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“Not for the Fussy!”
Review of Alcazar Hotel

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Alcazar Hotel
Ranked #34 of 40 Hotels in Aqaba
Munich, Germany
Level Contributor
96 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
“Not for the Fussy!”
Reviewed 5 November 2012

The Cazar Hotel is one of those hotels from the 1970s/80s that has lost its former glory. It is all a bit run down, but still functioning fairly well. It is one of those hotels I could not recommend, but one in which I felt at home - maybe some left-over sentiment from my backpacker days! It is ideally located in the tourist district of Aqaba within walking distance of the centre, the (not so welcoming public) beach and surrounded by lots of restaurants and cafés. The rooms are clean and comfortable, the lift works, the people on reception were friendly and helpful and the view from our room was veritably panoramic. So what is the problem, one might ask. The public areas of the hotel are all a bit grubby: dusty, motheaten carpets, signs to amenities that no longer exist and huge rooms in darkness that nobody uses anymore. The place could do with a coat of paint, the pool, although refreshingly cool, and all its facilities are in desperate need of renovation. The traffic was loud and the breakfast buffet came in dribs and drabs. Nevertheless for the budget-minded traveller the Cazar is still a definite option.

Room Tip: Take a room high up overlooking the pool - nice view
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  • Stayed October 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Paul M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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54 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (8)
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English first
Caen, france
Level Contributor
32 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 April 2012

The Alcazar, where to begin. I have stayed there twice once for a honeymon in 1996 and once for an 8 week vacation in 2000. The owners, assuming Gill still has it, are fantastic, the staff are so helpful and caring. Nothing too much trouble. The diving was superb, the loacation, for 40jd a night couldn't be better (remember what we get in Europe for 40 euros night) All in all an excellent economy option for the centre of Aqaba. If you want the movenpick, pay for the Movenpick. The Alcazar is a no frills hotel in the centre of town. Enjoy it for what it is and if you have a problem with sheets or towels or your own uptight attitude let them know and I am sure they will do something about it.

Room Tip: front facing room essential
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  • Stayed May 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank iancw65
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
32 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 October 2011

I booked this hotel after reading about it in Lonely Planet, and I then read the reviews on tripadvisor- and desperately tried to change my booking but it was the day before so no prompt replies from the other hotels! And so I thought how bad can just one night there be?!

Taxis in Aqaba:
My flight from Amman was delayed and so I landed late at night and had an altercation with the taxi driver which was very unpleasant. From the airport you should pay 8JD to Al Cazar Hotel which is in the Down Town area – this is a set price as listed on a board at the airport – and max 10JD but the taxi driver was demanding 15JD and getting very ugly about it. Staying at Al Cazar I was obviously on a budget! However, it is standard practice in Aqaba to negotiate your fare before you enter the taxi (I thought this wasn’t necessary as the price was listed on the taxi board at the airport right next to the parked taxis, and also there was only one tiny sentence about it in my guide book) but do make sure you do this as it will keep things from turning ugly.

Check in and first impressions:
I entered the hotel reception and gave my details. I asked for a room at the front of the hotel, as per tripadvisor reviews, so that I could see the view out over the sea. I was told to leave my luggage at reception and go and check the room first. I was shown to the room by a teenager who was smoking the whole time, even in the tiny ancient lift.

Once I had walked through the hotel and saw the room I realized that some people probably just leave as soon as they see it, hence the reason for leaving the luggage at reception! However, I was exhausted, and just wanted to sleep, figuring I would be leaving first thing in the morning anyway.

My first impressions of the hotel: dilapidated, tired, falling apart, careworn, bedraggled, dirty, ancient, empty, forgotten. I wondered what I was doing there.

The room and bathroom:
There was rust in the bathroom, limescale over all the plugs, looked like it hadn’t been used or cleaned in a very long time, I didn’t have hot water for my shower, the towels were stiff and rough but plenty were provided. The toilet did work!

The bedding was ok, I checked it first due to previous reviews. The cover was musty but the sheets seemed clean and fresh. The bed was very soft and ‘dented’ and it felt like I was sleeping in a hammock. The pillows weren’t great., quite hard. The bedside lamp did not work.

