Bordering Jordan, Israel, and the West Bank, the Dead Sea is 431 metres below sea level, making it the lowest point on Earth. It’s not actually a sea at all, but a colossal land-locked lake anchored in the desert like an intensely blue oasis, surrounded by a ruffled crust of pure white salt. The Dead Sea is truly not one to miss while on your Jordan holidays. What’s more, it’s not only the lowest point on dry land but also the saltiest and most mineral-rich body of water in the world – so much so, its dense, black mud is used in restorative spa therapies in some of the area’s top-notch spa resorts – it’s nature’s very own health spa. The Dead Sea is so salty; ‘swimming’ in the lake is actually something of a misnomer, as the naturally buoyant waters mean you’ll bob leisurely rather than swim laps. The low altitude also means filtered ultra-violet rays from the sun and air that’s richer in oxygen due to its barometric pressure.
Save for a few swaying palms, the surrounding desert is largely barren – though there’s a stunning contrast between the baked earth and the wide blue skies. There are also fantastic sunsets which stain the horizon a deep, burnished gold. But there’s more to the area than salt and sand: all around there are many spectacular oases and a number of important historic sites. An easy drive from Amman and Madaba, it’s a perfect stop-off on Jordan holidays, where you can enjoy pampering as well as visiting one of the world’s most intriguing natural wonders. It’s the perfect wind-down after Jordan adventure holidays in Petra or Wadi Rum. Read on to discover the perfect Dead Sea spa resort for you…
Mövenpick Dead Sea Resort
With its desert-inspired architecture, Mövenpick Dead Sea Resort blends beautifully into the surrounding ochre-hued landscape. Built on the north-eastern shores of the Dead Sea, the five-star resort is close to the Earth’s lowest point and yet just over half an hour from the country’s largest airport near Amman. It’s surrounded by 20 acres of gardens, kept beautifully green all year round, and built from creamy stone resembling the country’s older-style buildings. The resort is more laid back than other luxury spa hotels on the Dead Sea, but service is still attentive – you’ll want for nothing more from your Jordan holidays: a wide array of swimming pools, tennis courts, a beach and a vast spa covering 6,000 square metres, with a whopping 31 treatment rooms, a gym, juice bar and choice of over 70 treatments. The rocky shore of the Dead Sea can be accessed via a wooden ramp, where there are pots of natural mud to cover yourself in. It’s a big resort with 346 rooms, but each one is well-equipped and comfortable with a terrace or balcony.
Kempinski Hotel Ishtar
The Kempinski Hotel Ishtar is widely regarded as one of the best hotels in Jordan: it’s home to the largest spa in the Middle East, where you can get Thai massages as well as treatments using mud and salt from the Dead Sea. The more exclusive Ishtar area of the resort has a separate check-in – like a hotel within a hotel, it feels very upscale and great if you enjoy the finer things in life – but wherever you choose to stay, you’ll enjoy the best position on the coast and a Gardens-of-Babylon-style design that flows down the hill to the lake. While there’s direct access to the Dead Sea, the five-star resort has its own man-made beach – the longest in Jordan – and the nine swimming pools are some of the best you’ll ever swim in, with stunning views over the Dead Sea. You’ll also get amazing views from every one of the sleek, salmon-hued bedrooms: they all overlook the lakeshore and the milky waters. If you’re looking for luxury while on your Jordan holidays, look no further.
Hot Springs Ma’in
If you prefer to stay in a more traditional hotel, Hot Springs Ma’in is surrounded by rugged mountains, rising from the scenery like a serene oasis. It’s 30 minutes’ drive from the Dead Sea so you’ll need to make a short transfer, but the distance means you’ll enjoy the striking landscapes of the interior. The spa is spectacular: set under a hot spring waterfall that gives the resort its name. Mineral-rich waters cascade into the spa pool below, where you can enjoy a relaxing dip after exploring the saline waters of the Dead Sea, and it’s run by Six Senses – a world authority on indulgent spoiling – so you can be sure you’re in good hands. Dining experiences are more authentic here too: tuck in to traditional Zarb cuisine at Olive, housed in a Bedouin tent, try local wines and cheeses at The Cellar, or make a trip offsite to Panorama Restaurant, set atop a rocky outcrop with striking views across the Dead Sea – a visit for sunset is a must.
Hilton Dead Sea Resort & Spa
The Hilton hotel brand is renowned the world over, so of course, it has its own slice of real estate on the Dead Sea. Hilton Dead Sea Resort & Spa is the first Hilton hotel in Jordan and it’s got a great location too, with a huge lobby that looks out across the Dead Sea as far as neighbouring Israel. Access to the lake is direct, so you can take a dip whenever the mood strikes, as staying here affords access to the only floating pontoon and sun deck – great for soaking up those filtered rays! The infinity pool is pretty special, too. All of the hotel’s rooms have been designed to promote maximum relaxation, with a big terrace overlooking the lake, comfy beds and Satellite TV. It’s the most family-friendly hotel on the shore, so ideal if you’re travelling with little ones who can make use of the children’s pool and supervised kids’ club. If you’re looking for more grown-up activities, try a treatment at the spa, a drink at the swim-up pool bar or a slap-up meal at one of the seven restaurants.
Jordan Valley Marriot Resort & Spa
Jordan Valley Marriot Resort & Spa stays faithful to its surroundings with stone walls and wooden towers, with a courtyard-style square – it feels like a traditional Jordanian home, but inside the lobby sparkles with white columns and guest rooms and suites are modern and expansive with marble bathrooms and big floor-to-ceiling windows opening to a balcony. While the main draw is, of course, the Dead Sea, if you’re looking to spend a few days here you’ll find day trips to the Mujib Nature Reserve or River Jordan easily accessible from the resort. There’s everything you need on your doorstep: a lively atmosphere surrounding the various pools, six restaurants and bars and a huge spa with steam room and an indoor pool filled with water from the Dead Sea. The food here is excellent: breakfast buffets at Mosaico Restaurant are a Bacchanalian affair, lunch is equally bountiful with plenty of salads, pasta, and desserts. Dinners could include fine Italian dining at Il Terrazzo.
Whether you’re looking for an authentic experience amid spectacular landscapes or want to be able to toe the saline shore at your own convenience, there are plenty of Jordan holidays available. Contact our resident expert Catherine who will be more than happy to share her expert advice and build a holiday that’s tailor-made for you.