It was only a few years ago we stayed in Jordan’s southernmost Red Sea resort town of Aqaba in one of the handful of luxury hotels open at the time and saw the constructions of a large private estate called Saraya Aqaba underway.
On this most recent visit the peaceful Saraya Lagoon is looking more like a royal estate just ten minutes walking from the center of Aqaba. The hotel is just one of the many that will occupy this fantastic development, but it is certainly one that makes an impression.
From the moment of check in we felt a sense of hospitality and generosity. The room upgrade had already been done, staff made sure they were ready for our early arrival and everyone seemed to know my name, an impressive feat in such a large property.
For those wondering what’s in Aqaba, it sits just around a three hour drive from the capital of Amman and and hour and a half from Petra. It is very easy to arrive to on one of the country’s two main highways and it has breathtaking views of the Red Sea, one of the best diving and coral reef sites in the world. Aqaba is modernizing but still has a lot of old time charm. It is the site of some ancient ruins including what is considered the oldest Christian church in the world.
This luxury collection enjoys a beautiful lagoon/Sea and mountain view on either side, its been open little more than a year and it has excellent hospitality, culinary, wellness and beachfront amenities. The prices are a good value for the brand of hotel also.
The room follows the decor of the hotel’s lobby which is a fusion of traditional Jordanian and modern Estate. The modern estate is high ceilings, white walls with rich paneling and light stone floors and the traditional Jordanian is plush carpets, antique bronze furnishings and rich red and black patterned cloth and prints in the upholstery.
The daily breakfast is full of healthy options from which to choose. Middle Eastern, Asian and Western Dishes. This venue transforms throughout the day into the hotel’s main all-day dining restaurant: Taybeh Al Manara. Its focus is Northern Mediterranean cuisine. Kubba Levantin is a family style Middle Eastern restaurant. We availed ourselves of the hotel’s room service on several occasions and the food was delivered punctually and with excellent flavor. The main attraction for food and Beverage is the waterfront bar and seafood restaurant Amwaj, with seafood caught locally.
The gym had top notch machines and beautiful floor to ceiling windows which gave the space a fresh feel. The wellness area is situated on the edge of the hotel property so that it can be enjoyed by Westin guests when the sister property opens. This was the only disappointment of the whole experience.
The spa is quite small and guests having treatments have priority to access the steam, sauna and jacuzzi amenities. Guests who want to use the facilities need to book times in advance and space is very limited. If it is so limited now, how will it be when the Westin opens? This needs attending to.
Otherwise the experience of the hotel was fantastic, the room was an abode of tranquility, the staff met our every need, from packing a departure breakfast to our request, to even getting us reunited with an item we had left behind, coordinating transport in less than 48 hours to our new hotel in Amman, the culture among the managers and workers was absolutely praiseworthy.