Upon our arrival in Jordan, we were booked into the The Larsa Hotel for 2 nights we forgot to extend our stay and were given the option to book with their sister hotel The Al Waleed hotel. Thankfully so as the Larsa hotel was situated just outside 8th circle and located no where close to any amenities. The Al Waleed is located in a central area of Amman near the 6th and 7th circles. The area around the hotel is somewhat mixed with the exception of Wakalat Street shopping area. This is a boulevard with high end stores and shops. There are a number of restaurants in this area. Just up the street is the Al Baraka Mall of a few. A typical modern mall with stores and food court etc. FYI the 6th / 7th circle is no where close to downtown 3rd, 2nd, 1st circles (which is roughly about 15-20mins drive), where you can visit the popular night area, Rainbow street (1st circle), or in the daytime the Roman ruins, Citadel etc. Taxi's are a popular form of transport and very safe, with meter running costs and will cost you about 1-2JD from the 6th circle into downtown (1st circle). Make sure your hotel gives you their business card with their hotel address written in arabic as well, or any places you need to visit day or night make sure the hotel writes this in arabic. Many drivers speak very little or no english and don't read english at all. There are many lovely restaurants downtown for good international meals if you get fed up with local cuisine depending on the duration of your stay, consisting of falafel, humus and the ever popular shwarma (which is the cheapest roughly 2JD, tastiest food the young & old eat depending on where you buy it. But most streets in and around the area sell shwarma).
If your booking a tour for the beautiful Petra (Pink Palace), Wadi Rum, Aqaba, Dead Sea, Jerash, or Um Qais (north of Jordan). I suggest you consider doing Petra, Wadi & Aqaba as a sleep over. The trip is roughly 5hrs to Petra by tour bus + 2-3 hrs to Wadi and Aqaba (which is far cheaper than hiring a private taxi). Make certain to contact a local tour company, as there is a big difference in price when we made some enquiries with an "international" tour operator. Check and make sure that your bus tour guide speaks english, we only found out during our trip that our guide does not speak english and only spoke arabic, and we ended up loosing out on (which was included in the tour price) a tour guide in Petra on arrival, a horse an carriage ride upto the main entrance of Petra "The Rose City". You cannot appreciate the beauty of Petra in under 3 hours and for the entrance price of JD50~ (very expensive for non locals) Petra requires at least 2~3 days to appreciate the vastness and most stunning landscape including monasteries I have ever seen. The Dead sea is a must off-course and is about an hour or less out of Amman city. Make sure to have your body covered in the mud. Next visit was Jerash, just over an hour drive from Amman city heading north. If your keen photographer best time to visit early morning sunrise or early sunset to capture the ruins in all their glory. We did not manage to visit another beautiful city Umm Qais (with many roman ruins) further north of Jordan, close to Syria border. Just north of Umm Qais is the Galilee Sea. Well worth making a part of your tour.
Most of the hotels, B&B's backpackers lodges in and around Jordan you will hear the call of prayer, no point in complaining this is part of the arabic culture, you either love it or hate it.. I personally loved hearing the call of prayer at a specific time and found it very soulful. With regard to the rooms, the room we stayed in was clean, large with 2 single beds, satellite TV, shower (although after every shower, the floor was always wet, so take care when stepping out the shower, if you don't put a towel on the floor). The room also had a refrigerator\bar. Some wear and tear here and there but nothing hugely obvious. The rooms are air-conditioned however most days did not use the aircon as the room was surprisingly warm this time of year November which is the start to winter. I requested a smoking room and was pleasantly surprised to find that the room did not have the usual dull smell of old smoke. As it is not a very modern hotel in terms of bells and whistles, rooms have actual keys and not swipe cards. Of note, there was no coffee/tea facility in the room which was rather annoying as you had to call room service each time and you lucky if they actually answer the phone an understand you, otherwise call reception. A downside to the hotel was that we have some friends in Jordan and as is customary in my country for friends to visit one's room when invited this was not allowed at the hotel considering the duration of our stay was longer than 5 days.
The staff at the lobby were courteous and helpful in finding places to eat, making phone calls for cabs with general politeness. Laundry is expensive be warned. The rooms have free wifi if you are traveling with your laptop. The lobby has free internet if no laptop although note that the hotel does not offer printing. Wakalat street has an internet cafe where u can easily have docs printed for +- 1JD. After our stay at the sister hotel Larsa, we had a few items no more than 6 medium pieces to have cleaned. Was surprised & shocked at the bill almost JD30~ so watch this if your stay is longer than 4 days.
We wanted to smoke some sheesha once we had settled in relaxing in the lobby and were first advised that it is not allowed in the hotel... however minutes later were asked if we were still interested in smoking and promptly had sheesha delivered to us in the main lobby this was about +- 5JD~
Overall, considering Jordan is a poor country but very rich in history, the JD is much much stronger than the US$, & equivalent to the Euro. So bear this in mind when planning a trip to this country as food and drinks are very expensive on a night out! This all said, I will certainly visit again and stay at Al Waleed where we met many lovely guests during our extended time here.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A modern blend of Arabian hospitality and top quality services, located at the heart of the Jordanian capital Amman, at Sweifeyyeh Area. The hotel is at the center of one of the major shopping areas in addition to being in close proximity to other areas in Amman. RUM Hotels - Al Waleed offers a comprehensive experience with guest enjoying the comfortable facilities, international cuisine, stylish outlets, and professional staff at the guest's service round the clock. ... more less
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