1,267 per night, room-only. From August 1-31, book for the same price and get an automatic upgrade to the next available room, as well as a free suhoor or breakfast.
This super slick small hotel looks like a venue straight out of Miami but it’s actually located on the coast in Güllük, 35km outside Bodrum (a city with both ancient heritage and a modern, beachside playground feel). Run by a husband-and-wife team, all of the suites face the bay and the beach is only 25 metres away. The aesthetic is extremely modern, with quirky touches here and there.
Rooms: The hotel boasts 26 rooms across seven floors, all with large balconies.
Play: There’s a private beach with a breathtaking white lounger-equipped pier that sticks out into the Mediterranean. The swimming pool should also keep you occupied.
Dining: The unnamed restaurant (so modern) serves plenty of things, but the fresh catch of the day is the highlight.
Extras: This spot is famous for its service – they’ll pick you up from the airport and continue to treat you like a VIP until you check out.
Drawbacks: If you want to party every night, this isn’t for you. If you want to relax, it really, really is.
Rates: From Dhs733 per room per night on a twin sharing basis.
Riad 72, Morocco
This Italian-run riad sits in the antique buying hotspot of Marrakech and offers panoramic views of the city and the Atlas mountains. Once a palace, the small four-roomed hotel combines Moroccan craftsmanship and tradition with a sense of modern design.
The rooms: There are only three rooms and one suite, and each of them has its own special element. The Amal room comes with its own latticed terrace, while the Zahwa room has private access to the roof terrace.
Play: There’s a small but peaceful courtyard pool and private hammam.
Dining: Guests choose what they eat from a recommended menu and the cook then pops to the market for ingredients, before dishing up the food wherever you’d like it.
Extras: There’s a bookshop and music store on site, where you’ll learn all about Moroccan arts, as well as an in-house yoga expert.
Drawbacks: The hotel is some way out of town so it’s a bit of a walk to reach the hustle and bustle of Marrakech, although this could also prove a plus point.
Rates: Summer rates start from Dhs650 per room per night, including breakfast, tea and transfers.
Adrère Amellal Eco Lodge, Egypt
While this hotel isn’t modern, it’s sleek in the fact that it’s unabashedly rustic and minimalist and looks high design in the process. It’s nestled on a salt lake underneath the white mountains in the unique Siwa Oasis in Egypt, which is 500km from Cairo and features Greek and Roman ruins from the sixth century BC, not to mention a community with its own strong identity. The hotel is truly eco-chic and the rooms have no electricity; they are instead lit by a dozen beeswax candles and the surprisingly starry sky. This idyllic location is almost untouched – a rare gem these days, and one that will be under threat if commercial flights start landing in the oasis.
Rooms: Each of the 40 rooms is built from salt rock and clay in an environmentally friendly way. They are all unique and the furniture either comes from or honours the design of the local community.
Play: The hotel boasts a swimming pool, desert drives, horseback riding and cultural tours into Siwa’s town.
Dining: The mostly organic, locally grown food is served by the pool for lunch, while dinner is enjoyed in a new location each evening – you could even dine on a table under the stars.
Extras: The lack of extras is what makes this place special.
Drawbacks: This is rustic, so if you’re a thread-count checker it may not be for you.
Rates: From Dhs2,222 per room per night for two, including all meals, desert excursions and day trips into the small town.