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“A real "Wow!" hotel”

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Kempinski Hotel Aqaba Red Sea
Ranked #2 of 41 Hotels in Aqaba
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed December 2, 2009

This is an absolutely "wow" hotel. It is extremely anonymous from the main street (no visible name, just a high curved structure with long narrow windows giving light to the corridors), but you gasp as soon as you enter the huge lobby with its windows overlooking the pools and the sea.

We arrived only 5 days after the official opening of this hotel and everything was immaculate. Our room was fairly simply furnished, but superb. The bathroom was fabulous (I really wanted to take it home with me - I don't think the attached photos can do it justice). There was a good-sized flatscreen TV on the wall, a complimentary minibar (OK, nothing fancy, but it was great to have a renewable source of Coke, DietCoke, lemonade, soda water, still water and beer) and the best, fastest kettle I have ever come across in a hotel.

All rooms have views of the pools and the sea, with an excellent view of the sun setting over Egypt. The balcony has a sliding louvred screen, so you can even control sun and shade on the balcony.

Possibly the most impressive thing about the hotel was the standard of service. Everyone really went the extra mile: on the beach, staff came round with complimentary bottles of cold water, sliced melon and cold, delicious-smelling flannels. When we left to drive back to Amman, our rental car was delivered for us complete with more cold bottled water and even a tissue box!

We were so impressed overall, it seems churlish to make any even slightly adverse comments. However:

There is a glass screen between the bathroom and bedroom. There is a pull-down screen, but this could best be describe as "translucent" when the lights are on, so some people might not like the lack of privacy.

We were perhaps unlucky that a large group of Europeans, let us call them "***ians" stayed for a couple of days during our visit. They took a morning boat-trip around the Gulf of Aqaba and returned extremely drunk at about 3pm. They then took over one of the beachside restaurants, carried on drinking and sang loudly, to the annoyance of all on the beach. They also held a private party on the beach in the evening, complete with very loud music and fireworks, which were of course amplified by the waterside setting. We and several other guests complained about the noise. In the hotel's defence, I would say that they were extremely apologetic, offered to upgrade us to a suite (we couldn't be bothered to move, as these were no quieter) and insisted on giving us a free meal in their excellent fish restaurant.

If your main aim in visiting Aqaba is to snorkel and dive you might like to think about the new resorts further down the coast toward the Saudi Arabian border. We went to the Royal Diving Club at Coral Bay Resort, which was fine but hardly the Kempinski! The snorkelling was excellent however. It took about 15 minutes to drive each way. Aqaba is not a particularly exciting place, so there is no huge advantage to being in the town. However, I would still prefer to stay at the Kempinski and drive to the diving sites!

If you prefer a "cosy" hotel, then the Kempinski might not be your style. It was very different from the other places we stayed in Jordan. The other hotels had lobbies with cosy seating areas with deep sofas, intricate Arabian lamps or chandeliers and possibly a piano playing in the corner. These were very attractive settings for a cocktail or a post-prandial drink or coffee, while the Kempinski's lobby was grand but less inviting.

In general, the Kempinski feels less Jordanian than most hotels. It has a very international staff, with Russian/French/German etc speakers/nationals and many staff from the Philippines. The staff were universally excellent. Some reviewers of Jordanian hotels have clearly felt uncomfortable that some Jordanian hotel staff will only address the male in a couple and that women are ignored. This was not something which bothered me, but you will definitely NOT experience anything of the kind at this hotel.

My recommendation is to stay here before they increase the prices!

  • Stayed: November 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank CarJonLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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921 - 927 of 1,341 reviews

Reviewed December 1, 2009

We travelled with VJV for 4 nights in Aqaba and then 3 nights at the Dead Sea. We upgraded to Kempinskis with half board at both locations. We couldn't wait to get out of the one at Aqaba. The hotel is ultra modern, and at first glance certainly has a Wow factor. The problem is that it is style over content to a certain degree. The bedrooms look lovely, until you try to use them. There is a glass wall between the bedroom and en suite, and the blind does little to allow privacy.

We had the misfortune to arrive the day before a party of 100 French travellers. We were told on the night of their arrival that the dining terrace was booked for a private function, and we were not allowed out there. The dining room itself has the charm and ambience of a canteen. The new arrivals all arrived to eat at the same time. The canteen buffet is far too small to handle that number of people. There were insufficient staff, and insufficient food. The food was lukewarm because the the heated servers were switched off, and were being used incorrectly. We had pushed aside the main course and our wine still had not arrived.

