November 2018 – Dubai


AHEAD MEA 2018 is now open for entries

Click here to begin

For guidance, view our checklist

View the 2017 winners here

The AHEAD MEA 2017 ceremony images can be viewed via our Flickr

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The judges for AHEAD MEA are acknowledged industry leaders, who represent a wide spectrum of the disciplines involved in delivering new hotel projects across the region.



The judging process for AHEAD MEA has been developed over the past 20 years to ensure a rigorous, robust and balanced procedure is followed to select the final winners in each category.

Call for Entries
01 Mar 2018
Judging Panel Announced
03 Apr 2018
Entry Deadline
30 Apr 2018
Shortlist Announced
29 Jun 2018
Judging Day
19 Sep 2018
Awards Ceremony
TBC Nov 2018


The criteria for success are based not only on creative excellence, but also on commercial viability.

As well as projects that are aesthetically impressive, the judges will be looking for evidence that winning designs have also met the needs of client and customers alike.

The judges will be looking for submissions showing rigorous and appropriate design, demonstrating a sensible use of budget to contribute to the guest experience as well as the “theatre” of hotel life while satisfying the client brief.

Submitted material should demonstrate clearly why the project is thought to be worth an award in its chosen category and how the design sets the project at an award winning level.

Eligibility / Entry

Hotel projects completed between January 2017 – February 2018 are eligible for entry to AHEAD MEA 2018.

A hotel is defined as a commercial building, or combination of buildings, primarily dedicated to the provision of lodging / accommodation. Please note privately owned accommodations exclusively rented out for lodging via peer-to-peer sites such as Airbnb are not eligible for AHEAD.

AHEAD is unique in its celebration of the key collaborators in hotel projects: the developer / investor; operator; architect and interior designer.

Anyone can enter an award, but we recommend that the designers / architects responsible for the hotel compile the entry.

Hotel owners, operators, developers, investors, PRs and other representatives are encouraged to co-ordinate entries for the hotels they represent with the relevant designers/architects.

Further guidance on specific criteria for individual categories is given here and during the entry process.

Entry costs for AHEAD MEA are 1120 AED for the first submission, then 560 AED for additional entries.


Photography should clearly show the design and / or architecture of the area of the property relevant to the category in which it is entered.

If entering more than one category please submit different photographs that reflect the category you are entering.

Before and after photos, CGIs and renderings, floor plans and / or CAD drawings can be included as supporting material where relevant.

Please do not submit CGIs / renderings in place of actual photography.

Please try and avoid use of advertising or marketing photographs e.g. posed models, elaborate table settings etc.

Please ensure that you have the appropriate copyright clearances for all photography submitted (see terms and conditions)


Sponsors of AHEAD are associating their brands with creativity, innovation and excellence in the hospitality design sector.

We offer a range of sponsorship packages, with tailored solutions offering global reach, regional focus and maximum impact.

Please contact Lorraine Jack for further details:

Sleeper Magazine
JANUS et Cie
RH contract
Parquet by Dian
Hi-design MEA
Radical Innovation
Design Hotels
Dubai Design Week
Music Concierge
The Neighbourhood