Middle East

If there’s one positive to come from the recent tension between the West and the Islamic world, it’s a renewed fascination with the Middle East. While Africa can claim to be the cradle of mankind, the Fertile Crescent incorporating latter day Israel and Palestine, Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Iraq and Iran remains the place where sophisticated societies first evolved.

Why we think you’ll love it

  • An often misunderstood region, the Middle East is endlessly fascinating, culturally unrivalled and home to some of the finest hotels anywhere in the world.
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Where to go in Middle East

Oman

Oman

A wonderful destination combining beautiful beachfront properties and dramatic mountain and desert landscapes to explore.

Oman
Israel

Israel

It's time to visit one of the most vibrant destinations in the Middle East.

Israel
Lebanon

Lebanon

Back with a vengeance, Beirut is the ultimate party town, and there's plenty more to do besides in Lebanon from skiing to cultural sites.

Lebanon
Dubai

Dubai

Shop the souqs and the malls, stay in a luxury hotel and enjoy water sports and a desert safari.

Dubai
Jordan

Jordan

For a small country, Jordan packs an impressive punch in terms of history, culture and scenery, and the proximity of its key sights makes a holiday to Jordan ideal for the time-pressed traveller. Several of the Original Travel team have explored Jordan, and foremost among those sights on a holiday to Jordan are Petra, the fabled ‘rose-red city half as old as time’ and the inspiring desert landscapes of Wadi Rum.

Jordan
Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi

With an almost guaranteed 300 days of sunshine a year, Abu Dhabi is the ideal winter break destination.

Abu Dhabi
Iran

Iran

Yes, seriously. Set aside your misconceptions and consider visiting one of the most fascinating countries on the planet.

Iran

What to do in Middle East

Diving Oman

Diving Oman

Oman has some excellent and – relatively – unspoilt diving along long stretches of its coastline, and there are sure to be new dive sites discovered in the coming years.

Diving Oman
Falconry

Falconry

You can witness displays of falconry if you are staying in one of the two excellent desert hotels, Bab al Shams or Al Maha.

Falconry
Desert Safari

Desert Safari

Explore wadis and the desert in a 4x4 expedition with an expert guide.

Desert Safari
Driving Safari

Driving Safari

After seeing the sites of Amman, explore the King’s Highway with a knowledgeable driver or guide.

Driving Safari
Jerash

Jerash

One of the finest preserved Greco - Roman cities in the Middle East and within easy reach of Amman, it truly is a place to let your imagination run wild and to lose yourself in history.

Jerash
Floating on the Dead Sea

Floating on the Dead Sea

The lowest point on Earth lies at 1,200 feet below sea level, where the Jordan River empties into the Dead Sea.

Floating on the Dead Sea
Wadi Rum

Wadi Rum

Explore the vast, hugely romantic swathes of desert made famous by 'Lawrence of Arabia'.

Wadi Rum
Petra

Petra

Petra was carved from pink sandstone cliffs by the Nabataeans some two millennia ago, and left undisturbed until its rediscovery in 1812.

Petra
Dolphin and Whale spotting

Dolphin and Whale spotting

The waters of the Arabian Gulf are home to a staggering number of dolphins and migrating whales.

Dolphin and Whale spotting
Dhow ride

Dhow ride

Spend an afternoon and overnight on a traditional dhow for the perfect romantic getaway from Muscat’s hotels.

Dhow ride
Paragliding

Paragliding

Only available at the Six Senses Hideaway Zighy Bay, and quite some way to arrive into the hotel.

Paragliding
4x4 Adventure

4x4 Adventure

A tailor-made guided desert safaris is the ideal way to take in the very best scenery that Oman has to offer, and Original Travel can personalise an itinerary to suit your exact requirements.

4x4 Adventure
Empty Quarter 4x4 Adventure

Empty Quarter 4x4 Adventure

A four-wheel drive tour into the breathtaking Empty Quarter, of Wilfred Thesiger fame, where a mobile camp awaits.

Empty Quarter 4x4 Adventure
Beach

Beach

Original Travel has exclusive access to the private camps on the beach near Salalah and the Empty Quarter.

