We stayed in the Kempinski for one night as part of a touring holiday in Jordan.
We managed to check in early (1pm) with no problems. The room was large and tastefully furnished with nice lighting, two TVs, and free minibar. The bathroom was massive, with a wide bath and walk-in shower.
As we were only staying for one night, we headed straight for the Dead Sea. The hotel provides free pots of smelly sulphuric mud for you to coat yourself with, before heading out into the sea to wash it off. Floating in the Dead Sea is a novelty - you float so high up in the water that swimming is not easy! Flip flops are a good idea, as the rocks and pebbles on the sea bed are coated in rough salt crystals which are not kind on the feet.
The new spa was busy but we my girlfriend managed to book a treatment in the evening, and both of us used the hydrotherapy pools. The massage was (apparently) excellent, but both of us felt the spa was poorly designed in some ways, even though it was stunning to look at.
Between swimming in the Dead Sea and visiting the spa, we lounged around by the infinity pool overlooking the sea. The pool is beautiful, and is a great place to watch the sunset
In the evening, we ate at the Thai restaurant - good food, great views, and away from the flies that hang around the waters edge. The waiters in this restaurant were very attentive and helpful, probably because the restaurant was relatively empty. For some reason, the garish, noisy and expensive (30JD + tax) buffet restaurant seemed far more popular with guests.
This hotel is impressive in many ways, but several aspects disappointed me
First, there are no signs anywhere! The hotel looks great in a minimalist way, but is frustrating if you're only staying for one night and don't know where anything is.
The new spa building is huge and is amazing to look at, and feels like a lot of money has been spent, but some of the design details let it down. There's no clock, so not much good if you're waiting to go for a treatment after using the pool. The pool is surrounded by slippery marble floors. The water jets in the hydrotherapy pool are uncomfortably powerful - surely these have a variable power control? In the changing rooms, there are no bins or wet towel storage areas. And irritatingly, there is no link to the main hotel - you have to walk a long way to get from one to the other. I may be nitpicking, but for a brand new spa building, charging JD30 just to use the pool, I had high expectations.
There are flies everywhere, but I guess this goes with the territory of a beachfront resort.
The shiny new expensive-feeling gym only has four running machines, two static bikes and one rowing machine, which not enough for a luxury hotel of this size.
The prices charged are very steep e.g. JD14 for a *glass* of Jacobs Creek wine! The hotel has a captive audience, and is taking advantage of this in its pricing.
Overall, this is a visually stunning hotel with great facilities, which just needs a bit of fine tuning to make it great.
- 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