Interested in Amman?
We'll send you updates with the latest deals, reviews and articles for Amman each week.
Other recent lists by Ellemay:
Lists you may be interested in:
Hopefully this list will be helpful to other fellow travellers.
The Sheraton is overall a good quality hotel. The pool area was fantastic with a large DEEP swimming pool with plenty of decks chairs and umbrellas. The pool service was efficient although slightly slow. There is also an excellent lap indoor swimming pool and two gyms with modern equipment.
There is a full security check including luggage before entering this hotel.
The swimming pool is the best thing about this hotel and I would stay here again for this reason alone. Next time, I will ask for a room overlooking the pool with a balcony (TIP). Sheraton Tower rooms looked fabulous but they come with a heavy price tag.
We stayed here overnight on our return trip to Australia. We were greeted at the airport and swept away in a lovely air-conditioned Mercedes Benz and driven to the hotel which is approx 30mins away.
Four Seasons is located between Al Sweifiyah residential area and the Shmeisani financial district. It is a 10 min taxi ride into downtown. Taxis are very cheap in Amman and they can be found outside the hotel.
Before entering this hotel you have to go through a full security check including your bags. To our delight we were told we had been upgraded to a suite as the hotel was fully booked.
Our suite was enormous which consisted of a separate lounge room with plasma TV, CD player, mini bar, lounge suite, coffee table, and working desk. The bedroom leads off from the hallway and consisted of a king size bed, side tables, and lamps. All furnishing were elegant and comfortable. We had stunning views of Amman skyline.
Off the bedroom a small hallway lead to walk-in closet with plenty of hanging space. The bathroom was spacious with a great walk-in shower, bath and large marble and granite vanity suite.
There are three restaurants - Asia, Vivace and Seasons. We chose to dine on the terrace in Vivace and had a lovely Italian meal. The setting and the staff were terrific.
There are two swimming pools, one indoor and the other outdoor. Both are fantastic, the area is very stylish with plenty of deck chairs and umbrellas. The indoor pool has a whirlpool. A very well equipped gym and squash courts are also located near the swimming pools. A fabulous spa using products from the Dead Sea is also available, the special treatments being the mud packs.
Overall - We found this hotel to offer all the 5 star trimmings one requires. The staff were fabulous. I would certainly recommend this hotel if staying in Amman. The only thing missing was an Arabic Restaurant.
We stayed at the Intercontinental overnight after driving back from Petra and having a very late 1am flight we needed to have a late check-out.
Check -in. : All went accordingly to plan and on confirmation we received the room we had booked via the hotel web site.
Room : Our room 571 (non smoking) was called a Club King Room which was definitely on the small size with an equally small bathroom. It was nothing special however it was comfortable and clean.
Club Floor : Being located on the Club Floor we were allowed into the Executive Lounge which supplied afternoon canape and drinks and complimentary buffet breakfast.
Restaurants : We enjoyed our buffet breakfast which had a good variety of Western and Arabic food. Our highlight of the hotel was dining at the Indian Restaurant which we found the food to be absolutely delicious and ended up dining there twice...
The only gripe noted was not having any decent New Zealand or Australian Sauvignon Blanc white wine on the wine list, most of the good wine seems to only be red ? (in ALL Jordan Hotels).
Overall: We have stayed at numerous hotels in Amman and basically we found the Intercontinental Hotel to be comfortable but lack the finesse of others. The lobby and restaurants are attractive and the staff very helpful and friendly, overall we enjoyed our short stay.
If looking for a budget hoel - Amman Pasha Hotel in downtown is clean & tidy offering nightly cultural shows of traditional song and dance group dance e the Dabke. They also conduct a regular cooking classes for Arabic food at the hotel café the Pizza Roma Café.
Amman has a wide variety of restaurants, here are a few suggestions if you need to taste authentic Arabic food.
Fairuzi in Abdoun - Tel 06 59397371-2 for authentic Persian experience.
Zareef - in Aboun - Tel 06 5933118 - the first Persian Restaurant in town.
Al-Bustan - Lebonese Tel 06-5661555
Fakhredin - Arabic cuisine - Tel 06 4652399
Al Halabi - Crowne Plaza Hotel - Arabic
La Cucina - Italian - Tel 06-5933355
Romero _ Italian - Tel - 06-4644228-7 - opposite the Intercontinental.
Cinco De Mayo - Mexican - Intercontinental Hotel
Intercontinental Hotel - Arabic and also fabulous Indian Restaurant.
Downtown has some unique coffee houses and cafes which are certainly worth a visit.