Beach

Where to stay in Middle East

Mamilla Hotel

Mamilla Hotel

Just because a city is ancient in the extreme doesn’t mean the accommodation there needs to be, and the funky Mamilla Hotel in Jerusalem is a contemporary case in point.

Mamilla Hotel
Beresheet Hotel

Beresheet Hotel

The beautiful but stark Negev desert was once somewhere to observe from the window of an air conditioned car on route to Eilat and the Red Sea, but the opening of the Beresheet Hotel in 2011 has changed all that.

Beresheet Hotel
Royal Beach Tel Aviv

Royal Beach Tel Aviv

The brand new Royal Beach Hotel is the first large luxury hotel in Tel Aviv since way back in 1999. It was well worth the wait.

Royal Beach Tel Aviv
The Norman

The Norman

With apologies to Normans everywhere, the funkiest new luxury hotel in Tel Aviv could have come up with a cooler name. Moniker aside, we are extremely excited about the opening this August of The Norman – great location, iconic Bauhaus exterior (created from two 1920s buildings), Israeli contemporary art adorning the walls and immaculate rooms. Oh, and a rooftop pool.

The Norman
Alma Hotel & Lounge

Alma Hotel & Lounge

In the running for best boutique hotel in Tel Aviv, the Alma Hotel & Lounge sits pistachio pretty in the heart of Tel Aviv’s famed Bauhaus White City district.

Alma Hotel & Lounge
Albergo

Albergo

Located in the heart of old Beirut in the district of Achrafieh, the Albergo is one of Beirut’s finest places to stay, and by far the best heritage hotel.

Albergo
Le Gray

Le Gray

Gordon Campbell Gray's hotel in Central District has created a real buzz in Beirut and is a real vote of confidence in the city's rebirth.

Le Gray
Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa

Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa

The resort was designed to resemble a Bedouin encampment, and overlooks open plains and dune belts, with the Hajar Mountains in the distance.

Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa
Bab al Shams

Bab al Shams

The resort is styled as a traditional Arabian fortress, with the rooms located in clusters of two-storey buildings around the atmospheric complex.

Bab al Shams
Jumeirah Beach Club

Jumeirah Beach Club

The luxurious suites, each with its own Jacuzzi and private balcony or garden, are housed in Polynesian-style low rise buildings, set amidst the landscaped gardens.

Jumeirah Beach Club
Madinat Jumeirah

Madinat Jumeirah

Madinat is split into four areas, and even though the resort is large, each one of the hotels leaves the guest with a feeling of relaxation and tranquillity in the most luxurious of surroundings.

Madinat Jumeirah
One and Only Royal Mirage

One and Only Royal Mirage

The Royal Mirage is comprised of three different properties, the Palace is the largest of the three, and the most family-friendly; the Residence is an exclusive boutique hotel and the most luxurious, and the Arabian Court fits neatly between the two.

One and Only Royal Mirage
Banyan Tree Al Wadi

Banyan Tree Al Wadi

We know, we know – the Banyan Tree Al Wadi is not technically in Dubai but actually neighbouring Emirate Ras Al-Khaimah, but it’s a mere 28 miles from Dubai Airport so we’re going with it!

Banyan Tree Al Wadi
Bedouin Camp Wadi Rum

Bedouin Camp Wadi Rum

Arranged around a central fireplace, the camp offers simple but comfortable accommodation, and basic bathroom facilities.

Bedouin Camp Wadi Rum
Kempinski Ishtar Dead Sea

Kempinski Ishtar Dead Sea

All rooms and suites face the Dead Sea and have a spacious outdoor balcony, terrace or veranda.

Kempinski Ishtar Dead Sea
Evason Ma’in Hot Springs and Six Senses Spa

Evason Ma’in Hot Springs and Six Senses Spa

At 860ft below sea level, the Evason Ma’in Hot Springs is surrounded by spectacular mountain landscapes and natural hot springs just a short drive from the Dead Sea, the single lowest place on the planet. The hotel is designed as an elegant retreat, complete with a wide range of pampering treatments, many of which incorporate the benefits of the Ma’in hot springs themselves.

Evason Ma’in Hot Springs and Six Senses Spa
Four Seasons Amman

Four Seasons Amman

The Four Seasons in Amman is arguably Jordan’s most luxurious hotel.

