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!
- 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