We booked this property based on its ranking and reviews and regret to say it was a major disappointment from start to finish.
Check-in was slow and there was a sense of confusion among staff on the procedure, other guests checking in got frustrated too as they were not greeted or guided as to who will help them for over 15 minutes.
The resort architecture is nice yet maintenance of it was poor, lots of the fountains/pools were dirty and there is a serious insects problem throughout the resort (surely this can be fixed).
The pools aren't heated except for one (but it was full on our visit) making it impossible to swim in the many pools in the resort.
There are no pool attendants and when we asked the lifeguard to provide us with towels for the sun loungers we were told that we have to use the previous guest towels as these are 'sheets' and not towels and are only changed once a day. How using someone elses towel is part of a 5-star hotels service standards is a mystery to us. We asked for a waiter to order some water and although the cafe is less than 30 seconds away from the pool and was completely empty we gave up after 45 minutes. The staff is simply not interested in serving guests.
The room itself is spacious yet the decor is not that you'd expect of such a resort. It seemed like a color blind person put random furniture pieces together. The bed was comfortable. The bathroom is huge with a tub and seperate shower. The disgrace is that there is no hot running water in the shower so we ended up using the tub shower instead. The window screen was loose so we had to live with pesky insects all night although we had the insect repellent machine on all night, how much will it cost to fix the screen I wonder??
The food was below average and took a long time to get to us, almost one hour for a scoop of icecream. The prices aren't reasonable for what is on offer and the menu layout and selection are poor (you can even spot the spelling mistakes). We got called although we had the do no disturb to collect the food when we were still eating (again, why?).
The resort is huge to navigate and signage/maps/club cart service are poor to say the least. Had to wait more than half an hour for a cart to take us to the spa, eventually gave up and walked there (it was a workout).
Spa staff again are lost without anyone to guide you to the facilities. The hydro pool is too deep for a spa and they only switch it on when you ask. The outside pool was freezing (again why?). Lack of staff (and friendly staff) to show you around, offer you refreshments (we got a mini bottle of water) or even try to sell you a treatment. The spa at the hotel next door is 100 times better.
The mini bar is pathetic, there is only one small pack of local chips, no chocolate, no nuts,....
That said you aren't allowed to bring anything in to the hotel (again another mystery to us).
The breaking point of our visit was the main gate security refusing to let us in as we had my cousin and a friend. Handling this was extremely rude like we did something wrong. Eventually they agreed to let them in only for a few hours otherwise we would be charged for an additional room!! This is appalling as they weren't going to stay the night or use any of the hotel facilities.
We were upgraded on check-in and thought this is great but when we got to the room we saw the view and were disappointed it was overlooking the back of house of the cafe where the staff 'hang out' to 'chit chat' and prepare the shishas. There was partial sea view but nothing to write home about. Absolutely no privacy or relaxation.
Breakfast at Obelisk was messy without anyone showing you to your table, lack of service spoons, lack of anyone offering you coffee/tea and lack of refills. Rushed through breakfast (and the insects) as it wasn't enjoyable.
Overall service levels in hotels in Jordan is way below standards in Dubai and elsewhere in the world but this hotel takes it to a new level. For that money we would have happily enjoyed a super luxurious stay somewhere else. This hotel has nothing to do with Kempinski standards (which we've enjoyed at many properties). Safe to say won't be returning here anytime soon.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Kempinski Hotel Ishtar gives you the opportunity to enjoy its riches where Queen of Sheba and Cleopatra once strived to unravel mystery. Situated gracefully on the shores of the largest spa in the world the Dead Sea, unique for its ozone-rich air, mineral sea water and ultra-violet filtered sunshine. Surely there is no region on earth where nature and history have more wonderfully conspired, where so exciting drama has obtained a so beautiful theatre. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Kempinski Hotel Amman
- Kempinski Hotel Ishtar Dead Sea Jordan