Long story short, we complained, and were offered diner the next night at the small a la carte restaurant. It was beautiful, but rather expensive and we decided to eat there for our final night, and pay the difference. We had been told that the same rules would apply at the canteen. We double checked at reception, and were told that we could not eat at the restaurant and pay the difference. (We had paid £30 each per night for half board). We had never come across this before. We were actually told that the food in the canteen was FREE! As it happened, we were lucky. A barbeque had been arranged for the French down in the grounds - almost outside the restaurant. The French were obviously paying more money than we were. The staff started preparation around 3.30pm, including the sound system which registered 104 decibels in our 5th floor room. The entertainment continued until 12 pm, so a visit to the restaurant would have been no pleasure.

Reading the other reviews, perhaps we just struck unlucky. Unluckier than us were a couple booked for a fortnight - poor souls. They were on the edge when we left after four days! Other people from our group went to eat at the Movenpick, and said it was very good. The hotel simply isn't large enough overall to deal with "Functions".

The Kempinski at the Dead Sea was better all round, but having stayed at quite a few middle eastern hotels, it was again style over content, and quite inconvenient. A

Kempinski would have to pay me to stay at another of their hotels.

  • Stayed: November 2009, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank holidaymaker100020
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 27, 2009

The hotel is brand spanking new! We arrived the day after the king of Jordan had officially opened the hotel. You could still smell the paint and plaster in the rooms. The bright white rooms are very clean with modern amenities. The bathroom has a wall made of glass giving the room an open plan impression. If the bath was facing the other way you could watch TV from it.The hotel is built in a high rise crescent shape. Every room overlooks the pool area and the harbor bay.
The pool area is beautifully designed with a long main pool,a pool bar,a kids pool and the best jacuzzi I have ever been in.It is all set in a transplanted bamboo forest. The bamboo will eventually take over as any one who has ever planted bamboo will know. But the overall effect is a magnificent zen like garden in which to relax in.They play chill out music all day which is great at first and adds to the atmosphere but after a while we wished they would change the CD.
The private beach is small with imported white sand.There are plenty of lounge chairs, and the minute you arrive an attendant hands you a fresh towel and puts up a shade for you if you so desire. There is a very clean wooden deck from the beach with showers and foot taps to wash the sand off with.On the other side of the deck there is an ice cream parlour,a pizzeria,a bar,a creche,toilets, and a watersports depot. They have thought of everything. The sea was not very clean though;hardly surprising with the amount of boats passing by.
It must be said that were both sick with stomach bugs whilst staying at this hotel. Whether it was from the food or from something else it is difficult to say. The restaurant is pleasant with an interior and an exterior and the staff were excellent and they could not do enough to please us even if they were a little slow serving drinks.The food buffet was very well presented and there was a good selection of mostly oriental dishes, but how fresh it all was is questionable.
The gym was disappointing for a modern hotel. It was too small,almost as if it was an afterthought.
The hotel is not a big one and we were lucky to have it almost to ourselves. On the last day a big group arrived and suddenly it felt a little cramped and crowded. Luckily there are other things to do in Aqaba.

  • Stayed: November 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank Chris P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 16, 2009

Me and my wife stayed here for 7 nights, during the grand opening week. We are travelling av lot and demands good quality and service - here you got it, actually the best relaxing holiday we ever had, even if there was a lot of work going on on the beach for several days cause the big grand opening party.
Ok, Aqaba isn´t very exciting but the hotel it self is amazing.
Anas, the head chef in the main restaurant, is so nice and the food is to die for...

The only things that we didn´t like was the small gym with to less free weights, no mirrors and to less machines. There is also no tenniscourt etc, which of course would be nice. We are also waiting to go back and try the SPA that will open in the beginning of 2010.

One other thing, what will happen if the hotel and beach is full at lunchtime, now it was halvfull most of the week. There´s only one small lunchrestaurant, with good and tasty food, and the day when it was grand opening and fully booked it was chaos at lunchtime.

I also hope that there will be no construction on the ground between Kempinski and InterContinental.

Like other guest write, the rooms are excellent with panoramic seaview, free internet and minibar that is refilled every day. Cleaning of the room twice a day.

It´s a place for total relax and we are already planning to go back in spring.

  • Stayed: November 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank swe-connoisseur
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 15, 2009

Beautiful modern hotel with very high levels of service. We were there in early november and the grand opening was 5 days away (they were still doing some last minute work on detailing). Most of the rooms have balconies with a great view of the sea (all forward looking). The room (deluxe) lacked a seating area, except for the chairs on the balcony. Besides that it was very comfortable with a great bathroom (with see through window giving view to the sea). The hotel ouzes modern design but still feels comfortable. Service was to the highest standard, comparable to the best 5 star hotels worldwide. Food was also very good and the deal including breakfast and dinner buffet was in my opinion a steal. The hotel is located in between the Movenpick and the Intercontinental. The movenpick seems to not have as many rooms with an oceanview which I think is a big drawback for that hotel. Our only disappointment was Aqaba itself which we did not find particularly attractive. Maybe the resorts in Talabay can be nicer as they are closer to the snorkeling spots which are south of Aqaba (although I did see some fish when swimming in front of the hotel). We did one snorkeling tour but were disappointed by the lack of fish and the coral did not look great either (it was a windy day which made it more difficult to see). I am not sure if prices will stay as low they are currently but if they are, it is great quality for value (there do not seem to be many nice restaurants in aqaba so going for the option including food is probably best).

