Lights, camera, action: Holiday on the Mid-East movie trail
With a myriad of magical landscapes, ancient ruins and glitzy buildings, the Middle East has long been attractive to movie industry professionals. Millennium Hotels and Resorts is lucky enough to offer hotels in some of these Hollywood hotspots, so here's how to combine your stay with a location scout of your own.
View from the Burj Khalifa
George Clooney and Matt Damon caused a stir in the sandpit when they filmed Syriana (2005) in Dubai. This geopolitical thriller set around the influences of the oil industry saw Dubai star as Iran in the movie. Clooney also claimed his first Oscar for his sweat-soaked 'Best Supporting' role.
The city sizzled with excitement again in 2011, when Tom Cruise dangled daringly from the Burj Khalifa during the filming of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. We wouldn't recommend hanging out here in quite such a style, but you can definitely explore the inside of the world's tallest building, do some shopping, catch a movie or even go ice-skating in the nearby Dubai Mall.
Where to stay: Get yourself in the action with a base at the Grand Millennium Dubai, serving up five-star comforts fit for a movie star in a fabulous location between Mall of Emirates and Ibn Battuta shopping mall. Alternatively, stay in Dubai's newest five-star tower Millennium Plaza Hotel Dubai, also on Sheikh Zayed Road.
Weathered sandstone in Petra
Sandwiched between Syria, Saudi Arabia, Israel and Iraq, Jordan hid the real-life lost city of Petra for five centuries before it was rediscovered in 1812, which adds to its mysterious charm. Petra – once the capital of the Nabataean empire between 400 BC and AD 106 – made a sensational backdrop for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) and became Steven Spielberg's Canyon of the Crescent Moon for Harrison Ford and Sean Connery.
Hurt Locker (2006) is the story of a bomb squad sent to Iraq during the war. For realism's sake, director Kathryn Bigelow got her movie troops as close to the border as possible for filming, but ate and slept in Jordan for the most part, where things were safer. The movie went on to win six Academy Awards and Bigelow became the first woman to win an Oscar for Best Director.
The canyon can also be seen in The Mummy Returns (2001), and fans of Michael Bay's Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen (2009) will notice that Petra is actually the real-life Tomb of the Primes. This is some star-studded turf.
Where to stay: The Grand Millennium Hotel Amman has all the luxury you'll need for a last crusade in the heart of Amman, close to a range of restaurants, shops and entertainment options.
Due for release at the end of this year, Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens started filming in April 2014 and cast members were spotted in Abu Dhabi. Passers-by might have been a bit alarmed when a giant spacecraft popped up, before learning it was one of a number of sets throughout the city. Others spotted were a market and a tall tower.
Where to stay: Walk the path of your favourite actors in Abu Dhabi with a base at the chic and stylish Grand Millennium Al Wahda or the gorgeous Millennium Corniche Hotel Abu Dhabi. Here you'll spot any future spaceships landing with spectacular views over the Corniche and the Arabian Gulf.
Interested in reading more stories on the Middle East? Read on. Millennium also has hotels and resorts in Middle East locations such as Kuwait, Qatar, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.