Many people around the world believe in the restorative properties of natural elements – going to hot springs, retreats to fresh mountain air, and yes, even seeking the benefits of the Dead Sea mud and salt treatments – and I have always been somewhat skeptical. But the feeling of your skin and the calm in your soul after floating in the Dead Sea, then a “mud treatment”, followed by another soak in the sea, and then a rough but restorative salt scrub is unlike anything I have ever experienced before. For this, alone, I would return to the Dead Sea. Add to this the kind people, and the wonderfully simple foods, and Jordan truly is a not-to-be-missed experience.
The Jordanian side of the Dead Sea is purported to have the better resorts than Israel and, in my research, most seemed to be 5 star and very affordable. The major chains are represented, along with a few local brands that I wasn’t familiar with but at least from the outside, they looked nice but at the end of the day, they all have the same view. I chose the Crowne Plaza Dead Sea (https://www.ihg.com/crowneplaza/hotels/gb/en/swemieh/nscjo/hoteldetail?cm_mmc=GoogleMaps-_-CP-_-JO-_-NSCJO) and after arrival, it really was a lovely resort. The rooms were clean and all appeared to come with some sort of balcony: whether or not you could see the Dead Sea, of course, depends solely on what you pay for. Half Board and Full Board plans are available but I opted for the Bed and Breakfast plan as I don’t typically eat both breakfast and lunch: in retrospect, I probably should have done a half board plan since there really is nowhere else to eat other than at the chosen resort (unless you have a car of course).
Note to reader: many Jordanians will often tell you to “relax sir”, with a calm, no urgency approach to things and this wasn’t more true than when trying to communicate with the resort via email. But if you plan early, and patiently wait for their reply, they will get back to you.
Because the only options for food are pretty much what the resort has to offer, you will be limited but that’s not to say that the service isn’t outstanding and the food pretty good. (If you do opt for the half-board plan, dinner appeared to be a buffet in the same place where breakfast is served.)
Bourj Al Hamman was probably my favourite: Lebanese in style with a large variety of options for this vegetarian, it was well appointed and the service on par. There is an opportunity to sit on the top floor with views out to the Dead Sea, but the combination of high heat and gusty winds, we chose to eat in the comfort of air con, but still with views out to the Dead Sea.
The other option we tried was the Rabble Lounge, which is an interesting combination of hotel bar with dining off to the side, along with a separate outdoor, covered area. Rabble Lounge was more European in style and the pizza absolutely divine (even if not intended to be a “starter”).
If you have a car, there are some day trips that might be worthwhile. Unfortunately, without a car, and as the Crowne Plaza doesn’t offer any excursions for guests, your time will be spent relaxing at the resort. There is an adults-only pool that becomes more of a night club mentality in terms of music levels and drinking, as well as a rather large central pool that also has an adults only part (not strictly enforced).
Note to my readers: Jordan has few direct flights and is therefore reliant on connecting flights to other parts of the world. As such, many flights in and out of Jordan happen rather late at night. My flight from the States connected through the UK which meant that I landed in Amman at around 00.30 and didn’t get to the hotel until about 3am. Because of this, it is recommended that you reserve a room the day before you arrive so that you are guaranteed a room when you ultimately arrive at the resort: there is very little space to wait around for your room otherwise.
And one more thing: the Jordan Pass is essential as it really does save you money especially if you will head to Petra or any other locations.