By Dayna Engberg

Desert Adventures

From ancient spiritual sites to towering modern architecture, the Middle East is a treasure trove of breathtaking experiences for any travel style. Read on to discover three of our favorite luxury tours across this storied region.

Dubai City Tour

This VIP tour starts with an exhilarating aerial tour of Dubai by seaplane, soaking up spectacular views of the city's most iconic landmarks juxtaposed against the shimmering Arabian Gulf and the majestic desert sands. Continue on to a tour of Dubai's historical heritage district - Bastakiya - enjoying authentic Arabian coffee, tea and local treats.

Explore the Old City before venturing to the modern metropolis of Dubai, lined with futuristic buildings like the city's most iconic hotel, Burj Al Arab, part of the SELECT Hotels & Resorts, where you'll dine at one of the finest restaurants in the city overlooking stunning views of the coast and city skyline followed by a photo-stop tour of the man-made marvel, Palm Jumeirah. Guests will be driven to key points around the island where they can marvel at its grandeur.

In the evening, head to the world's highest observatory at Burj Khalifa. As the sun sets, watch the entire city sparkle while a live jazz band plays in the background. Then, end the night with a sumptuous feast at one of Armani Hotel's ultra-chic restaurants while enjoying up-close views of the breathtaking Dubai Fountain performance.

Downtown Dubai

Luxurious Desert Safari

No trip to the Middle East is complete without experiencing the quintessential Desert Safari, but this tour takes a luxury angle on the typical experience with transportation by Range Rover through the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve. Traverse picturesque sand dunes, catching glimpses of elusive wildlife such as the Arabian oryx in its natural habitat.

Guests then arrive at their private desert accommodation, being treated to a royal welcome of canapes and sparkling juices and a sunset falcon show. They are the treated to a six-course dinner surrounded by the serene desert atmosphere and live Arabian entertainment.

Dubai skyline

Abu Dhabi

Head to Abu Dhabi to experience an intriguing mix of old and new. For lunch, head to the Ritz-Carlton Grand Canal hotel and dine at one of its acclaimed, celebrity-chef-run restaurants. Make a stop at the Emirates Palace hotel - considered to be among the most luxurious in the world - as well as Qasr Al Watan, the official presidential palace of the nation, which only recently opened its doors to the public.

Another short drive away is the Heritage Village, where visitors can experience the traditional aspects of the desert way of life, watching artisans making pottery, blowing glass and weaving fabric on a loom. Lastly, don't miss a stop at the Louvre Abu Dhabi. As the first outpost for the celebrated French museum, the Louvre Abu Dhabi encompasses over 30,000 square feet of galleries, both permanent and temporary on loan from many notable French museums, including Musee du Louvre, Musee d'Orsay, and Centre Pompidou.