Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort

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.