Destinations

Top 5 mid-haul beach holidays

Suggest clients soak up some shoulder-season sun with Sasha Wood’s pick of the best beach spots in the Middle East

1. Aqaba, Jordan

The little town of Aqaba on Jordan’s Red Sea coast is an Arabian beach haven that’s easily accessible from November to March via direct easyJet flights – and it takes just five hours from the UK. At the edge of the Red Sea Rift Valley, Aqaba sits between craggy mountains and sparkling ocean with stunning subtropical reefs just offshore. The plush Al Manara, a Luxury Collection Hotel (pictured), is a great base with a private cove, infinity pool and ocean-view rooms.

Book it: A week’s stay at Al Manara, a Luxury Collection Hotel, costs from £1,077.
travelagents.marriott.com

2. Muscat, Oman

The Middle East’s best-kept secret for sunshine, natural beauty and ease of travel, Muscat is a must for a mid-haul beach break. Set amid soft-sandy bays and deeply indented cliffs, Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah resort is one of the best spots. Close to Oman’s capital, it comprises three sister hotels including adult-only Al Husn (pictured), which boasts its own peach‑sand cove and resembles an Arabian palace. A hidden beach sometimes hosts nesting sea turtles.

Book it: Azure Collection has seven nights at Shangri-La Al Husn from £2,195 including flights, transfers and breakfast.
azurecollection.com

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3. Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt

A subtropical enclave on the edge of Egypt’s Sinai desert, Sharm el-Sheikh is just a five-hour flight from the UK and sits on a series of golden bays. It offers diving and snorkelling galore plus palm‑fronted restaurants, rooftop eateries and smart cafes skirting the shore. A classic winter‑sun oasis, hotels here are affordable and desert excursions via quad bike and camel are popular with visitors.

Book it: Red Sea Holidays offers seven nights’ all-inclusive at Ghazala Gardens Hotel from £1,247 including flights.
redseaholidays.co.uk

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4. Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi

The silken sands of Saadiyat Island on the shores of Abu Dhabi are the setting for a swish St Regis hotel offering the ultimate in luxury Middle Eastern escapes. The five-star resort (pictured) nestles within the greens of Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, a stone’s throw from the emirate’s cultural highlights including the Louvre Abu Dhabi. Designed to resemble an old Arabian merchant’s mansion, the resort has six restaurants including the Ibiza‑style Buddha-Bar Beach.

Book it: Elegant Resorts offers seven nights at St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort from £1,519 including flights with Etihad and transfers.
elegantresorts.co.uk

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5. Manama, Bahrain

The island nation of Bahrain is an underrated beach destination, with friendly cosmopolitan capital Manama playing host to a medley of luxury seaside resorts. Among the best is the Ritz-Carlton Bahrain with its own slice of soft sand dotted with cabanas, large rooms and excellent restaurants. Beyond the hotel, guests can visit the ‘vanishing island’, Manama’s old quarter Muharraq and the trendy Lot 338 district.

Book it: A week’s stay at the Ritz-Carlton Bahrain starts at £1,052.
travelagents.marriott.com

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PICTURES: Marriott; Shutterstock/Birdiewithvalise


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