No Shirt, No Shoes...Problem? Sunbathing in the Middle East
A few weeks ago, we did round-ups of our picks for clothing-optional hotel zones in the U.S. Check them out here and here. This week we delve into the Middle East, where wandering around in a bikini (let alone in the buff) might incur a penalty far worse than unsightly tan lines, as these 79 people can attest.
But since more and more travelers are heading to the Middle East--the region welcomed a record 46 million international visitors in 2007, according to the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer--it would help to know where it's safe to disrobe and enjoy that burning sun without worrying about going to prison.
The trick is to show skin only at Western-friendly resorts:
The name of Shangri-La's Barr Al Jissah Resort and Spa in Oman doesn't lie. The three-hotel resort on Al Jissah Bay is truly heavenly. Private beaches and a sprawling infinity pool shelter guests from the eyes of the law (and propriety), so you can wear your skimpiest without being arrested. In addition, the Chi spa has single-sex rhassuls and hammams for optimal (i.e. naked) pore expansion.
Similarly, Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai, that mecca of self-aggrandizing opulence, has several hotels and even a faux Arabian souk in one monster resort. A private beach connects it to the neighboring Burj Al Arab (the one that looks like a sail). Because of their popularity among bling-enamored Russian millionaires, Dubai's resorts are desensitized to displays of skin (unless you strip completely, which is not advised). By the way, if you see a pasty middle-aged British couple, it's probably Mr. and Mrs. Adams, David Beckham's in-laws, who now reside in his Dubai mansion.
Perhaps the most clothing-relaxed place in the Middle East is Israel, where it's not necessary to confine your semi-nakedness to a private beach. Here, you have the option of strutting your stuff on two seas, Red and Dead. Just watch that you don't have any cuts--that sea salt burns!