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Kempinski Hotel Ishtar Dead Sea: The Most Luxurious Hotel at the Dead Sea

Kempinski

Lying 434 metres below sea level – the lowest point on Earth – the Dead Sea is a magical, mysterious place; an extraordinary environment, where nature and history are inextricably intertwined. Widely regarded as one of the natural wonders of the world, with its spectacular and spiritual landscape, vast source of natural minerals and ozone rich air which complement its therapeutic waters, this famous salt lake has attracted visitors from around the Mediterranean basin and beyond for thousands of years. It was one of the world’s first natural spas; Cleopatra and Herod the Great both visited for the health benefits conferred by the environment. The region is steeped in history, and several biblical sites are located in the area.  

Hotel

Kempinski

Located on the edge of the Dead Sea, in the heart of this remarkable, culturally rich landscape, is Kempinski Hotel Ishtar Dead Sea. Architecturally, the hotel is an affectionate tribute to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon: the graceful collection of gardens, lagoons, waterfalls, and serene pools complement the spacious rooms, suites, and villas. Superbly situated – close to many of Jordan’s top attractions – the hotel features a private sandy beach and a 5 star, award-winning luxury Spa that offers sublime experiences infused with Dead Sea-rich minerals.

The hotel comprises 345 rooms, suites, and royal villas, which are spread out across three luxurious enclaves, providing guests with absolute privacy by the Dead Sea. There is a wealth of facilities for guests to enjoy: nine swimming pools, a fitness centre (open 24 hours a day), a business centre, and a tennis court.

Room

Our Family Duplex Room is spacious, and sophisticated yet simplistic in style: the perfect zen-like setting for families looking for convenience and comfort. It is a creatively designed and ultra-modern space, tastefully decorated in blue and grey tones. The layout is ideal for families: our kids slept on the ground floor in the living room, whilst we had a double bed upstairs. There is an en-suite bathroom on the top floor and a loo for the kids on the ground floor. The toiletries all use hyperlocally-sourced Dead Sea minerals, and for little guests, there is a thoughtful array of exclusive amenities, including a tepee tent with a selection of toys, kids’ bathroom amenities, slippers, and – adorably – mini marshmallow pink towelling dressing gowns. There is also complimentary access to the Kids Club included in this room category.

Kempinski
Kempinski
Kempinski

Food

The main restaurant, Obelisk, serves breakfast and dinner, buffet-style. The breakfast window is pleasingly wide (7am-11am) – which is especially helpful on the first day when, jet-lagged, we just about manage to slink in before the end of service. Kempinski is renowned for its world-class, European style breakfasts, and they do not disappoint. There is a wonderful array of local specialities, including foul madames and aubergine fatteh, alongside the whole honeycomb, cereals and delectable assortment of pastries and breads for which Kempinski is famous. Akkad Pool & Grill Restaurant serves dishes prepared with the freshest ingredients by the hotel’s renowned infinity pool.

Ashur is an Italian restaurant, which serves perfect poolside fare for lunch (the pizzas are sensational), and more refined Italian cuisine for dinner. Overlooking the lower Infinity Edge pool, the restaurant is the perfect place to watch the sunset over the Dead Sea.

Rehan, the Lebanese restaurant located in the main building of the hotel, is sensational. The chef, who was born and trained in Beirut, is a culinary mastermind and ensures that all of the produce – from the molasses in the mouttabal to the pistachios in the baklawa – are imported freshly from Lebanon every day.

Spa

A visit to the multi-award-winning Resense Spa is an essential part of any stay at Kempinski Ishtar Dead Sea. Sometimes hotel spas can seem somewhat of an afterthought: here this is absolutely not the case. At 10,000 square metres, it is the largest spa in the region, and was Jordan’s best hotel spa in 2018. My husband and I both enjoyed tremendous treatments here. We both opted for the ‘Deep’ treatment, which, as its name suggests, comprises a deep tissue massage (for either 60 or 90 minutes). We were both fortunate to receive our massages from the wonderful Tik, who came to Jordan from Bangkok over a decade ago, armed with a wealth of experience. The treatment incorporated some delicious Thai massage stretches, and both of us agreed that, as well as feeling delightfully loosened, our muscles felt elongated. The Spa really is a playground for adults, with a hammam, hydro facilities, tepidarium heated lounges, and the Dead Sea pool. The hotel offers special Spa packages for guests who want to enjoy a holistic spa experience – including a room located in the Spa building, and bespoke food menus, with carefully calibrated, health-focused offerings.

To Do

The Kempinski sits right in the middle of what people come to the Dead Sea for – bathing in its briny buoyancy, and the hotel’s beach offers the most pampering, pain-free way to take a Dead Sea dip. Along with a support system of towels, full-length mirrors, and showers comes the chance to have a complimentary caking in therapeutic black mud. Staff are on hand to help guests apply the unctuous, mineral-rich mud, before washing it off in the salty water. Besides making your skin feel stupendously smooth, this hippo moment is a right laugh. Sulaiman did a marvellous job applying mud, followed by a salt and olive oil scrub.

There is a wealth of sites, both in the vicinity of the hotel, and further afield. The Baptism Site, where John the Baptist baptised Jesus, is a 20 minute drive away, and we had an enjoyable visit with our young children, which the Concierge organised. Mount Nebo and the Mujib Gorge are also a short drive from the hotel, and the concierge can arrange excursions. The archaeological marvel that is Petra, the ancient Islamic city, is a longer drive: three hours each way, and the hotel can organise day trips.

Kids

The hotel is extremely child-friendly. At check-in, kids are presented with ‘Titan Tikes’ passports, which they fill in by visiting different parts of the hotel and collecting stamps. When the passport is full, they can claim a free ice cream and camel

Kempinski
Kempinski

Elisabeth Rushton

Elisabeth has over a decade of experience as a luxury lifestyle and travel writer, and has visited over sixty countries. She has a particular interest in the Middle East, having travelled extensively around Saudi Arabia, Oman, and the UAE. A keen skier, she has visited over fifty ski resorts around the world, from La Grave to Niseko. She writes about experiences and products for children, tech...(Read More)

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