Jordan Gems


I did a quick 4 day tour of the sights of Jordan for Eid break, at the end of Ramadan. The boutique and stylish hotels are a bit thin on the ground in the capital Amman. I found a slick property by the Gulf based Rotana Group, The Boulevard Arjaan, in new Downtown. They have 390 apartments over 4 buildings in a new restaurant and shopping precinct, The Boulevard. The upgrade to a 1 bedroom apartment was well received.

It’s refreshing to find an apartment hotel in the Middle East with a funky urban edge and no reference to overdone  Arabic decorative motifs. Charcoal wall panels, mixed with soft blues and greys gives generous spaces a slightly masculine edge. The geometry is simple a planar with a nice flow to the apartments. I like the clever layout of my one bedder, as the powder room was connected to the ensuite, saving on space and sanitary fittings, whilst creating a circular journey where you don’t have to backtrack. All the doors were sliding panels, so you are shifting planes to redefine the space.

At the other end of the spectrum, at other end of the country, is the Bedouin style camp accommodation to be had in the spectacular Wadi Rum Desert. After a big day wandering around Petra in the sun, (with a sensible Umbrella as protection) I rested at Bait Ali Lodge. Pretty basic chalets, but the communal spaces are welcomingly Arabic, perfect for telling stories. And the only Bedouin camp with a pool to cool off. It was great to get lost in this incredible landscape. A definite second visit required.

I can’t do a travel post without sharing pics of Jordan’s rich architectural heritage. The ancient city of Petra, established  312 BC as the capital city of the Arab Nabataeans, cut into the rock cliffs of  narrow valley which flourished from its position on ancient trade routes. Tourism has bought a hectic energy to the amazing place, with people trying to sell you donkey rides or Bedouin trinkets, giving you a feeling for what the hustle and bustle of the living city would have been like 2000 years ago. If you go, I recommend staying high up above the adjacent town, Wadi Musa so you can experience the ancient city at by candlelight.

The other images above are from one of the best preserved Romans cities, Jerash in the fertile north. Which was was founded by Alexander the Great in 331 BC for his general Perdiccas, and aged Macedonian soldiers. It was conquered by the Romans in 63 BC and city was heavily developed to the ruins visible today, under Emperor Hadrian around AD 106, prior to his visit. The ruins to be seen include Hadrians arch, 2 theatres, a hippodrome, Temples to Zues and Artemis, an oval forum, 2 colonnaded shopping streets, a Nymphaeum and 14 Byzantine churches. Well worth the hour drive from Amman.

Images of Rotana are from Google and all other photos are by the author.

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