At a Glance: Jordan
QUAFF IN CAVE BAR
Crowne Plaza Resort’s Cave Bar is a 2,000-year-old Nabataean tomb that has been converted into a nifty place to chill after a long day exploring Petra. You can grab a hearty sandwich or hit the barbeque where you cook your own food on a hot plate at your table, which is actually part of a tomb. Enjoy with an excellent Jordanian red and Bedouin performances!
INFO: Crowne Plaza Resort, www.ichotelsgroup.com.
GO GLAM AT KEMPINSKI HOTEL, ISHTAR
Overlooking the northern shores of the Dead Sea and offering rooms set amongst palm trees and olive groves, the Kempinski Hotel, Ishtar offers luxury with a capital L. But our favourite part is that you could sleep in the same bed as Brangenlina – they stayed here on their first trip to the region! There’s a private beach and nine freshwater pools, and the infinity pool is a great place to chillax with a glass of bubbles while admiring the view. The hotel also boasts an Anantara Spa, the largest in the Middle East, with a long line of celebrity clientele including Renée Zellweger and Nicole Kidman. The spa offers a wide range of treatments, including Thai massages, body scrubs and cellulite treatments. Our favourite was the Dry Flotation in the Dead Sea pool, which allows you to experience the sensation of effortless weightlessness – a great way to eliminate stress! No trip to the spa would be complete without a dip in the hydro pool, with its blow-your-socks-off jets. For the more energetic, the spa also offers state-of-the-art fitness centre where we couldn’t resist trying out celeb fave, the power plate. The Kempinski offers gorgeous rooms and suites with balconies carved in natural stone, but it’s the Ishtar Royal villas that are the epitome of luxury. And when you get peckish, sit down to a candlelit meal at the Ashur Italian restaurant or watch the sun set over the Dead Sea at The Obelisk restaurant. If sundowners are a fave, then a late afternoon cocktail at the Kish bar is a must-do!
INFO: From JOD145 (Dhs751)per night; +962 5 356 8888, www.kempinski.com.
World Heritage Site Petra is without a doubt Jordan’s greatest tourist attraction. It got top billing in the closing scenes of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, when Harrison Ford rode on horseback through the sandstone cliffs to discover the lost temple. In real-life it’s Petra’s Treasury, the city’s most elaborate ruin.
INFO: A one-day ticket will cost you JOD50 (Dhs260), www.petranationaltrust.org.
DEFY GRAVITY IN THE DEAD SEA
At 400m below sea level, the Dead Sea is the lowest point on the face of the Earth – how cool is that! Visitors can float effortlessly on the water due to its concentration of minerals, the highest in the world. We recommend covering yourself from top to toe in healing mud and jumping in the salt-saturated water, which is very entertaining, to say the least. This is exactly what George Clooney’s GF Stacy Keibler did on her hols in the region!
GET SWISH IN THE SWEIFIEH FASHION DISTRICT
Home to the Jordanian fashion industry and Al Baraka Mall, this is the place for any self-confessed fashionista. It houses many of Jordan’s designer boutiques, so if you know your Louboutins from your Manolos this is the place to shop until you drop.
GET BLINGED-OUT IN THE GOLD SOUK
Take a trip downtown to the Gold Souk’s fifty jewellery stores, famous for their dazzling array of handmade gold and silver work. It’s a place to soak up some Jordanian culture while honing your bargaining skills. Do not expect to knock off more than one third of the original price!
INFO: King Talal Street, Amman.
BEFORE YOU GO, YOU SHOULD KNOW…
Currency: 1 Jordanian Dinar (JOD) = Dhs5.2
Getting There: A flight to Jordan takes around three hours and costs approximately Dhs800. There are between 5 to 7 flights per day from Dubai operated by Royal Jordanian, Emirates and Fly Dubai.