Travel is in the dreaming, anticipating and in the manifesting of a journey. It is in the allure, the premonition and the mysticism that defines the experience much before it actually takes shape.
If you are are a fan of the mystique then its greatest incarnation is the city of Petra. The crown jewel of Jordan is maddeningly dramatic, to say the least.
The city has always enjoyed a heightened popularity and it is no happenstance that it has been conferred as a wonder of the world. Innumerable tourists visit everyday and share their experiences. A little research and you would know exactly what to do here. When visiting a place as popular, there is very slim chance that something unexpected would come your way. In a city that has an unparalleled offering that overshadows almost everything by far, we managed to find something that stood tall, a true gem, it was our hotel here, a really pleasant surprise.
A ten-minute drive through a winding uphill road from the city centre gets you to the Petra Marriott. Perched atop a mountain, the hotel overlooks the Petra valley and offers a stunning view of the mountains.
As you approach the hotel, the middle-eastern architecture is reminiscent of a fort from the bygone era. The interiors, while chic, modern and grand do not fail to aver its middle-eastern roots.
The lobby lead to a lounge and this was the first time we got a glimpse of the jaw dropping view of the valley. With our eyes firmly glued to the view, we entered the elevator to our rooms with our backs towards it.
The room was all you would expect from a Marriott. The view, however, was beyond words, all we did when we entered the room was run straight to the windows.
In the evening we went to the terrace to view the sunset. Adjacent to the pool, there is a beautiful mini garden that opens up to the valley. The gentle breeze brushing your face, the valley turning orange with the sun descending and the golden lights from the town below turning bright; the transition all so perfectly synchronised. The calm here was dichotomous to the bustle of the city below.
As the night set in, it got brisk and we went to the lounge and grabbed us a pot of bedouin tea. The lounge connects the lobby to the terrace and restaurants. The hotel houses a contemporary bar and two restaurants and an out door barbecue.
We dined at the middle-eastern restaurant called Dushara. The food was exquisite – we were served supremely crafted delicacies from the regions around. Cooked to perfection and expertly presented, we could not have asked for more; when it comes to fine middle-eastern cuisine, this restaurant certainly tops our list. It was simply outstanding.
The next morning, when we opened the curtains and looked out of the window, it took us a while to grasp onto what was happening outside. The valley had patches of white. It was snowing! It had snowed the entire night.
Snow in Petra! you could read the thesaurus twice over and still would fail to find a word to describe the heightened joy and thrill on the kids’ faces. We geared up and stormed to the deck.
While our younger one was still baffled and acclimatising to the cold, our older one couldn’t stop smiling.
After an intense hour of finding innovative ways of hitting each other with the fresh snow around, we went to the restaurant adjacent to the pool for our breakfast. “Breakfast with a view” in the flesh; an incredible early morning view of the valley is complemented with an elaborated breakfast spread.
Given the weather, we had to stall our plans of visiting the city today and decided to stay indoors. The hotel also houses an incredible Hamam, Godsent on a cold day. We were so glad that we chose this hotel.
The next morning was considerably bright. At sunrise, as first light hit the valley, it magnificently illuminated the peak of the tallest mountain there. The mountain is called Jabal Harun and at its summit stands a white domed mosque that was built in the 14th century to commemorate Prophet Aaron (Prophet Moses’ younger brother). Every morning at sunrise, as the light hits the peak, it looks absolutely surreal.
We visited the city today and came back totally mesmerised.
The following morning after breakfast, we went to deck one last time to bid adieu.
Sure, the charisma of the old city of Petra is unmistakable and visiting it was an unforgettable experience, but I will also, with the same conviction and without an iota of a doubt say that whenever there is mention of Petra, the first memory that would come to us would be the look on the children’s faces when they discovered that it was snowing in valley.
Thank you for the memories