As a spa and massage enthusiast, the Dead Sea is like the Holy Land that I must visit at least once in my lifetime. And here I am. The very thought of floating freely in the Dead Sea really excites me! Not to mention the mud-bath, mineral salt scrub, spa and massage that is so much associated with the Dead Sea.
Here’s some interesting fact about the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea is the lowest body of water on earth, the lowest point on earth and the world’s richest source of natural sea mineral that was accumulated over thousands of years. Thousands of people come to the Dead Sea for the fun of floating at the lowest point of the earth but there are also a lot of people who come to the Dead Sea to seek and find cures for their skin or health problems.
The drive from Evason Ma’In Hot Spring Resort, which was our last hotel, is less than 30 minutes. The Dead Sea is actually a long lake straddling between Jordan and Palestine.
Along the long stretch of water, you will see three 5 stars luxury hotels side by side (namely, the Kempinski, Movenpick & Marriott). More hotels are being built alongside these few hotels.
We stayed at the Jordan Valley Marriott Resort & Spa. Being a 5 stars luxury hotel brand, you would expect a certain standard of customer service but unfortunately, I could only say that this hotel fall short.
Nice comfortable hotel room
The resort has numerous swimming pools
Breakfast restaurant – Not impressed by food nor service
Nobody offered to help us carry our luggage after we walked through the Security counter x-ray scanner at the main entrance. Our luggage was left lying on the X-ray scanner despite a few bellhops standing around the lobby area. They were more interested in chatting with each other.
At the front desk area, only one receptionist was doing the check in & check out. This despite being a few hundred rooms hotel and being 1pm which is the peak period for check-in/out. This was obviously not an isolated incident because when I was checking out at 1pm the next day, the same scenario was played out.
The Jordan Valley Marriott Resort & Spa sits on a large land area. The various amenities and facilities are well spread out and were designed to provide great views overlooking the Dead Sea. The hotel lobby area is spacious with Arabian theme decor and there are several restaurants, spa facilities, a few spacious swimming pool and chill-out areas in and around the resort.
The room we had was a good size with a comfortable king size bed, thick carpets and wooden furnishing. The hotel only provide one small bottle of complimentary drinking water and the rest of the same brand (4 bottles) in the fridge were chargeable. The breakfast spread at the hotel was reasonable except that we were surprised that the bread were not fresh at all. We even feed back to the restaurant manager (who was seen chit chatting with staff all morning) but no apology was offered. At least he was honest; he admitted that the bread was 2 days old!
The SPA facilities include an indoor pool with water from the Dead Sea, a heated lap pool and a Jacuzzi pool. The use of the spa facilities costs 19 JOD. Other spa facilities include a sauna, steam room, relaxation lounge and gym. The spa also offer a wide range of therapeutic treatments ranging from massage to body treatments using products from the Dead Sea. There is also a couple treatment room that faces the Dead Sea where guests could watch the sun set & relax in the room after their massage.
The Spa at Marriot
The couple room overlook the Dead Sea
We did not manage to book a treatment as the spa was fully booked on the 2 days that we were there. The Spa seems to be particularly popular during Winter as there were many day-guests from Amman and not just hotel guests. Word of advice for spa enthusiasts: Please make prior booking if you want a spa or massage treatment even before your arrival.
Each of the 3 luxury hotels have their own private area of Dead Sea beach. For the Jordan Valley Marriott Resort, access to the Dead Sea is a path at the end of the property to the private beach area which is exclusively for Marriott hotel guests.
The beach at the Marriott hotel is a stone beach and not sand or mud. Luckily, the hotel provide tubs of Dead Sea natural mud, obviously extracted from other parts of the Dead Sea, and were placed on the beach area for guests to use freely. You could rub yourself in mud and/or float in the Dead Sea for as long as you wish. It is almost impossible to swim in the Dead Sea and it is really true that you can read a book or drink a cup of coffee while floating in the Dead Sea!
Private Dead Sea access from the hotel
Floating in the Dead Sea
Dead Sea Mud. No smell. Just apply direct onto body
Scary: The skin is creased after the mud dries
Look at the amount of dried salt after dipping in the Dead Sea
Word of wise advice when you plan to float at the Dead Sea:
1. Wear a slipper or dive boot. The beach is made up of small and sharp stones.
2. Don’t swim if you have cuts. Cuts and scratches are magnified a hundred times due to the extreme salt content.
Other useful word of advice when visiting the Dead Sea:
1. Buy your favourite Dead sea spa products elsewhere. Prices are much higher here.
2. Better yet, bring your own plastic bag and grab the free mud. Many guests did that.
3. Buy your favourite drinks and snacks before arrival. There is not a single convenience shop around.
4. Do not try the Chinese food at the next door Movenpick hotel. Worst Chinese food ever.
Due to the Dead Sea area being below sea-level, weather in the Dead Sea tend to be warmer than the rest of Jordan. Even then, the December weather was a bit chilly to be hanging out at the pool or lounges. I could only afford to spend a short time dipping in the Dead Sea to avoid catching a cold.
You can thus get a bit bored. If you do get bored, you can also do some hotel hopping by asking the front desk to arrange to drop you off at the other nearby hotels.
The Marriott Resort is a large, clean and comfortable hotel. However, I also find it a relatively sterile hotel, where staff seems to lack the smile factor and where chatting between staff seems to be more interesting than serving guests. You can’t go wrong by staying at a Marriott hotel. However, do not expect anything outstanding, not at this branch.
Address of hotel: Dead Sea Road, Sweimeh, Jordan