Set in the sunburnt Al-Hajar mountains, on the rim of the Arabian Peninsula’s most outrageously beautiful canyon.. This is Oman’s wild frontier, but this space has souped it up to the max, with chasm-facing pool villas, majlis-style courtyards, a lantern-lit outdoor hookah space, and superslick service fit for a sultan (a little jealous, perhaps, Omani premier Qaboos bin Said is building a palace on the canyon lip opposite). This being the splashy Gulf of Oman, there has to be a superlative or two: The hotel has the highest swimming pools, tennis court, and stargazing platform in the Middle East. But its real essence is pure escapism, whether dangling from a mountain while rappelling or relaxing in the impeccable spa with its energizing hammam rituals and fragrant frankincense oils. It’s a bold, almost transcendental experiment in off-the-map tourism, and at the vanguard of a growing number of Middle Eastern hotels opening in unexpected and wonderfully extreme locations.
At Tongabezi’s private Sindabezi Island, guests have Victoria Falls all to themselves. Situated on the Zambezi river waterfront, this luxury camp, with just five romantic chalets, is all about adventure by day and indulgence by night. Test your heart rate while the sun’s up with white water rafting, helicopter flights and, if you’re really brave, a bungee jump from Victoria Falls. Then come back down to earth with a slow drift down the river on a sunset cruise, followed by a dinner on an old wooden boat. And while waking up to a playful baby rhino is unforgettable, nothing beats the experience of having a personal valet throughout your stay, who will make sure a warm bubble bath has been run for you to perfectly time with your return from exploring.