Zannier Hotels Sonop is on the AHEAD MEA awards 2020 shortlist

Shortlist revealed for AHEAD MEA 2020 hospitality awards

Dezeen promotion: a cluster of luxurious tents in the Namibian desert and a hotel set amongst verdant gardens in Marrakech are some of the projects shortlisted in the Middle East and Africa heats of this year's AHEAD awards.

The AHEAD MEA awards give praise to outstanding hospitality projects that have launched, opened or reopened across the Middle East and Africa between January 2019 and February of this year.

Zannier Hotels Sonop is on the AHEAD MEA awards 2020 shortlist
Zannier Hotels Sonop, a group of guest tents in Namibia, is on the shortlist

Entries were initially organised into 15 categories, which acknowledge everything from a project's guest suites to its landscaping and outdoor spaces.

A shortlist was then composed by a judging panel of leading experts from the hotel industry. This year it includes figures such as Leila Abdul Rahim, design director of Hilton Worldwide, and Pallavi Dean, founder of studio Roar.

Opus hotel is on the AHEAD MEA awards 2020 shortlist
Another project on the AHEAD MEA awards shortlist this year is Dubai's Opus hotel

Among the projects on the shortlist is Zannier Hotels Sonop, a group of 10 tents that perch over huge granite boulders in the Namibian desert.

Decadently designed to evoke old-world safari charm, inside the tents have been decorated with vintage maps, binoculars and telescopes.

The Oberoi Marrakech is on the AHEAD MEA awards 2020 shortlist
Also on the shortlist is The Oberoi Marrakech, which is surrounded by lush gardens

Other projects on the shortlist include the Opus hotel in Dubai designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, which is set inside a cuboid glass building that's punctuated by an irregularly shaped void.

Also on the shortlist is The Farmstead at Royal Malewane, an intimate lodge that looks out over the tree canopies of a national park in South Africa, and The Oberoi Marrakech, which is nestled amongst 28 acres of Mediterranean gardens and citrus trees.

The Farmstead at Royal Malewane is on the AHEAD MEA awards 2020 shortlist
Additionally on the AHEAD MEA 2020 shortlist is The Farmstead at Royal Malewane

This year – due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic – the final stages of judging will take place over a series of video calls between 30 September to 1 October, where those on the panel will review projects one last time before deciding on their favourites from each category.

Winners will then be announced on 9 November at the awards' inaugural "hybrid" event, which will involve a digital screening for overseas audience members and a localised on-the-ground ceremony for people part of the AHEAD MEA community.

See the full shortlist below:


Bar, Club or Lounge

Archer Bar & Eatery at Marriott Hotel Melrose Arch, Johannesburg, South Africa
Twenty Three Rooftop Bar at Grand Plaza Mövenpick Media City, Dubai, UAE
Siddharta Lounge by Buddha Bar at W Muscat, Oman
St. Trop at Waldorf Astoria Dubai International Financial Centre, UAE

Guestrooms

Four Seasons Hotel Doha, Qatar
Lekkerwater Beach Lodge, De Hoop Nature Reserve, South Africa
The Farmstead at Royal Malewane, Hoedspruit, South Africa
The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi, UAE

Hotel Newbuild

Marriott Hotel Melrose Arch, Johannesburg, South Africa
ME Dubai at Opus, UAE
The Museum Hotel Antakya, Turkey
The Social House Nairobi, Kenya

Landscaping & Outdoor Spaces

Anantara Sahara Tozeur Resort & Villas, Tunisia
Le Palais Ronsard, Marrakech, Morocco
The Farmstead at Royal Malewane, Hoedspruit, South Africa
The Oberoi Marrakech, Morocco

Lobby & Public Spaces

Le Palais Ronsard, Marrakech, Morocco
Marriott Hotel Melrose Arch, Johannesburg, South Africa
ME Dubai at Opus, UAE
Vida Hotel Emirates Hills, Dubai, UAE

Lodges, Cabins & Tented Camps

Abelana River Lodge, Phalaborwa, South Africa
andBeyond Ngala Treehouse, Timbavati Private Game Reserve, South Africa
Habitas Namibia
King's Pool, Linyanti Wildlife Reserve, Botswana
Lepogo Lodges' Noka Camp, South Africa
Puku Ridge, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
Zannier Hotels Sonop, Namibia

Renovation, Restoration & Conversion

andBeyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge, Namibrand Nature Reserve, Namibia
Four Seasons Hotel Doha, Qatar
Le Palais Ronsard, Marrakech, Morocco
Long Lee Manor, Shamwari Private Game Reserve, South Africa

Resort

Al Wathba, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Anantara Sahara Tozeur Resort & Villas, Tunisia
The Oberoi Marrakech, Morocco
W Muscat, Oman

Restaurant

Bull & Bear at Waldorf Astoria Dubai International Financial Centre, UAE
Keystone at Marriott Hotel Melrose Arch, Johannesburg, South Africa
Mina's Kitchen at The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi, UAE
Nammos Restaurant at Four Seasons Resort Dubai, UAE

Restaurant

Bull & Bear at Waldorf Astoria Dubai International Financial Centre, UAE
Keystone at Marriott Hotel Melrose Arch, Johannesburg, South Africa
Mina's Kitchen at The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi, UAE
Nammos Restaurant at Four Seasons Resort Dubai, UAE

Suite

Anantara Sahara Tozeur Resort & Villas, Tunisia
Four Seasons Hotel Doha, Qatar
Le Palais Ronsard, Marrakech, Morocco
Marriott Hotel Melrose Arch, Johannesburg, South Africa