Hashem Restaurant - for felafel , bread and hummus - a great snack cafe.
For the best bargains head to downtown - the streets are full of excellent bazaar shops and stalls. The prices are cheap too and its worth bargaining with the locals.
Shopping can be done at Mecca Mall or at Abdoun Mall. For traditional gifts you can catch a taxi to the Dead Sea Treasures (on the way to the airport) approx 10mins from the city. They have an enormous range of gifts and luxury collection of products from the Dead Sea including pottery, jewellery and rugs. Taxi's will wait while you shop.
Most of the nightclubs and bars can be found at any of the five star hotels in Amman.
Four Season Hotel
Crowne Plaza Hotel
Grand Hyatt Hotel
Le Royal Hotel - Buddha Bar
The Citadel is the major attraction in Amman, its located on (Jabal al-Qal'a) and is the site of the earliest fortifications known in the world. The Citadel is known for its representation of three major religions - Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The Cidadel hill contains some early age Bronze Age Tombs dating back before (3000-1200BC).
Other important historical monuments are Byzantine Church, Umayyad Palace and the Temple of Hercules. Just near the Temple of Hercules you will find the museum which houses some fabulous artifacts with The archaeological period ating from The Paleolithic (1000,000 - 10,000 years ago) - The Byzantine Period (AD 324 - 636) .
Is famous for its display of the Dead Sea Scrolls and four Iron Age anthropo-morphic coffins.Its located north from the Temple of Hercules at The Citadel.
The Roman Theatre is located in the heart of downtown. You can get a wonderful overview of it from the top of the Citadel . The entrance fee is JD1 and there is also tn excellent small Folklore Museum along side the theatre and also to your left is the Museum of Popular Tradition which houses a small collection of traditional costumes and jewellery and other items.
Toilets normally can be found outside The Roman Theatre however they were under renovation (Nov09) when we visited and were closed.
Tourist can take the Amman City Bus Tour hop on / hop off around the city for approx US$13.00 with gives you a 24hour pass with over 45 destinations.
For more details check out their web-page www.ammancitytour.com
There are just a few tour companies around in Amman. The biggest being Rum Travel www.rumtravel.com for details regarding tours to Petra, Jerash, Karak, and the Dead Sea. Other recommended companies are Jordon Select , Apollo tours, Karma House, and Jordan Direct tours.
Most travellers seem to hire a car and drive to these tourist spots. All are within an easy drive from Amman.
Petra - three hours driving along the Desert Highway - 5hrs on the Kings Hwy.
Jerash - 30 minutes
Dead Sea - approx one hour.
Karak - 2 hrs.
You hire a car from Thrifty's office in downtown. www.thrifty.com or from the International Airport. Most car rentals firms are available.
Roads are well sign posted written in both Arabic and English. Most drivers understand English however always carry your hotel card ( location in Arabic) with you.
Taxi's are another option, you can organize a driver from the hotel and set a price before leaving to your destination.
These tour companies also have a good reputation if one is needing a guide.
Apollo tours, Karma House, Jordan Select , Jordan Artist Tours and Jordan Direct Tours.
JETT buses, both ordinary and tour buses connect to Amman and Aqaba via the Desert Highway. All buses leave from Abdali Bus Station in Amman, any taxi driver in Amman can take you to their office which is located on King Hussein Street about 500 meters from the Abdali bus station. Bookings is advisable. Buses are air conditioned and clean.
The bus leaves from the JETT office at 6.45am and you are requested to be there 20 minutes prior.
The bus leaves Petra at 4pm exactly, its advisable to be at the bus station at 3.30pm.
This is a fabulous short sight seeing trip from Amman as its only 30 minutes away. You can take either the Airport route or head down the King's highway for a more scenic route but this does take longer.
This town is famous for its unique 6th and 8th century mosaics and for being inhabited for at least 4,000 years. If you are a history buff then you will totally enjoy coming closer to the history of the Holy Land.
After exploring Madaba make sure you drive a little further to Machaerus the hilltop of Herod the Great. This is the spot were John the Baptist was beheaded.
west of Madaba, less than ten kilometres away. Mount Nebo is approx 700- 800 metres above sea level, and has Syagha and al Mukhayyat valleys surrounding it. Travellers can observe the West Bank, the Dead Sea and Jordan River on the plateau , Bethlehem and Jerusalem can also be seen amongst the wonderful views.
Southwest of Madaba are the thermal mineral springs of Zerqa Ma'in and Zara, where you can soak in a hot springs or have simple thermal treatments .