There was a fridge in the room – didn’t work. There was a tv in the room – I didn’t turn it on so not sure if it worked. There was aircon in the room – I checked it (as other reviewers said theirs didn’t work) and it did work , and I did need it at night.

The view out of the windows was lovely, and there was a tiny balcony. However, being a Thursday night (weekend) my plan was foiled because the hotel is on a main road leading into the town and the cars were tooting and hooting up and down it all night with music blaring, people talking and laughing and shouting …. Needless to say sleep eluded me.

Breakfast:
And so to breakfast the next morning. This was self-service in a room at the back of the hotel. It looked like someone had just thrown the paper napkins, knives and forks down onto the tables.

As to the breakfast itself, this was a pretty standard Arabic breakfast fare from what I had at other hotels on my trip. There was an urn with hot water in it, and little jars with teabags / coffee / sugar / milk powder in them for morning tea and coffee. Some Arabic bread with a selection of hummous and soft cheese. Some sliced cucumber and tomatoes. Some juice.

There were people smoking in the breakfast room. I ate as quickly as I could and left.

Next day impressions:
In the morning things looked better than the night before. The hotel does have a certain charm with the old decor and hidden corners but it is urgently in need of refurbishment and financing, and I cannot imagine how it makes any money - and that is quite sad as you can see the hints of what it used to be.

There are small actions which show that the staff there care about their hotel – plants are in pots, weeded and watered, looked after.

Positives about the hotel:

1. The day-time staff: Yvonne who was so helpful from when I first contacted her about my booking to assisting with my plans for snorkeling the next day and making sure that I got on the correct bus
2. The location – just a short walk up the street to the older down town area of Aqaba, with little eateries, and shops.
3. The price of course – I paid 20JD for my bed & breakfast. I paid this on check-out and was not forced to pay it on check-in as a previous reviewer had to
4. Wi-fi in the reception area – 1JD per hour now

About the snorkeling location:
This was at Club Murjan, situated on a public beach a short drive out of town. The bus picks you up from the hotel at 9am, and does collections from a few other hotels in Aqaba on the way. You drive through the town and past the beach area of the town (lovely greenery and pathways to walk along the shore) and then past the port out of town.

You pay 16JD at the hotel for the bus trip, the snorkel equipment hire, and entrance to the club. The club also has a swimming pool and conducts diving courses.

The people at the club were very friendly and helpful. They had dive instructors from all over the world.

I was issued my snorkel equipment and given basic instructions about the use and where I should snorkel. This was only my second time snorkeling and I was travelling alone. There was a very strong wind that day which made the sea quite wavy and pretty much blew you in one direction. After the reef the depth of the sea floor dropped quite a bit and I must admit I was fairly nervous. It was not a calm fairly shallow sea for snorkeling, as I have experienced before.

There were plenty of locals swimming happily though, some other snorkelers. If you are female wear a t-shirt and shorts to avoid unwanted attention from local men. There was also the option to hire a wetsuit from the club, as with the wind it was fairly chilly out there (not free when I asked about it, as a previous reviewer said)

From my point of view, if you are a newbie at snorkeling and the day you have picked for it is quite windy, rather take a trip from Aqaba on a glass-bottomed boat! I didn’t spend much time in the water, and lazed by the pool at the club with a book, although at the end of the morning the staff realized this and kindly offered to go with me and show me the reef, but the bus for departure was due to arrive shortly (at noon) so I didn’t do this.

Conclusion:
I then left Aqaba to go to Wadi Rum for the afternoon and on to Petra so wasn't long in Aqaba. If I was staying more than 1 night in Aqaba, and had had more time to plan my trip then I would have stayed elsewhere. The Al Cazar was fine for a budget overnight stop but not for longer.

  • Stayed October 2011, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank stardustvoyager
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers are raving about these Aqaba hotels

Brighton
Level Contributor
22 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 July 2011

similar to all Aqaba 2 stars hotels, beds are awful nasty bed sheets very very old and dated. dirty pool and rubbish breakfast. staff are nice but what difference does it make when every thing else is bad. also its not cheap 30 -35 JOD per night. on the other hand its in the middle of city & a walking distance from the public beach and shops. if you are looking for a nice relaxing place this is not the right hotel for you.

