Make your dirham stretch much further
Eastern Europe provides the best value for money when it comes to five-star hotel accommodation, according to a recent survey by the hotel booking website Hotels.com. Budapest, Tallinn and Prague feature in its top 10 most affordable luxury hotels, but Warsaw comes first with an average room rate of Dh496 per night in 2011. Marrakech is ranked in second place at Dh531 per night, with Istanbul trailing last at Dh867 per night, on average.
Find a new bolthole in Beyoglu, Istanbul
Rixos has just opened its second hotel in Istanbul, this time in the historic neighbourhood of Pera overlooking the Bosphorus. The Rixos Pera Istanbul has 116 rooms and 21 suites with sea or city views, five restaurants, a spa and fitness centre. Local attractions include the Istanbul Modern Art Museum and the Pera Museum. Double rooms cost from €190 (Dh1,044) per night, including breakfast and taxes. Visit www.rixos.com to book.
Stay the weekend at Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi
The Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi on Saadiyat Island is currently offering an all-inclusive weekend break for UAE residents from Dh1,856 per night for a double room with a sea view and unlimited food and beverages for two people at any of the hotel's restaurants and cafes. The offer excludes room service but includes taxes. Valid on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturday nights until August 31. For more information and bookings, call 02 407 1234.
A new luxury hotel for pilgrims in Mecca
Swissôtel Hotels and Resorts has become the latest hotel group to announce the opening of a new outpost in the holy city of Mecca overlooking the Kaaba and the Grand Mosque. The 1,487-room behemoth, designed in a contemporary Arabian style, is due to open to guests on the first day of Ramadan in July this year. The hotel group, which includes the Raffles and Fairmont brands, also plans to open hotels in Sochi, Russia; Chengdu, China; Bangalore and Mumbai, India; as well as Kiev and Odessa in the Ukraine by 2014. Visit www.swissotel.com.
Enjoy horseriding in Marrakech
The five-star Selman Marrakech has just opened in grand Moorish style near the Atlas Mountains. The palatial hotel has only 56 rooms, designed by Jacques Garcia, better known for his recent redesign of La Mamounia, as well as a stable for 16 purebred Arabian horses set on six hectares of parkland. After a riding lesson, enjoy a treatment at the Chenot spa. Until September 1, a two-night stay costs €359 (Dh1,698) per night for a double room, including breakfast, airport transfers and taxes. Visit www.selman-marrakech.com.