Walled city of Shibam, Yemen. Despite being built with sun-dried mud bricks, the fortified city from the the 16th-century is in fact based on the principle of vertical construction, with almost no fenestration on the ground level, rising up to the height of eight storey. Its plan is trapezoidal, with tower houses built within the outer walls for defense from rival families and political prestige.
Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara, Salalah, Oman. Salalah is a surprisingly tropical place, and the Al Baleed sits on a perfectly idyllic strip of palm-dotted sand, between the sea and a freshwater lagoon. The hotel itself is meant to recall an ancient fortress, but it’s a rather welcoming fortress, and its rooms combine locale-specific crafts and decoration with a generous helping of contemporary luxury. The result is impressive indeed but somehow never quite ostentatious.