Arabia Through the Looking Glass
Journey to the Qatar, Oman and United Arab Emirates. Visit Doha’s Education City, the Al Jazeera Headquarters and the Museum of Islamic Art, designed by I.M. Pei. Explore the ancient oasis town of Nizwa and the Oman National Museum in Muscat.Explore Dubai and ride to the top of world’s tallest building, the Burj Al Khalifa. See Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, with a capacity of 40,000 worshippers.
Arrive in Doha and transfer to W Hotel. Enjoy dinner at leisure. W Hotel
After an orientation meeting, explore the Al Fanar Cultural Center followed by a visit to the Museum of Islamic Art, one of the world’s greatest Islamic collections. Enjoy lunch at the museum’s cafe followed by a briefing at Al Jazeera Headquarters. Afternoon visit to the Souk Waqif to learn about the sport of falconing. Welcome dinner at Souk Waqif at the Parisa Restaurant. W Hotel (B,L,D)
Begin the day at the Qatar Foundation whose mission is to reform Qatar’s education. After lunch, visit the recently opened Msheireb Museums which consist of four heritage houses. End the day at the nearby Racing and Equestrian Club for a private tour to see the luxurious quarters of Arabian purebred horses. Enjoy dinner this evening at the hotel’s Spice Market Restaurant. W Hotel (B,L,D)
This morning visit the National Museum of Qatar. After lunch, take an afternoon flight to Muscat. Upon arrival, proceed to Nizwa and begin exploring the rural landscape. Just before Nizwa, stop at Falaj al Daris, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the biggest irrigation channels in Oman. Check into the Golden Tulip Hotel for dinner and overnight. Golden Tulip Hotel (B,L,D)
Early this morning, drive to Nizwa, once the medieval capital of Oman. Visit the weekly market before walking to the souk. Explore the Nizwa Fort, built in the mid-17th century by Sultan Bin Saif. Continue on the Castle of Jabrin followed by the UNESCO site of Bahla. Enjoy lunch in the village of Al Hamra, located at the foot of the Hajar Mountains. Close by is the Al Hoota Cave. End the day admiring the majestic landscapes in the region of Ad Dakhiliyah. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight. Golden Tulip Hotel (B,L,D)
Return to Muscat stopping at the village of Birkat Al Mawz, an example of the falaj traditional irrigation system. Upon arrival in Muscat, visit the Grand Mosque where the focus today will be the Library and Research Center. Meet with the women who run the research center to discuss the Koran. Afternoon check in to Hormuz Grand Hotel for dinner and overnight. Hormuz Grand Hotel (B,L,D)
Return to the Grand Mosque, a superb example of contemporary Islamic architecture. Enjoy lunch at the Bait Al Luban Restaurant. Stop at the Bait Al Baranda Museum where director, Malik Al Hinai, will meet the group. Continue on to the Oman National Museum which opened just last year. Dinner at leisure. Hormuz Grand Hotel (B,L)
After meeting with a guest speaker, drive to the Royal Opera House Muscat which opened in 2011 and was designed by the same architects as the Grand Mosque. Enjoy lunch at Kargeens followed by a briefing at the U.S. Embassy. Dinner at leisure. Hormuz Grand Hotel (B,L)
This morning head west towards Al Ain. Stop at Nakhl, the first of the northern fortresses, then head to the Oasis of Nakhal, a natural hot springs rumored to have medicinal powers. Drive to Sohar, once the capital of the country, for lunch. Cross into the UAE at the Wajajah border crossing. Continue on to Al Ain and check-in at the Mercure Grand Jebel Hafeet Al Ain for dinner and overnight. Mercure Grand Jebel Hafeet Al Ain Hotel (B,L,D)
Today, drive west to Dubai. Stop at the Hili archaeological site, the most ancient settlement in the UAE. Enjoy lunch before arriving in Dubai. Upon arrival, transfer to the Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek where the group is booked in Royal Club Floor rooms. Enjoy dinner at the charming Bastakiya Nights. Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek (B,L,D)
This morning, board traditional abra boats to cross the creek. Visit the XVA Gallery which contains a collection of contemporary local art and is housed in a traditional home. Meet with owner Mona Hauser. We then join staff from the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding and visit the Al Fahidi Mosque. Enjoy a private lunch at the SMCCU and hear from a guest speaker. Dinner at leisure. Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek (B,L)
Morning excursion to Abu Dhabi, capital of the UAE. Explore the Saadiyat Island project, one of the grandest residential and cultural projects in the works in the world today. Visit the Louvre Abu Dhabi. After lunch, travel along the Corniche to the Qasr al Hosn Exhibition. End the day with a visit to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Return to Dubai. Dinner at leisure. Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek (B,L)
Today, drive to the world’s tallest building Burj Al Khalifa. After a brief walk through the Mall of the Emirates, drive to the 7-star Burj Al Arab Hotel and enjoy a wonderful brunch. Travel east to the Emirate of Sharjah and explore the residential area of traders. Many of the former homes have been converted into museums reflecting aspects of Arab and Islamic heritage. Enjoy a special farewell dinner tonight. Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek (B,L,D)
Depart for your international flight home.