Jerash is important for its Roman architecture, allow two hours for taking in the major sights. Its a fabulous day trip from Amman and can be easily reached in less than an hour. The best time to visit Jerash is in July when the Jerash Festival transforms the ancient theatre into a spectucular array of art performances.
Jerash is approx 50km from Amman by car - head northwest past the Jordan University and follow the road signs to Jerash.
There are at least 3 ways to get to Karak. From Amman head south the Desert Hwy is the quickest (approx 2hrs). The Kings Hwy is the more scenic of the two but a lot slower. The third way is by the Dead Sea Hwy on route 50. The road up to Karak can be very challenging with tight windy narrow roads, You are best to leave your car at the bottom of town and catch a taxi up to the main attraction the Castle. We had huge problems trying to park the car and its a nightmare trying to navigate the narrow streets.
Karak is known for its rich ancient history dating back to biblical times and oozing in factual historical value on the crusaders. Karak is a fortified town and castle enriched by centuries and tales from biblical days. The Castle Plaza is now the tourist information centre with has cafes, restaurants and a craft centre. A perfect day trip from Amman.
The Dead Sea lies approximately one hour drive from Amman International Airport. The drive is spectacular as you wind through the mountains and descend down to the lowest point on earth. The roads are in excellent conditions - all well sealed and sign posted. ( English and Arabic )
We stayed at the Kempinski Hotel overlooking the Dead Sea which boasts of having the largest beach in Jordon. We used their black mud which is valued for therapy and skin purposes. We rubbed it all over us which was heaps of fun and then sun baked for 20 minutes until our skin resembled a parched lizard .
Afterwards, we washed it off in the serene sea as you float and drift around . Its enormous fun floating and the sensation of the salt on your skin is refreshing and invigorating. However, you do have to be careful not to get it into your eyes. A cool freshwater shower on the beach was helpful to rinse the salt off after our swim.
The Dead Sea is also called the Salt Sea and is one of the most saline lakes in the world it lies in the Rift Valley and has some wonderful healing properties due to the mineral content in the water which contain salts of sodium, potassium, magnesium and many others so after our swim our skin felt so soft like a baby's bottom !. The added bonus is the continuous haze over the water which also helps filter out any UV rays from the sun.
If you cannot stay at one of the Dead Sea Resorts the local Amman beach is just a few minutes drive past the Kempinski Hotel and offers excellent facilities such as toilets, showers, changing rooms, towel hire and a cafe. There is an entrance fee of JD12 and another JD3 for the mud. The early morning sun glistening and sparkling on the salty water made it the perfect time for a swim.
Arrival : The Kempinski Hotel looked highly impressive and luxurious as we drove into the driveway. Staff were ready and waiting and immediately we felt like VIPs.
Check - In : Our luggage was removed and put through the hotel security - we found out later we were not allowed to bring in our duty free alcohol , it was removed and returned back to us when we left the hotel ; evidently its the hotel policy.
Room : We were driven down to our villa 2401 by a golf buggy which was beautifully positioned close to the beach , swimming pool and infinity pool restaurant.
The ground floor villa was luxurious and gorgeous with large spacious king size bed combined lounge room with doors leading out to a roomy covered veranda which stunning views of the Dead Sea.
We particularly enjoyed the complimentary mini bar , Internet access, and tea and coffee facilities.
Bathroom : We absolutely loved the circular stone mosaic tile shower and huge bathroom which supplied excellent toiletries from the Dead Sea.
The hotel has 9 fresh water swimming pools including infinity edge ones and to us this what made this resort special. The hotel also boasts of having the longest beach in Jordon. The Anantara Spa is also highly impressive however we never got to use it?too busy swimming in all the pools and the Dead Sea.
Dead Sea : Swimming in the Dead Sea is an awesome sensation and this experience of smearing black mud over us and sun baking until our skin resembled dried up lizard skin was the highlight of all our overseas trips !
Restaurants : Breakfast was interesting overlooking the stunning views with a million flies swarming around but being Aussies it never bothered us....it was a long way from our villa to the Buffet Restaurant so the next day we ordered room service which was heaps better.
The Italian Restaurant was beautiful at night time, we booked a candlelit table positioned on the edge of the infinity pool which overlooked the sea and we could see the twinkling lights from Jerusalem. A lovely romantic evening however if a selection of New Zealand Sav Blanc would have been available - blissful !
Overall : We loved our short luxurious stay at the Kempinski Hotel. The hotel is a classy act and our only complaint was not being able to easily obtain the wine we wanted via room service . (seeing they had taken our duty-free).
Tip: Best rooms closest to beach - 2000 - 2100 ground floor.