  • Stayed July 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank jovani_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nottingham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
92 reviews
54 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 May 2011

We stayed in the Alcazar for two nights paying 40JD per night for a double room. The plus points of the hotel are that there is plentiful free shady parking just outside the hotel, it’s in a great location for exploring Aqaba town and the room had very good air con.

However, as other reviewers have mentioned the hotel is way past its prime - the rooms were dark and the carpets filthy, I made a mistake of walking bare foot after a shower and we feet were black, the towels provided were crusty, the breakfast room was dirty and I decided not to eat anything due other guests touching and coughing over the food. We also found some of the staff to be unhelpful i.e. we asked for directions and we told to look at a map and you have to pay the full amount on check-in, as we had just arrived we didn't have enough cash and the receptionist was very reluctant to let us in the room to drop our bags before going to the ATM.

Its also worth noting that access to Club Murjun is no longer free as suggested in some guidebooks - you pay 7JD for entry, 7JD for snorkelling equipment (including wetsuit on request) and 2JD for transport - the price was worth it as I would have been uncomfortable as a western women on the public beach (despite being dressed modestly) but there were lots of flies at the club and there is no private access to a beach so definitely get a wetsuit to avoid feeling uncomfortable.

Overall, I wouldn't stay here again, it may be cheaper than other places in Aqaba but its not good value and we got much more for our money elsewhere - to be honest I'd give Aqaba a miss, we nicknamed it Benidorm of the Middle East i.e. McDonalds, English pubs etc. We only visited for snorkelling but this is much better from Egypt - your time can be better spent elsewhere in Jordan.

Room Tip: Stay elsewere.
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  • Stayed April 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank ClaireLouEngland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Oxford
Level Contributor
64 reviews
45 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 May 2011

We stayed here for one night as I'd made a mess of dates with the hotel we should have been staying in. It was a pretty hideous place - run down and grubby with fraying carpets, dirty walls, stained bedlinen and a poor breakfast. the window onto our small balcony was covered in greasy handprints and marks where people had rested their heads. Our room was also noisy as it overlooked a busy street. Its only saving grace was that it was pretty cheap and it had a pool. To me, this was barely backpacker standard accommodation but, as a one night stopgap, it was just about ok.

  • Stayed April 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Munchkinette
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
Level Contributor
48 reviews
34 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 April 2011

This must have been one of the first deluxe hotels in Aqaba, but it's long since been overtaken and is now in a state of comfortable old age or advanced decline, depending on your viewpoint.

Signs in the lobby hint at what the hotel once offered - a shop, the 'Dolphin Pub' and a cinema, all now closed. There's a definite quirky charm to the once-opulent 1970s architecture and decor, now so forlorn. But on our stay, the hotel seemed to be largely empty; my friend and I rechristened it The Overlook hotel, after the hotel in The Shining.

The location is very convenient for the centre of Aqaba, and the room was clean, as was the (deserted) swimming pool. But the bed was uncomfortable, the pillow rock-hard; and we just couldn't 'overlook' the number of things that didn't work: the TV, certain plug sockets, the toilet-flush cord (which snapped off), the bathroom light (which we had to tap a few times before it would stop flickering and stay on), and above all, the air-conditioning unit, which was as dead as a dodo.

And that was what made our stay unbearable. A nighttime temperature of 26 degrees celsius meant an uncomfortable night's sleep, even with the window open - which itself resulted in a mosquito feeding frenzy. We were glad to leave.

Don't stay in Aqaba unless you have an air-conditioned room - and don't stay here unless you're OK with the possibility that you may not have one.

  • Stayed April 2011, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Acquiescent
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Alcazar Hotel

Property: Alcazar Hotel
Address: Al Nahdha St | PO Box 392, Aqaba 77110, Jordan
Region: Jordan > Al Aqabah Governorate > Aqaba
Amenities:
Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #34 of 40 Hotels in Aqaba
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:3 star — Alcazar Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 132
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Also Known As:
Alcazar Hotel Aqaba

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