Middle East expert Amalia Lazarov makes her fourth appearance on our A-List this year, consistently landing among our top travel advisors since 2015. Raised overseas, this longtime traveler has the expertise, connections, and cultural knowledge to provide the best service to her clients, with trips to Lebanon, Israel, and her main area of expertise, the United Arab Emirates. Lazarov travels the Middle East, Asia, and North Africa multiple times a year to scout insider experiences and new culinary options.
In addition to curating luxury tours — introducing clients to the region’s premier resorts, like Dubai’s new Jumeirah Al Naseem — Lazarov specializes in designing itineraries for business travelers who want to make the most of their time in the Middle East’s financial centers. If you have professional obligations in Dubai or Doha, she can help you extend your trip to take in more of the peninsula and beyond — or even squeeze in cultural experiences between meetings, like a day trip to the Rub’ al-Khali desert or a market walk of Doha’s Souq Waqif.
"My husband was invited to attend a meeting in Dubai for several days in March, so we decided to make a longer trip and go somewhere else after being in the U.A.E. I used Travel + Leisure to find Amalia and contacted her last November to begin planning. We spoke with her about various places we could go — Cairo, Istanbul, and Jordan came up — but we decided on Oman. In January, we started planning the details. We had never been to the Middle East, so we really depended on Amalia for everything. She arranged all our flights and a day trip from Dubai to Abu Dhabi with a wonderful guide. We were able to see the Grand Mosque there, the new Louvre, and more. It was a great day. In Oman, Amalia suggested we stay in the mountains at the Alila Jabal Akhdar resort. We had a good stay there (enjoyed some hiking) and then spent our final three nights at the gorgeous Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa, just outside Muscat. For our time in Oman, Amalia had arranged with an Omani tour company to have drivers give us tours of Nizwa, a comprehensive tour of Muscat, and a day exploring the sand dunes. We felt like we got a really good taste of Oman in our five days there. Both resorts were amazing. I admit we were a little nervous about making this trip, as we didn’t know much about the culture, and certainly not the language. It was an absolutely terrific and mind-expanding trip. The people we met were so helpful and wanted to show us how much they love their countries. And the food was the best. I ate hummus for breakfast every morning — yum! We would definitely recommend Amalia to anyone planning a trip to the Arabian Peninsula, and elsewhere." - Sue Ellen and Nick Barbaro