  • Stayed: November 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank sebbie33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 14, 2009

What a fan tastic hotel ! Elisabeth Sweden
We had spent 5 nights at the Moevenpick Dead Sea( extremely overpriced and average service) and arrived at Kempinski Hotel after a 4h drive through the dessert. What a welcome !! Even if we were driving the cheapest of rental cars, we were treated as royals !! Valet parking, cold towels when entering the reception, a private tour of the hotel. !!!
During our 5 night stay we met the hotel manager on a nearly daily basis. He was working during breakfast service, clearing tables and helping out in general. He was literally all over the place, helping his staff with various tasks, VERY VISIBLE !!
What a nice way to run a hotel ! No wonder everyone we talked to from the staff simply loved their workplace !! For being a 5 star hotel the atmosphere was actually very relaxed. The staff was amazing !!!
The hotel itself was, as everyone here at trip advisor have already testified to, just fantastic ! Free mini-bar , free internet, free icecold water on the beach etc. The food was suberb ( we had halfboard) and the variety of watersports very good ! Prices for waterskiing was a third of the cost in Europe. Our 7year old daughter was given waterskii lessons that lasted WAY over the stipulated 10 minutes !
Both I and my husband work for an airline and we travel A LOT, but this was by far, THE BEST HOTEL WE EVER STAYED IN !! We are already planning to come back.

  • Stayed: October 2009, traveled with family
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Thank SwedenElisabeth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 12, 2009

This hotel is fabulous. Bedrooms are spacious with a massive bed and fabulous views out to the red sea. The mini bar is free though it is worth noting that it only includes 2 beers a day, the rest is non-alcoholic. Service is first class and includes touches such as cold flannels, water and cold fruit presented (free) to you while sun bathing. It was my birthday while out there and somehow they noticed and left a cake in the room that evening - all very nice. Breakfast is excellent. The hotel is brand new and it shows with lots of swanky design features both inside and out. The pool area is very impressive.

Things to note:
The wall between the bathroom and the bedroom is glass. While you can pull a blind down to have some privacy, if you turn the light on within the bathroom it becomes pretty ineffective.

Don't book any trips through the hotel unless you are happy spending excessive amounts of money. A normal taxi will charge you JOD50 to drive you to Petra and back - the hotel quoted nearly double that.

The land next to the hotel is undeveloped and there appeared to be signs that this is about to change. If travelling in 2010 it might be worth asking about this.

  • Stayed: November 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Tartan2000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Kempinski Hotel Aqaba Red Sea

Address: King Hussein Street, Aqaba 77110, Jordan
Phone Number:
Location: Jordan > Al Aqabah Governorate > Aqaba
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Romantic Hotel in Aqaba
#2 Spa Hotel in Aqaba
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Aqaba
#2 Luxury Hotel in Aqaba
#2 Family Hotel in Aqaba
#4 Business Hotel in Aqaba
Price Range: $169 - $324 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Kempinski Hotel Aqaba Red Sea 5*
Number of rooms: 200
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Gracefully situated on the white sandy beaches and azure waters of the Red Sea, The Kempinski Hotel Aqaba offers a transcendent sensory experience. With an array of culinary options, leisure activities, and top-tier pampering and perfectly at home within its picturesque surroundings, this resort is heaven to explorers and leisure seekers alike. Set against a stunning backdrop, the hotel combines the warmth of the Jordanians with the highest standards of a luxury European resort. Style is contemporary chic and the resort’s fascinating tear drop design guarantees sea views from every room, complemented by luxurious facilities and state-of-the-art technology. There are three lounges and three eateries to choose from serving everything from extensive gourmet buffets, delicious fresh seafood and an assortment of tantalizing treats. At night the hotel blossoms with wondrous facade lighting, paving the way for an unforgettable evening of cocktails and malts, around the sunken pool or at Aqua Lounge, a favourite with romantics due to its gorgeous views of the Red Sea. For pampering and healing both inside and out, Kempinski The Spa offers a journey of tranquility with treatments using an assortment of luxurious elixirs and ingredients. With a fully equipped gym overlooking the ocean, the resort offers everything your body needs to unwind and rejuvenate. It goes without saying that the diving here is incredible and guests can explore the largest collection of natural soft corals in the world when delving into the glittery, calm waters. Aqaba is a warm and inviting city, fringed with palm trees, shopping and a vast array of leisure, sporting and entertainment facilities. Ideal for year round sunshine, Kempinski Aqaba is the perfect location to explore all the delights that Jordan has to offer. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Kempinski Hotel Aqaba

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