We finally arrived at Petra after driving from the Dead Sea through some rather mountainous countryside. On arrival we were greeted warmly and our bags checked through the security tent before checking into the hotel.
There is no parking at the hotel so one has to dump the bags off first and then proceed outside to park your car on the street.
Our room 329 was average in size . It consisted of a double bed, working desk, TV, mini bar, internet connection and tea and coffee facilities. The bathroom was again average size and adequate a small balcony looked over the distant village.
Restaurants : We dined in the fine-dining Mediterranean restaurant Al Iwan and found it to be reasonable nothing remarkable but certainly pleasurable .
Breakfast was decent with an excellent selection of western and Arabic food . The staff were extremely friendly and we enjoyed their humour. The coffee certainly needs improvement.
The Al Maq?aad Bar is beautifully decorated with inlaid furniture and it made a welcoming place to sit and relax over a few drinks after a hard day walking through Petra. There is also a very attractive roof top terrace bar which would be appealing for a drink on a warm summer night.
The swimming pool looked charming its not big but on a hot day it certainly would be useful. Petra temperature was mild when we visited in November so we never got to use some of the hotel facilities. There are a few gift shops attached to the hotel if one needs to buy any gifts. A ATM machine is also located near the shops.
Overall : The best thing about this hotel is the location. Its in a prime position just two minutes from Petra?s main entrance. We booked this hotel primary for this reason and thankful we did as most of the other hotels looked too far away. After walking all day through Petra the Moevenpick Hotel was very appealing to see from the Entrance gates.
The hotel is comfortable, clean and we had no trouble with staff members and actually found them to be very friendly and helpful. Its totally overpriced but then again its basically next door to the entrance of Petra. We enjoyed our stay.
Petra is a the new 7 Wonder of the World and one can easily see why this archaeological site has achieved such recognition . The Nabataeans created Petra by carving out their ancient city from the massive sandstone rock face ; its truly an all inspiring staggering achievement. It took 536 years for Petra to be rediscovered by Johann Burckhardt the famous Swiss explorer.
After paying the entrance fee we started our long walk down through the 1200m narrow walled chasm called the As-Siq with steep cliffs up to 80 metres high to the Nabataen city of Petra. Immediately one is instantly rewarded and mesmerized by the sheer majestic stately sight of the colossal Treasury ( Al- Khazneh ) carved out of the sandstone rock. The grandiose size overpowers you and one is transported back instantaneously to an age of ancient royal intelligence beyond any comprehension.
There are so many astounding and fascinating buildings most of them being rock tombs like the Urn Tomb which towers over 26 metres and was the first tomb built in the 1st century for a Nabatean king and The Silk Tomb which is a decorative rainbow of rock colours which resembles an artist palate. The Palace Tomb is the largest which is a imitation of a Roman Palace and stand 46metres in height.
Other points of interests include Obelisk Tomb, High place of Sacrifice, The Theatre, Royal Tombs, Sextius Florentinus Tomb, Qasr al- Bint, Colonnaded Street , Museum, and many more including the Monastery.
One needs at least a whole day or two here to explore before attempting the mammoth walk up 800 steps to the monastery.
The Petra Tourist information Centre is located just near the entrance gates to Petra. Its opened daily in summer between 6am - 6pm and in winter 6am - 4pm.
The information centre is modern and sells tickets and can arrange private guides that speak English , Italian, French, Greek and Arabic. Guides can be hired from about 10 JD.
Price of Tickets ( Jan 10) for 33 JD/pp for a one day pass, 38 JD for a two day pass
When buying your tickets its important to note the only currency accepted at the Visitor Center is the Jordanian Dinar. All brochures including maps about Petra can be found at the Tourist Information in different languages .
There is also a small souvenir shop at the center which sells local Jordanian handicrafts and gifts. The toliets are also located inside the building.
A tour of Petra by Night is open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 8:30-10:30pm and can be booked through the local hotels.
Plenty of taxis are available at the entrance to the gates if you happen to be staying up the hill in town and don't want to walk.
Wadi Rum is a great day trip from either Petra or Aqaba located 120 km south of Petra, and only 68 km north of Aqaba. The most popualar activities is sleeping in the desert, hiking, riding camels or Arab horses.
The village is home to several Bedouin tribes with their large goat-hair tents and houses , today mostly they run the tours around Wadi Rum.
Wadi Rum is best known for its setting in the film "Lawrence of Arabia" and its beautiful desert scenery with huge mountains of sandstone, sandy valleys , narrow canyons which creates a wonderland of rich desert wilderness with rich deep earthly ochre colours.
