Two hundred years ago this month, explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt rediscovered the sandstone city of Petra, and this year also marks the 50th anniversary of David Lean's Lawrence of Arabia, shot in Wadi Rum. But with a swathe of new hotel openings, Jordan has its eyes set firmly on the future.
Hotel heavyweights have set their sights on Jordan as the next big 'it' destination. The £128m Crowne Plaza Jordan Dead Sea Resort & Spa (ichotelsgroup.com), opening in October, will have a spectacular spa, offering everything from mineral-rich mud treatments to sulphur and saltwater pools.
Meanwhile, Middle Eastern hotel group Rotana (rotana.com) has lined up two openings for the capital Amman. Just open is Boulevard Arjaan, a sleek bolt hole with two rooftop swimming pools. The Amman Rotana, due to open in 2013, will be Jordan's tallest building, rising to 188m. And Fairmont Hotels (fairmont.com) will unveil The Fairmont Amman in 2014.
Travel south to the port city of Aqaba and you'll find Saraya Aqaba (sarayaaqaba.com), a mega development opening later this year and boasting five luxury hotels (including properties by Jumeirah and Starwood), a souk, swish boutiques, restaurants and a water park. A new £1bn Star Trek theme park is on the cards for 2014 too, with royal approval from Trekkie King Abdullah (he's even appeared as an extra in the TV show).
Most spectacular of all is a new cave hotel carved out of rock in Wadi Rum. Designed by American Chad Oppenheim, the
80,000sq ft resort will feature minimalist rooms with views of canyons, water holes and dunes. But you'll have to wait until 2014.
For those interested in the country's rich history, the Jordan Museum (jordanmuseum.jo), designed by Jafar Toukan, shows off Jordan's treasures in a futuristic setting. How apt for a country with such a rich future. visitjordan.com
British Airways flies to Amman. Visit ba.com.BA offers three nights at the four-star Grand Palace in Amman from £649pp, including flights from London*. Contact ba.com/holidays or +44 (0)844 493 0758.
*Based on travel in September. Includes breakfast.