Four Seasons Amman
Movenpick Resort Petra

Movenpick Resort Petra

The hotel has a contemporary exterior and a luxuriant interior based on Arabic and oriental design.

Movenpick Resort Petra
Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort By Anantara

Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort By Anantara

Playing to Abu Dhabi's natural strengths, the Qasr al Sarab is situated deep in the dunes of the fabled Empty Quarter, the largest sand sea in the world.

Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort By Anantara
Al Yamm Villas By Anantara

Al Yamm Villas By Anantara

Located on the eastern shore of Sir Bani Yas Island, a private nature reserve just off Abu Dhabi’s coast, Al Yamm Villas is a boutique hotel from Anantara, and is an excellent option for couples.

Al Yamm Villas By Anantara
Al Sahel Villas By Anantara

Al Sahel Villas By Anantara

Opening in late 2013, the newest addition to the Anantara stronghold of Sir Bani Yas Island is a private paradise in the midst of the wild savannah plains and salt-domed hilltops.

Al Sahel Villas By Anantara
Shangri-la Hotel Qaryat Al Beri

Shangri-la Hotel Qaryat Al Beri

The Shangri-la is blessed with possibly the best view in Abu Dhabi, looking across the water to the imposing Sheikh Zayed Mosque.

Shangri-la Hotel Qaryat Al Beri
Emirates Palace

Emirates Palace

Abu Dhabi wanted to make a big statement when it arrived onto the international tourist destination stage, and what better statement than the Emirates Palace?

Emirates Palace
St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort

St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort

Saadiyat Island is arguably the centrepiece of Abu Dhabi's rulers' vision for the Emirate, and the St Regis is the place to stay on the island.

St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort
Yas Viceroy

Yas Viceroy

If Abu Dhabi's Saadiyat Island is the 'cultural island', home to museums and exhibition centres, then Yas Island is the noisy neighbour next door with attitude and (if we're honest) a bit more pazazz.

Yas Viceroy
Park Hyatt

Park Hyatt

Located on a five mile long stretch of beach on Saadiyat Island, the Park Hyatt is in a fantastic position and pretty much has it all.

Park Hyatt
Desert Islands Resort & Spa By Anantara

Desert Islands Resort & Spa By Anantara

Sir Bani Yas Island off the coast of Abu Dhabi is home to one of the more Original hotels around. Once a private game reserve island owned by the late founder of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan, the animals have remained, and the former Sheikh's lodge has been turned into an immaculate hotel.

Desert Islands Resort & Spa By Anantara
The Chedi

The Chedi

The award-winning Chedi is one of the top hotels in the Gulf region.

The Chedi
Al Bustan Palace

Al Bustan Palace

Fully renovated in 2008, the hotel has the most comprehensive facilities in the region, including a 1km curve of sandy beach and acres of tropical gardens dotted with palm trees.

Al Bustan Palace
Shangri-La Barr al Jissah

Shangri-La Barr al Jissah

Situated on a dramatic stretch of coastline just outside Muscat, the hotels are set amid 124 acres overlooking a private bay, with rugged mountains to the rear.

Shangri-La Barr al Jissah

Details for Middle East

A little more info

That the three great monotheistic world religions also sprung from the region only adds to a heady sense of cultural significance.

And what a lot's on offer. Aside from some of the most glorious Islamic architecture to be found anywhere, there are well-preserved Roman sites stretching the length of the Mediterranean Coast, shopaholic sating souqs, excellent luxury hotels and romantic riads, and yes, some lovely beaches as well. We've visited them all and believe strongly in the power of comparison that allows us - which city has the best souqs, Marrakech or Istanbul? Tough one, but Marrakech wins, and we can tell you about our favourite shops in the depths of those souqs. Which ancient city is more of a must-see? Petra in Jordan or Leptis Magna in Libya? If you had to choose, it has to be Petra, but both should feature on any wishlist of future travels.

Quite frankly no-one knows the Middle East and North Africa like we do, and we look forward to talking you through the best this wonderful region has to offer.

Our enthusiastic experts are seasoned travellers with the inside track on the most memorable adventures.

Call us on +44 (0)20 7978 7333

Or enquire online

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