Me and my family spent 14 nights at Intercontinental Aqaba in Februari. It is a truly fantastic place. The hotel building is majestic and beautiful. Situated right next to the Aqaba city centre, but still in a calm area. It owns one of the best stretches of the beach (in Aqaba – contrary to in Eilat on the Israel side of the bay – the best parts of the beach are owned by the hotels and only accessible for hotel guests) and has a great pool area. The food at the hotel – we had the breakfast and dinner buffet every day of our stay – is outstanding. And the restaurant staff was just great. It was a pure pleasure dining there every evening! The room was very comfortable and well equipped and the staff was more than happy to help us with anything we asked them for.
However, I would unfortunately not go back and stay in this fantastic place again. We value the possibility to relax when we go to a resort like this. This proved to be difficult for us. Everyday the hotel staff played what I would call loud music – and I am not talking about music that gets your pulse down, sometimes it would be the same 90`s euro-techno song over and over – at the hotel beach and pool area. It didn´t matter how many times we asked the staff to turn it down, 10 minutes later the volume was back up again. We tried hiding from it, but that was not easy since there were speakers facing the beach as well as big portable speakers which the staff moved around in the pool area.
During the latter part of our stay, the volume was turned down somewhat and some of the staff were trying to spare us by unplugging speakers close to us etc. And we were told that a majority of the guests who stay at the hotel prefer to listen to music. So I guess from the hotel´s point of view they did what they could to accommodate our wishes. But for me, this was a major and continuous disappointment with the stay,
What also made us disappointed was how the hotel handled our requests. Being frustrated with the response we got from the beach and pool staff, I among other things tried to turn to customer relations. I was then promised that a manager would come to our room and talk to us, but no manager ever showed up. And this what not the only time a thing like that happened. Finally, upon check-out when we were asked if we were happy with our stay and said no – we got to see a manager. He told us that he would send us a voucher as some kind of compensation for the disturbance we had experienced. Three weeks later, we have not heard anything more from him, nor seen any voucher.
In addition to the music playing, the beach was also disturbed by the sounds of jet-skis and speed boats / glass bottom boats going back and forth just outside the hotel (these boats also play loud music). Especially during the weekends the traffic could get heavy.
If you travel with children you also might want to know that the lobby area, the café and the shopping arcade are smoking areas which sometimes can be quite foggy from cigarett smoke. Even the elevators often stink of smoke.
Some suggestions on what to do while in Aqaba:
Go to Eilat for a day trip. It costs some 10 euro per person to leave Jordan and then about the same to enter Israel, but it was well worth it. The board walk at the beach area is beautiful and offers a wide variety of cafes and restaurants.
Take the two hour drive to Petra. It is expensive to go there, but you don´t have to be interested in ancient history to be impressed by it. You can organize the trip yourself by talking to most any taxi driver in Aqaba (the green cars). When you reach Petra, get one of the local guides to join you inside – it will add a lot to the experience (but be ready to pay 50 euro for their services).
Go to Wadi Rum. Also expensive but so worth it. Beautiful desert landscape and a place where you can enjoy total silence.
If you want to do some snorkelling from the shore, go to the beautiful Berenice Beach club on the way to Tala bay (costs 15 euro for a day to stay at their facilities). There you can find some really nice corals and fish and have close encounters with scorpion fish. And the view from the restaurant is fabulous.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A PRIVATE PARADISE ON JORDAN’S RED SEA. InterContinental Aqaba Resort combines relaxing atmospheres and welcoming accommodations. This Red Sea beach resort has exceptional views of the Gulf of Aqaba, which is well known for its coral reef scuba diving and water sports. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Intercontinental Aqaba Hotel Aqaba
- Aqaba Intercontinental