Shermans Travel » Blog » Archive
Tag Results: Jordan
Hotels and hideaways have long provided a great base and an idyllic backdrop for romance, illicit or otherwise. Once in your own private oasis, away from the demands of everyday life, romance is on the rise, and senses are easily aroused. Whether it’s a romantic rendezvous, a destination wedding and honeymoon, or an anniversary, we found six top notch properties – one for each of the senses (the sixth included).
SIGHT: Aman at Summer Palace; Beijing, China
If you were in search of a palatial Asian estate to call your own, look no further than Aman at Summer Palace. This picturesque property away from Beijing’s bustling city center is adjacent to the 250-year-old World Heritage site, The Summer Palace. The stunning aesthetics and design are a mix of original dwellings used for guests of the Summer Palace at the turn of the 20th century with Ming Dynasty-inspired design, recreated to seamless perfection.
After a week of touring in China’s must-see cities (Beijing and Shanghai), retreat for a few days to an exclusive deluxe or imperial suite with private spa treatment rooms, enclosed internal courtyards, spacious bathrooms with island bathtubs, private dining areas, and bedrooms with a four poster bed and a Ming-style armoire.
The desert has long provided a profound feeling for spiritual seekers, travelers, and explorers alike. From the silkiness of the sand to the stillness that surrounds you and the beauty that abounds, it easily entices.
Couple that with the mere mention of The Dead Sea, which immediately conjures up evocative mud-riddled images of vacationing bodies floating effortlessly in the ever-still waters. No place is better positioned for an otherworldly float and a stunning Dead Sea sunset than the Kempinski Hotel Ishtar Dead Sea in Jordan.
Once you’ve explored Jordan’s breathtaking scenery, natural resources, vast deserts, and historical and religious centers, the likes of Wadi Rum, Petra, and the Jordan River, it’s time to rest those tired tourist toes and go float at the lowest point on earth for quite possibly the greatest high of your life.
I have been to Jordan twice, and both trips were memorable experiences filled with natural wonders. The highlights for first-time travelers include Wadi Rum, Petra, and the Dead Sea. The beautiful red, desert sands of Wadi Rum are impressive, and one cannot help but think of Lawrence of Arabia while traversing the dunes. I enjoyed its sunsets and would recommend being there at that time.
On my first trip, my friend and I hired a guide to take us to Wadi Rum, and he included a stop at a typical Bedouin camp for tea. Judging from their attire, Bedouins might, at first glance, appear to be out of a different age, but don’t be surprised to see a satellite TV dish or mobile phone nearby. After viewing a sunset, we continued on to Petra and overnighted at Taybet Zaman (from $95/night), where Bill Clinton once stayed. This very simple boutique hotel has a Turkish sauna that is enjoyable after a day of touring.
This may sound odd, but Amman is a bit like L.A.: everything is a car ride away. You need to know where to go (unlike Beirut which is a more meanderer-friendly town). People say Amman is the newest up-and-coming cosmopolitan city in the Middle East, after Beirut, Tel Aviv, and Dubai. And there is no doubt that an expat educated and moneyed class have come back to energize this city.
The people of Jordan are exceedingly nice and hospitable (like the Lebanese and Syrians), and most in Amman speak English. The society does have conservative cultural aspects. You will see many more covered/veiled women here than in Beirut. But there is a stylish set just the same; just go to one of the new nightclubs.
In my last post, I noted that Amman is a good jumping off point for visiting sights in other parts of the country. In my case, I had been to Petra and the Wadi Rum before (combined with a trip to Israel two years ago when I crossed into Jordan from Israel’s Eilat and stayed over at the Taybet Zaman Hotel near Petra). So this trip focused on other attractions in northern Jordan and exploring the newly emerging cosmopolitan scene of Amman.
Following my day-long city tour, my guide, Moawi, arranged a subsequent day trip to explore the north including Ajloun Castle (a medieval fortress), Umm Qays, and Jerash. That’s a lot of ground to cover in the North and driving distances between sights were about an hour. I recommend trimming it down to just Umm Qays (a Roman ruin with an amazing view of the Jordan Valley including Lake Tiberias in Israel and the Golan Heights) and Jerash.
For visiting Amman and elsewhere in Jordan, my guide was Moawi, the owner of Travel Club Jordan. He had a car to take us around Amman, which is always a good idea for the first day of exploring a new, exotic city. We visited the Citadel, the Roman amphitheater, and the Royal Automobile Museum. We also stopped for a lovely traditional Jordanian lunch.
For dining and nightlife in Amman, I recommend several options, including Yoshi (super sushi – better than most in New York!), books@cafe (for drinks and dessert), a stroll around Rainbow Street, and meandering around Abdoun, a chic part of town with shops, restaurants, and cafes. Read more
Flying from Beirut to Amman, a short one-hour flight, you cross the vast expanse of desert. The rolling desert hills and valleys are beautiful. Then rising from the Earth you see white dots which begin to outline the city of Amman.
When arriving in Amman airport, one is struck by how matters are just a bit more chaotic than in Beirut. (I was in Beirut for the weekend and planned travels onward to Jordan). A new airport is under construction and this will no doubt help. Entry requires a visa, which I didn’t know beforehand, but one can easily obtain it at passport control. Change money into dinars first; the visa costs about 10 dollars.
I do recommend a hotel pick up since otherwise you run the risk of getting a taxi without A/C and the airport is a good 40 minutes from Amman (much further out than with Beirut’s airport). Read more
Sign up for the Top 25 Newsletter
to get exclusive weekly deals