THE BEST OF JORDAN
Begin this thrilling trip with a tour of the ancient town of Jerash (often called the Pompeii of the East because of its Roman ruins), followed by street-food snacks in Amman's downtown markets and dinner at home with a Jordanian family. Then head to Wadi Rum, a desert wilderness punctuated with dramatic sandstone mountains and canyons (get a birds'-eye view from a hot-air-balloon ride at sunrise). After taking tea with a Bedouin tribe, hop on a camel for the next part of the journey to camp for the night and have a traditional zarb barbecue (the meat is cooked underground). The next stop is the caravan city of Petra, which has been carved out of the rock face. Avoid the crowds by taking a three-hour hike along a little-known Bedouin trail that enters the city at the monastery and ends at the Siq (main gate). The final night is spent by the Dead Sea, the lowest spot on earth, where the water is so thick with salt that you can't help but bob and float.
Dinner with a local Jordanian family
Free room upgrade at House Boutique Hotel in Amman
Guided tour of Jerash and Amman
Tea with a local Bedouin family
Complimentary room upgrade at Movenpick Resort & Spa Dead Sea
Cooking lesson at Petra Kitchen
- International return flights
- Private transfers
- Six nights' accommodation
- Breakfast throughout and selected dinners
- Guided excursions and entrance fees
- Cooking lesson at Petra Kitchen
Classic car ride in a Cadillac (or similar) to the Royal Automobile museum (£100pp); hot air balloon flight over Wadi Rum (£200pp); guided cycle ride (£200pp)
ALL TRIPS CAN BE TAILOR-MADE TO ADD IN EXTRA NIGHTS OR EXPERIENCES ALONG THE WAY
Day1Fly to AmmanAmman, Jordan
Fly from London Heathrow on a British Airways flight to Amman. On arrival check into new hotel The House Boutique Suites which is within walking distance from all the main sights, and has an outdoor pool that's perfect for cooling off after a day out exploring.
Day2Roman ruins of JerashJerash, Jordan
This morning a guide will take you to the city of Jerash, where the ruins of the walled Greco-Roman settlement of Gerasa are known as the Pompeii of the East for their unique state of preservation. Highlights include the Nymphaeum, an ornamental fountain dedicated to nymphs. Return to Amman to explore the city with your guide: don't miss the citadel, the Roman theatre or the archaeological museum. Then walk through downtown and the markets to sample typical street food dishes such as shawermah (grilled meats), falafel and kanafeh (an Arabic dessert made with cheese pastry that has been soaked in sweet syrup). Finish with herbal tea at the Balat Al Rasheed café. In the evening, have dinner with a local Jordanian family at their home.
Day3Camel rides and Bedouin campsWadi Rum Desert, Jordan
This morning, you have the option of a classic car ride to the Royal Automobile Museum. Then head south towards the Wadi Rum desert valley: optional detours along the way include Mount Nebo, the ancient town of Madaba, or Shobak castle, perched dramatically on a hill. Stop for tea with a local Bedouin family, then hop on a camel for the final stretch of the journey, reaching your camp in time for sunset. Feast on a traditional Zarb barbecue dinner.
The sands of Wadi Rum are red as Mars: camp out with the Bedouins and you'll swear you can spy other planets under the clearest starry skies.
Grainne McBride, Conde Nast Traveller, Deputy Chief Subeditor
Day4Hot air balloon rides and Jordanian cookingPetra, Jordan
Begin the day with an optional hot air balloon flight that offers a birds' eye view over Wadi Rum. The next stop is Petra, where you will spend two nights at the Movenpick Petra hotel. Located at the entrance to the historic city, it has excellent views over the Great Rift Valley.
Tonight, take part in a cooking class at Petra Kitchen, where you will learn to prepare and eat a typical Jordanian meal featuring dishes such as Baba Ghanoush, Kofta bi Tahini and Galayat Bandura.
Day5Hike into PetraPetra, Jordan
Spend the day with a private guide exploring the extraordinary Unesco World Heritage caravan-city of Petra, which is carved into the rock face and set in a surreal, sandstone landscape. Those with a head for heights can take a three-hour hike along a little-known Bedouin trail which means entering the city from the monastery (to avoid the crowds) and ending at the Siq (main gate).
Day6The Dead SeaDead Sea, Jordan
After breakfast you will be driven to the lowest spot on earth - the Dead Sea. An optional guided cycle ride, near Madaba, offers superb views to the Dead Sea and across to the Western Plateau on the other side (on a clear day it's possible to see the spires of Jerusalem). Check into the Movenpick Resort & Spa Dead Sea, which is set in sub-tropical gardens and has views of the water.
Day7Fly homeAmman, Jordan
Fly home from Amman on a British Airways flight to London Heathrow.
THE HOUSE BOUTIQUE SUITES
Refreshing city centre spot with dreamy outdoor pool
This new business district hotel is within walking distance of the Roman Ampitheatre and the city centre. Rooms have wooden floors, neutral colour schemes and marble bathrooms. There's no restaurant (order room service or there are plenty of options on the doorstep) but there is a hot tub, a terrace and an outdoor pool for a refreshing swim at the end of the day.
WADI RUM CAMP
Experience five-star luxury in the heat of the desert
Set in the largest valley in Jordan surrounded by rust coloured flats and crags, this six-tent camp combines the experience of desert living with modern-day comforts (mattresses, solar powered electricity, hot showers). A chef is on hand to prepare meals over a traditional wood fire and evenings are spent outside under the vast inky sky.
MOVENPICK RESORT PETRA
Breathtaking views at this Middle Eastern hideaway in historic Petra
This is the closest resort to the historic city of Petra. Choose between rooms that overlook the mountains, the outdoor pool or the gateway to Petra; the interiors throughout combine natural materials such as stone and wood with Middle Eastern fabrics and textures. There's a Lawrence of Arabia-themed Al Baraka tea room; the lush Al Ghadeer roof garden with tinkling fountains for sundowners and live music, and the Al Iwan restaurant which is known for its Mediterranean menu.
MOVENPICK RESORT & SPA DEAD SEA
Breezy spa retreat on the Dead Sea shore
In a traditional village setting on the northern shores of the Dead Sea, this hotel is centred around the Zara Spa which has countless hydro-pools, whirlpools and steam rooms for relaxing. There are nine restaurants and bars, offering everything from wood-fired pizza and home-made pasta at Italian Luigi's to spicy Asian noodles at Chopsticks. The newest rooms are the beach suites, which have large terraces and sea views.