Jordan is a small country that sits at the crossroads between Asia, Africa and Europe. Because of its unique geographical location and the fact that it has been inhabited by humans dating back to the Paleolithic period, Jordan is a rich melting pot of history and culture. It also attracts a great deal of medical and religious tourism. Most importantly, however, Jordan is known for being a peaceful safe-haven in the Middle East.
From camel rides in Wadi Rum, one of the most beautiful deserts on earth, to mud treatments and floating in the Dead Sea, to an underwater spectacle for divers in the Red Sea at Aqaba and the amazing sandstone wonders of Petra, Jordan is the ideal destination for an off-the-beaten path adventure of epic proportions.
Start Off in Amman
Amman is the capital of Jordan and the start of most itineraries in the country. This vibrant city is an escapade in and of itself. Here your clients can explore the ruins of Jordan’s past—the Roman amphitheater, the Citadel and the Umayyad Palace. For those who want to dive a little deeper into the historical attributes of the area, I recommend a visit to the Archeological and Folklore Museum and the Jordan Museum. Rainbow Street is another highlight not to be missed. As one of Amman’s oldest suburbs, this colorful area intrigues visitors with unique architecture from the 20th century and flamboyant decor. The King Abdullah II Mosque is yet another great stop and an ideal place from which to watch the sunset and end a day in the city.
Yet no visit to Amman is complete without a walk (and ideally grabbing a bite) in the downtown area. Meandering through the souks and markets of the city-center is down-right fascinating. Your clients will truly feel the pulse of this amazing country as they make their way through the winding streets, lined with quaint shops and hole-in-the-wall restaurants serving up local specialties of hummus, labneh, falafel and more. The hustle and bustle of the area is palpable, and yet it’s only part of the excitement. The best part for me was the Jordanian hospitality. Anywhere your clients go, you can rest assured that they will be welcomed with a smile and probably some Bedouin tea and coffee. The locals are truly among the friendliest people we have ever encountered throughout our travels, and they love children. Shop owners gifted my little ones with small trinkets and toys in multiple shops; one older gentleman even gave up his seat on the side of a cafe and offered it to my 5-year-old son. It’s lovely to feel welcomed when one is so far from home, and even more so to know that your clients will be welcomed there with open arms.
Beyond Amman, Jerash, Madaba and Mt Nebo are all must-do day trips within easy reach of the city. And of course, the Dead Sea, Petra, Wadi Rum and Aqaba are absolutely not to be missed, but they are definitely more of a full-day excursion. If your clients have the flexibility, I would suggest at least two nights in each of these, except Wadi Rum, where one night would suffice.
A Luxurious Stay with an Arabic Feel
Jordan has many attributes, but variety in lodging is not one of them. There is little to no selection when it comes to boutique hotels, so I highly recommend staying at a five-star resort for the best overall experience. Set on hilltop overlooking the city, the Four Seasons Hotel Amman is the very best hotel in not only Amman, but in all of Jordan. And what a treat it is to discover the wonders of Jordan from this home base.
The epitome of modern luxury with a touch of Arabic flair, the Four Seasons Hotel Amman features expansive guestrooms and suites with panoramic views of the city. For families, one can book adjoining rooms, some of which combine an executive suite with a premium room for superior comfort. This room combination has a shared corridor with one main entrance door for additional privacy. The executive suites boast a complete living area with a sectional sofa, plenty of room to enjoy a movie night after a day of exploring. The hotel underwent an extensive refresh recently, and the guestrooms, as well as the common areas, exude a welcoming elegance. True to Jordanian hospitality and typical Four Seasons service, the staff is genuinely kind, friendly and exceptionally accommodating. They greeted our family with homemade macaroons for the adults and personalized chocolate treats for the children. It’s the little things.
A stay at the Four Seasons Hotel Amman is inclusive of breakfast, and what a sumptuous buffet it is. Complete with a large variety of Mediterranean and American dishes and a live egg and pancake station, this is one meal your clients will not want to miss. The culinary options don’t end there though, as the hotel is also home to La Capitale, a French brasserie that hosts guest chefs from around the world regularly; its menu changes seasonally. I highly recommend the steak frites (steak and fries) and the moules farcies (stuffed broiled mussels), but it’s one of those restaurants where you just know you can’t go wrong with any choice. Their specialty cocktails are amazing as well. My husband and I don’t normally enjoy champagne, yet we tried the lavender Champagne cocktail, and we still reminisce about it today!
The Four Seasons HOtel Amman offers an indoor (heated) and outdoor pool, a spa, fitness room and a squash court. At the spa, your clients can enjoy massages, body treatments, facials and nail treatments for both men and women. Their signature Nabatean treatment is to die for. This locally inspired ritual founded in ancient Nabatean traditions uses olive seeds, and oud and argan oils for a full body rejuvenation.
Overall, we couldn’t have been more pleased with our stay at the Four Seasons Hotel Amman. It is an absolute oasis of relaxation and a great jumping-off point from which to access all that Jordan has to offer.
Getting To & Around Jordan
Royal Jordanian operates nonstop flights to Amman from a handful of major cities on the east coast, but getting to Jordan will be easier in 2022, as United Airlines is launching nonstop service from Washington Dulles in May 2022. Once in Amman, we felt quite safe traveling with small children throughout Jordan for two weeks. However, I would say that the roads are the only safety issue we witnessed. Driving in Jordan can be a bit erratic, with no observance of street markings or signs by local drivers. The sights and main attractions are spread out throughout the country, and although one could hire a car and self-drive (if your clients are true adventurers), I highly recommend hiring a driver or booking through a tour company.
As for the current COVID-19 entry requirements:
– All travelers entering Jordan, whether vaccinated or not, are required to bring a negative PCR test from the country of departure taken within 72 hours prior to departure.
– All travelers must complete an online entry form (visitjordan.gov.jo/form) to obtain a personal QR code, which is mandatory for boarding.
– Non-Jordanians must obtain health/travel insurance and upload the policy to the online form.
– All travelers will be required to undergo a COVID-19 test upon arrival in Jordan at their own expense of 20 JD (approximately US$28), which is prepaid online while completing the entry form.
– Children under 5 years old are not required to apply online and are exempt from the COVID testing requirement.
– More information is available at gateway2jordan.gov.jo/index.html.
For more information on the country, visit myjordanjourney.com.
For the author’s experience in the Maldives, click here.
This story originally appeared in worldstompers.com, a family travel website created to inspire families with kids to expand their idea of adventures. You can follow the adventures of the Bazavilvazo family @worldstompers on Instagram and The Worldstompers on Facebook.