You can explore Wadi Rum by either camel, horse, foot or 4WD jeep. The best way is by jeep and the tour starts from the Vistors Centre and lasts from 2hrs or a full day.
The visitors centre is located opposite the Seven Pillars of Wisdom and its best to go here directly for all info.There is a smal entrance fee.
Buses run from Aqaba at 1pm and 3pm and from Petra at 6.30am arriving at 8am. Wadi Rum to Petra - 35JD leaves 8.30am Wadi Rum to central Aqaba - 25JD -7am.
The buses evidently are unreliable and you are best to hire a taxi / driver / guide / car or do a tour.
Driving in Amman is relevantly easy especially when you have a husband who loves to drive and finds it a huge challenge driving on the wrong side of the road.
Jordanians drive on the right-hand side of the road. Road signs are in Arabic and English.
Gasoline or petrol is called Benzene, and Super is called Khas.
All car rental companies can be hired at the Airport or in the city. However, it makes sense to just hire a car from the Airport for easy access to numerous destinations.
Driving in Amman can be difficult with heavy traffic and limited signs. I suggest hiring a GPS to get around if you are planning to drive in the city.
Driving outside of Amman is easy. All the roads are well sign posted in both Arabic and English and with limited traffic its basically a breeze to travel through Jordan on the roads.
Make sure you carry US $$ and JD$$ for petrol. We found it sometimes difficult to find a petrol station so make sure you have a FULL tank of petrol before setting off to explore.
Carry a bottle of water and a few snacks as finding a shop can also be difficult if travelling to Petra or Aqaba on the Desert Highway. ( there are NO McDonald's) along this route. Bring a roll of toilet paper too !
Distances : Allow time to enjoy your trip.
Amman to the Dead Sea ( Ishtar ) approx one hour.
Amman via Desert Hwy to Petra - approx 3hrs.
Amman via Kings Hwy to Petra - approx 5hrs.
Amman to Azzraq - approx 1.5hrs
Amman to Aqaba via Dead Sea Road - 3hrs
Amman via Desert Hwy - 4hrs.
Amman via Kings Hwy - 5hrs.
Amman to Madaba - approx 30mins.
Amman to Jerash - approx 40mins.
Amman to Karak - approx 2 hrs.
Amman to Wadi Rum - approx 4hrs.
Aqaba to Wadi Rum - approx 1hr
On arrival -
We had to pay a visa entry fee before entering customs. The booth/ counter is located just opposite customs. Make sure you have enough pages in your passport as the visa takes up half a page. Money changer is located next to the visa counter.
You are finger printed and photographed the same as USA. The flow went relevantly quickly and was uncomplicated.
Once outside after collecting luggage there is a offical controlling the taxi's. You can easily recognise him by his pads of paper. He will ask where you are going to and give you a receipt with the cost of the taxi. Our taxi to the Sheraton cost approx 19 Dinars and it takes approx 30 minutes on a good freeway with limited traffic.
On Departure -
This info is for business class or One World Alliance Members. Taxi drop off is easy, a porter will take your bags,(let him) you are then directed to business check in lounge which is separate from economy.
Check in and customs are completed in this little lounge. (same as the UK).The porter then escorts you through to the front of security.
Once through security you can then go directly to the lounge, which is located upstairs next to the duty free shops. Ladies are checked through security on a completely different aisle to the men but are still given the same privilege's.
UPDATE: The lounge has now totally renovated and looks lovely. We used their overnight rooms to have a short sleep and shower before catching our next flight to Cairo.
The cost - Single rate 50 USD for the first 4 hours,20 USD per each additional hour.
- Double rate 75 USD for the first 4 hours,30 USD per each additional hour.
- Payment by credit cards only (Amex, Visa, MasterCard).
Smoking is NOT allowed in the new lounge.
The AIRPORT is still being renovated - so its a little messy...
A Express shuttle bus runs from the airport every half an hour from 6:30 am to 5: pm and then a bus every one hour. Costs 3JD.
The following goods may be imported into Jordan without incurring customs duty:
200 cigarettes or 25 cigars or 200g of tobacco (a charge of JD3.750 for each additional 200 cigarettes, up to a maximum of 2000);
1 litre of alcohol (a charge of JD2.910 for each additional litre, up to a maximum of 4 litres);
gifts up to the value of JD50 or the equivalent to US$150.
Jordan's electricity supply is 220 volts/50 cycles AC. Sockets are generally of the two-pronged European variety, while a variety of other sockets and plugs's especially the 13 amp square three-pinned plugs are in use. Its best to bring a multi purpose adapter.