Where can you tread in Biblical footsteps, ride a camel though a
UNESCO World Heritage Site (the carved red-rock city of Petra), get
wrapped in the most nutrient-rich mud in the world and then float
on the Dead Sea? For pampering par excellence in a historical
desert oasis, the crown goes to the spas in the Kingdom of Jordan.
Just 45 minutes from Queen Alia d’Amman International Airport, the
Dead Sea Valley is an oasis like no other.
My sanctuary was the Movenpick Dead Sea Resort and Spa. In touch
with desert heritage and the surrounding wilderness, the grounds
are a labyrinth of stone arches in desert rock, decorated with
climbing bougainvilleas and waterfalls. The stylish, low-rise 340
rooms and suites each have private balconies. In the center,
reminiscent of an Arabic village, there are delicious restaurants
to choose from, all with a view of the sea and its spectacular
Movenpick’s luxurious stadium-sized spa, Zara, is where my
spiritual quest to unwind, revitalize and refresh my mind, body and
soul began. My packed spa day started with a full-body Dead Sea mud
wrap to remove toxins. A therapist slathered me with the thick,
green primordial goo and then swathed me in plastic wrap. After a
rainforest shower, I relaxed in the massage chairs and sipped
herbal tea until my therapist came to fetch me for some holistic
acupuncture and massage. After a facial, hamman, dry sauna and
whirlpool, I was ready for a dip or I should say a float in the
Dead Sea. Afterward, I sunbathed and ordered drinks by the private,
cliff-side pool (for spa guests only) and drifted into the serenity
of the Holy Land.
In addition to the Movenpick, there is the equally first-class
Marriott resort next door (both properties are five-star). The
Marriott Dead Sea offers the same amenities as its neighbor, as
well as exotic outdoor tents with rich red carpets, cushy divans
and sheesha pipes. At night belly dancers entertain guests under
the twinkling stars. Their spa has a large variety of therapeutic
massages, beauty treatments and all-inclusive packages.
Besides the revitalizing spas, the country is breathtaking.
Surely one of the modern-day seven wonders of the world is Petra,
the pre-Roman Nabataean capital. Sheer red mountain cliffs crack
open to reveal a chasm filled with carved tombs, houses and
theaters carved out into the rock. There are also numerous biblical
sites along the historical Kings Highway. Clients can rent
four-wheelers and ride into Wadi Rum, visit a real Bedouin village
and go to Amman’s souks to shop for rugs, antiques and handicrafts
native to Jordan. Both hotels have car services and Hertz is
located in the lobby of Movenpick. For desert tours, treks and
excursions set up packages through the Jordan Tourism Board. They
have a comprehensive list of inbound tour operators.
This side of the Dead Sea is far more tranquil than the booming
high-rise hotels across the water in Israel and half the price. But
Jordan is keeping up with tourists’ demands: Movenpick is adding
new beachfront guestrooms that will be completed by June of this
year, and in 2007, another luxury spa hotel will join the ranks in
the Dead Sea valley. In addition, Zara Group is building a
world-class resort in the southern Red Sea Port of Aqaba with two
golf courses, a marina and 17 kilometers of beaches. Clients will
have to wait for this ambitious Ayla Oasis, however, as the
estimated date of completion is in 12 years.
In the meantime, there is the newly opened, five-star
InterContinental Aqaba Resort on the Red Sea, known for its
incredible diving. The ultra-lux InterContinental has fabulous
views of the Red Sea, a private beach and rooms with decks over the
water, as well as a spa and gym.
From Dead Sea to Red Sea and everything in between, Jordan has
much to offer clients.
Movenpick Resort and Spa
Dead Sea, Jordan
Marriott Resort and Spa Jordan Valley
InterContinental Aqaba Resort
Jordan Tourism Board
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