Wadi Musa, a remote town in southern Jordan, serves half a million adventurers who pass through annually on their way to see the Byzantine mosaics, Nabatean crypts and ancient temples of Petra. The only town for miles, it’s a landing spot for intrepid travellers keen to see a Wonder of the World, not those looking for a luxe hotel resort vibe. Keep your expectations realistic and check our suggestions for the best places to stay in Petra suited to every budget, as well as some options for authentic (and, yes, rustic) once-in-a-lifetime stays.
The closest place you can stay without actually sleeping in Petra Archaeological Park, Petra Guest House is a motel-meets-hotel, with a few rooms perched on the mountainside. It’s not ultra-luxe but, thanks to the location, it’s a top choice for visitors who want simple accommodations for an early start and don’t mind paying a premium for the location alone. The guest house has a popular bar on the premises, the Cave Bar, which, as the name suggests, is in an actual stone cave, complete with outdoor courtyard surrounded by roughly hewn natural rock walls.
Just a five-minute walk uphill from the park gates, Petra Moon is one of the best value spots for travellers looking to stay close to the rose-red city, and has everything you need for a getaway to Petra. Perks include a rooftop bar, newly added roof pool area and reasonable rates.
Mövenpick Petra is a top choice for those willing to pay for a few luxuries such as a serene pool area, a gorgeous Arabic-style atrium lobby and bar, and half-a-dozen dining options. Those with a lavish travel budget appreciate the convenient location just steps from the entrance to Petra, the almost-four-star luxury, and extensive early morning buffet.
This small family-owned hotel has a stunning view of the surrounding mountains (especially at sunset – get a room with a balcony). A favourite among budget travellers, rooms here have small private bathrooms, while the rate includes a traditional Arabic breakfast. It takes about 40 minutes to hike down to Petra’s main gate, but most prefer to take the complimentary hotel shuttle, particularly at the end of the day, since the 2.4km (1.5mi) uphill walk can be daunting after a full day of hiking Petra.
Perched on a quiet hilltop, away from the bustle of Wadi Musa’s Tourist Street, this Marriott property is known for beautiful views from the pool terrace, particularly at sunrise. Get pampered at the Turkish hammam spa, enjoy tea in the Arabic-style inner atrium, or have dinner in a traditional Bedouin tent. The location is just far enough from town to be peaceful, while still only an eight- to ten-minute drive to the park.
Even though the main gates of Petra are 15 to 20 minutes away by car, this hotel built from the remains of Taybeh, a 19th-century Bedouin village, is worth the commute. Though it joined the modern Hyatt hotel family in 2018, this is a property that feels firmly rooted in history. The Hayat Zaman is built from ancient local stone and has panoramic views of the Sharah Mountains, plus a basic gym, a traditional hammam and an outdoor pool.
Try Seven Wonders Bedouin Camp for a traditional desert camping experience, with communal bathrooms, campfire dinner with live Arabic music and limited hot water and electricity (showers and electricity are available from 6pm to 11pm). Staying in the traditional goat-hair tents, either private or communal, is a delightful way to connect with the traditions of the region. If you’re not entering the park the adventurous way, through nearby Little Petra (see day two of the ’48 hours in Petra’ guide), getting to the main park entrance will take 12 to 15 minutes by car.
There are no hotels in Petra proper, but many families from the local tribe, the Bdoul Bedouin, still live in and near the park. While visitors are not allowed to stay overnight unaccompanied in Petra, you can book a traditional Bedouin cave stay. Most hosts offer the full traditional experience, including dinner cooked over an open fire, the option of sleeping under the stars, as well as transportation back to the park entrance in the morning. These are actual caves, so think of it as camping – no running water, no electricity, but amazing stories to tell when you return home.
Stay among ruins in stone bungalows at the Old Village Hotel & Resort (formerly Bait Zaman), an idyllic property on the outskirts of Wadi Musa, just a 10-minute drive from the main entrance of Petra. This quiet location is worth the splurge if you want distinctly (and tasteful) Jordanian accommodation with a deep sense of history, but with all the modern conveniences. This well-maintained historic property overlooking the Sharah mountains also features two year-round pools (one indoor, one outdoor).
Amar Grover contributed additional reporting to this article.