This has to be one of the best hotel experiences I ever had ..
Let me list the things that enticed me most:
The room: spacious, fantastically designed (with separate area for the ladies to get their paint on, which I would have transformed to papa's computer corner, if the internet plug had been located there) .. In fact . So beautiful that I did a video walk through. The bed was super comfortable. The bathroom is a work of beauty .. Big, marble, a tub that fits the whole family, several compartments for everything.
Impeccable service, free fruit basket upon arrival, over-the-top quality control (order a bucket of ice and you get check-up calls every 5 minutes if the bucket has arrived .. Talk to a staff member in the elevator and they ask if everything is ok), beautiful space in general, the location, the beach, the mud, the sheer number of pools, the quick response to a bleeding foot ..
I could probably go on 10 pages about the things I liked and enjoyed .. But I know that readers here (and the hotel management) thrive on the little things that did not go so well .. So, I go into the nitty gritty (again, all the things I liked outweigh the things I was less happy with, but this is one hotel I totally want to come back to and very much recommend to everyone!)
- the food .. I was not super impressed .. I felt they are trying hard with what they can get .. But it did not live up to the standard according to everything else .. The monkfish at 'the codes' can easily replicated at home with some fish sticks and thai hot chili sauce, they thai beef salad was so so ... Food was also expensive (compared to what else we had in Jordan), there was no real 'Jordanian food' besides the typical appetizers and the nights we were there, there were only 2 buffet and 1 a la carte option. The angus beef burger was pretty much the best thing we had .. But you need to order extra onion slices, as the advertised tomato/onion jam is something the GM does not like to see (so we were told) and so it is not being served with it. .. On a different note, the breakfast buffet was great, including salmon and Italian prosecco .. Though the refill on that one bottle appeared to be sluggish to non existing (so .. Get up early)
- the website and the brochure says something about a VIP special pack for children .. And I am very curious to hear what other people with kids got .. But for us it did not come automatically, I had to request it .. And what we got in the end was every parents' nightmare .. A mini piano (the cheapest you can get from China, it sounded mistuned from the beginning, we left it in the room when we departed) .. Obviously, whoever assigns those gifts has no children...
- the grounds are beautiful, but vast .. You better pack everything before you go to the beach .. Otherwise it is a 15 minutes walk back to your room (if you stay in the main building) or you book a room in the Ishtar village (closer to the shore) .. The vastness also gives the place a deserted feel at night (while reception keeps saying they are fully booked) ... While all the pools look very beautiful, not many of them are actually used .. There is no jakuzzi kinda pool and the kid's pool could use a slide (like the one left to the compound that appears to belong to hotel still being built).
- the game room for the kids was a mixed experience .. First of all .. It is really hard to find .. Then (while designed with a lot of care).. It is manned by one of the life guards (the website says something about animators) .. And the first time we went we only saw two life guards huddling over a computer game .. But later, when we spent more time there .. One of the life guards actually spent some quality time with our son, which was very nice.
- the atmosphere at the reception upon arrival was fairly hostile .. Maybe the reception is too small .. It is not a best first impression if you have 3 receptionists with a line of 3 - 4 each .. Guests who don't know the concept of lining up, people complaining .. On the positive side .. We arrived before check-in time but we still got a room right away ..
- My personal biggest gripe was the fridge (oh .. Free minibar .. That is pretty cool, but it comes down to 2 free beers .. The rest is soda, water and mixers, a bag of nuts and a mini pringles tube) .. But what good is a fridge if it is barely below room temperature? I waited until next morning .. Thinking maybe the fridge was just turned on .. But it was still luke warm .. An engineer came and checked and babbled something about '5 minutes' .. When I returned around lunch time it was still luke warm (and the room was not made yet) .. I called again (response to complaints is incredibly fast) and another engineer even hauled another fridge from a different room .. But in the end .. Even warmer than the other one (thus I called for ice buckets so often) .. Overall I can say they tried .. But the fridge thing might be a design error .. There are no vent openings in the closet the fridge is housed in .. So the air around it is too warm ..
Summary: I cannot wait to return to this place .. It is amazing .. We talked to friends who were at the nearby hotels and they did not have the 'whoa' experience that we had about the room .. I hope with reviews like this the place can even improve a bit .. And it is not there fault if the sushi bar only looks pretty, but nobody eats there .. They are trying and they are probably throwing out a lot of nice display fish .. (They even had Ikura!)
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Kempinski Hotel Ishtar gives you the opportunity to enjoy its riches where Queen of Sheba and Cleopatra once strived to unravel mystery. Situated gracefully on the shores of the largest spa in the world the Dead Sea, unique for its ozone-rich air, mineral sea water and ultra-violet filtered sunshine. Surely there is no region on earth where nature and history have more wonderfully conspired, where so exciting drama has obtained a so beautiful theatre. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Kempinski Hotel Amman
- Kempinski Hotel Ishtar Dead Sea Jordan