Cost and Details
Land Cost: $7,895 per person (based on double occupancy)
Domestic Airfare: $300 (Doha to Muscat)
Based on a minimum of 10 travelers
Single Room Supplement: $2,100
Accommodations and meals as per itinerary; All sightseeing in an air-conditioned coach; Bottled water on the bus; All entrances and events as listed; Educational lecture program; Pre-departure materials and reading list; The services of a professional tour manager to accompany the group; Meals as indicated by B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner; Welcome and Farewell receptions; Gratuities
International airfare to Dubai and back from Doha; Domestic flight from Doha to Muscat (listed separately); Alcoholic beverages except for beer and wine at our welcome and farewell dinners; Excess luggage charges; Trip Insurance; Items of a purely personal nature
Please note that our itinerary involves some time driving from city to city as well as a fair amount of walking around the sites including climbing up and down stairs. Some days have an early-morning start and include a full day’s schedule of activities, lectures and special events. Participants must be in good health and able to keep up with an active group. The temperatures in the region average in the 80s (°F).
Terms and Conditions
The Commonwealth Club (CWC) has contracted with Distant Horizons (DH) to organize this tour.
A $1,000 per person deposit, along with a completed and signed Reservation Form, will reserve a place for participants on this program. The balance of the trip is due 90 days prior to departure and must be paid by check.
Cancellation and Refund Policy
Notification of cancellation must be received in writing. At the time we receive your written cancellation, the following penalties will apply:
91 days or more prior to departure: $500 per person
90-30 days to departure: 50% of fare
29-1 days prior to departure: 100% fare
The tour can also be cancelled due to low enrollment. Neither CWC nor DH accepts liability for cancellation penalties related to domestic or international airline tickets purchased in conjunction with the tour.
Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance
We strongly advise that all travelers purchase trip cancellation and interruption insurance as coverage against a covered unforeseen emergency that may force you to cancel or leave trip while it is in progress. A brochure describing coverage will be sent to you upon receipt of your reservation.
Participation in this program requires that you be in good health. It is essential that persons with any medical problems and related dietary restrictions make them known to us well before departure.
Itinerary Changes & Trip Delay
This itinerary is based on information available at the time of printing (January 2019) and is subject to change. We reserve the right to change a program’s dates, staff, itineraries, or accommodations as conditions warrant. If a trip must be delayed, or the itinerary changed, due to bad weather, road conditions, transportation delays, airline schedules, government intervention, sickness or other contingency for which CWC or DH or its agents cannot make provision, the cost of delays or changes is not included.
Limitations of Liability
CWC and DH its Owners, Agents, and Employees act only as the agent for any transportation carrier, hotel, ground operator, or other suppliers of services connected with this program (“other providers”), and the other providers are solely responsible and liable for providing their respective services. CWC and DH shall not be held liable for (A) any damage to, or loss of, property or injury to, or death of, persons occasioned directly or indirectly by an act or omission of any other provider, including but not limited to any defect in any aircraft, or vehicle operated or provided by such other provider, and (B) any loss or damage due to delay, cancellation, or disruption in any manner caused by the laws, regulations, acts or failures to act, demands, orders, or interpositions of any government or any subdivision or agent thereof, or by acts of God, strikes, fire, flood, war, rebellion, terrorism, insurrection, sickness, quarantine, epidemics, theft, or any other cause(s) beyond their control. The participant waives any claim against CWC/ DH for any such loss, damage, injury, or death. By registering for the trip, the participant certifies that he/she does not have any mental, physical, or other condition or disability that would create a hazard for him/herself or other participants. CWC/DH shall not be liable for any air carrier’s cancellation penalty incurred by the purchase of a nonrefundable ticket to or from the departure city. Baggage and personal effects are at all times the sole responsibility of the traveler. Reasonable changes in the itinerary may be made where deemed advisable for the comfort and well-being of the passengers.
Commonwealth Club of California-CST# 2096889-40