A 90 minute drive to the south of Amman, past the revered baptismal site of Christ “Bethany Beyond the Jordan” gets you to a land-locked lake called the dead sea. At 417m below the sea level, it is the lowest point on earth. Albeit the lowest point elevation wise; of tremendous magnitude, is the conspiracy of nature and history presented here.
Aside from the Dead Sea’s dramatic and gorgeous setting; its waters have been known throughout history for their therapeutic properties. Legend has it that Queen of Sheba was the first to believe in their healing powers. This was followed by Cleopatra who travelled from Egypt to built world’s first spa here. From Aristotle to the Roman emperor Marcus Antonious, there have been many that were enthralled by the mystery of the dead sea.
Owing to its low elevation, the water gets trapped and evaporates at a very high rate ergo the most mineral rich water in the world is left behind. The salinity of the water is about 33% compared to 3% in seawater; high salinity coupled with a high mineral balance of the water give you the most therapeutic water in the world with tremendous healing capabilities.
As you approach the site, the ocean side of the road is laced with luxury hotels. Here, in a serene corner, is the grand hotel of Kempinski Ishtar Dead Sea. Inspired by Babylonian architecture, the hotel is an immaculate ode to luxury and serenity that is brilliantly complemented with an exceptional service standard. Designed as a tribute to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the hotel is essentially a conglomeration of grand Arabesque monumental buildings made from local stones. As you get to the entrance, you can really appreciate that it has grandeur and flair ingrained into its very core
Laced with fresh flowers, the refreshing grand lobby opens up to a terrace with a spectacular view
The rooms had an an Arabian theme which, seamlessly blended with modern décor. Very tastefully done up indeed. Right outside our room was a temperature controlled moon shaped celestial pool. It was gorgeous and had a beautiful backdrop of the dead sea. During the evenings the sunsets were magnificent and with the night time illumination it was absolutely stunning.
We walked through this fantastic hotel to the beach. Truly amazed as how humongous the property was and every corner was so immaculately designed.
As the beach got closer, the higher was the temptation was to run in. The guards sensed that and advised us to walk in, it is really different than running into the sea. Two things happen simultaneously when you enter the water; it stings (especially on the first dip but it dies out soon) and you realise that you are floating. You feel discombobulated and amazed at the same time; just be sure not to drift away.
The staff is always there to assist you and they are ready with soft salts and mud collected of the shores which you can apply on yourself after the dip.
Famished after our first dip we went to nearby restaurant – an exquisite Italian grill called the Akkad Bar. There are a couple of pools and a heli pad there. The kids loved the helicopters coming in.
We had completely lost the sense of time; enchanted, I guess. The riveting dead sea was perfectly complemented by the serenity, flair and magnanimity our hotel here. Two days here had just zipped by, but it was one our most invigorating and enchanting experiences. Wonderful memories; a von of the fantastic!
Next Stop – Wadi Rum, stay with us