More and more globe trotting health seekers are heading to Jordan to relax on the shores of the Red Sea, luxuriate at Amman’s health-centric urban oases, and, of course, float in the therapeutic waters of the Dead Sea. From luxe hotels with fancy spas to more affordable DIY options, Culture Trip picks the best wellness getaways in the country.
The Dead Sea is a legendary wellness destination, renown for ‘sea’ water and mud chock full of healing minerals, as well as oxygen-rich air and filtered UV sunlight. While the Dead Sea Spa Resort is an affordable waterfront stay, the true allure is the Dead Sea Medical Center on the premises, which offers a three-week physician-led program for skin issues, including psycho-social counselling to help patients identify underlying causes of conditions like psoriasis and eczema. The spa offers all the fun pampering treatments, such as mud wraps, cryotherapy, indoor solarium and pool. Local tip: If you can do without the amenities and medical treatments, head to the nearby public beach, where you can dip in the salty sea and slather some mineral-y mud on your body for a nominal entrance fee (around 6 JOD, which is just about USD $8.50).
If you’re looking for top luxury wellness by the Dead Sea, book some time at the Kempinski Ishtar. Their European-style spa, The Ishtar Spa by Resense, offers an indoor Dead Sea pool so guests can soak up the minerals in a peaceful, climate-controlled environment. Indulge in various signature wellness packages such as ‘Body & Mind’ or ‘Home to Heaven’ (which includes round-trip transport from Amman, along with the de rigueur massage, and relaxation- and beauty-themed programmes). It’s worth the splurge, with hydro facilities, 26 treatment rooms (including six outdoor rooms), tennis courts, gym and yoga studio, as well as service-oriented staff members who will cater to almost any health regimen desired.Local tip: Non-guests may book treatments at the spa, but – unlike most Dead Sea hotels – Kempinski Ishtar does not offer day passes for their pool and beach (which makes it one of the more mellow and exclusive properties in the area).
Nestled deep in a canyon, Ma’in is a verdant oasis just 13 kilometres from the Dead Sea. The cascading hot spring waterfalls feed the lush greenery and the resort’s man-made swimming pools. The spa, with its own dedicated hot spring-fed pool, is divinely relaxing and offers the usual treatments. But what makes this property magical is the otherworldly location and the therapeutic spring waters, in which King Herod is said to have sought healing over two thousand years ago.Local tip: Visitors who aren’t checking in to the hotel can access the springs through a public area for an entrance fee of around 15 JOD (USD $21).
While not a destination spa, if you’re already in Aqaba, Jordan’s port town on the Red Sea, this standalone women-only spa on a nondescript commercial street is a one-stop destination for low-key à la carte wellness and fitness. Get scrubbed down Moroccan-hammam style, pamper yourself with a facial, massage, mud wrap and energy work, or book an appointment for beauty services – all at affordable prices. If you’re looking to sweat, you can hit their gym and take a yoga or spinning class, too.Local tip: Since you’re right there by the Red Sea, you can compliment any health program with scuba diving, snorkelling, jet skiing, paddle boarding or even a sunset cruise.
Escape to a private beach ten minutes outside the city of Aqaba to the haven of health that is Movenpick Tala Bay. They offer a dive centre, boot camp (eight outdoor obstacle courses + CrossFit style HIIT training), yoga garden, 250 metre running track, and fitness centre. The Zara Spa features 11 different types of treatment rooms. In addition to more traditional local hammam experiences, they offer modern treatments, such as Thalgo body treatments to target cellulite and marine wraps to detox. Natural and local ingredients are used in many of the treatments. Local tip: Movenpick has a second location at the Dead Sea and, similarly, Zara Spa Dead Sea is one of the highlights – another great option for a wellness escape.
The self-labelled seven-star designation may be a bit hyperbolic, but devotees of this women-only centre in the Um Uthaina neighbourhood of Amman come for the infrared sauna and stay for the traditional Thai massage. They offer just about any kind of facial you could want (anti aging, ultrasound and microdermabrasion), the usual steam/jacuzzi/sauna triumvirate, hammam treatments, a menu of hydrotherapy baths, hair services, waxing, manicures and pedicures, and the thoughtful addition of weight-loss and nutritional support (including food allergy testing).Local tip: Gaia’s is a standalone spa with no overnight accommodations. Where to sleep? Try the Conroy Boutique Hotel, just a block away.
For a DIY holistic health getaway that swerves more into the spiritual and experimental, check out the current class schedule at Inner Life Institute (ILI). This welcoming light-filled villa, tucked away in a residential Amman neighbourhood, is a collaborative work space for artists and thinkers, offering rotating workshops on everything from astrology, breathwork and bodywork to dance, yoga and mat pilates. Sometimes, brunch is part of the deal, too.Local tip: While ILI is not a hotel, there are plans for an Airbnb room on the premises soon. Contact ILI for more information.
Urbanites looking for a chic, modern escape often book a stay at the brand new W Amman (opened in mid-2018). The W’s cosy spa offers some of the best massages and body treatments in the city, and the couple’s massage treatment room is to die for. Nail your fitness goals with their trainer and nutritionist and add the finishing touches with facials, manicures and pedicures, and other top-notch salon services. Bonus: the hotel’s ‘whatever/whenever’ policy means you can customise your wellness regimen – like arranging a detox menu for your stay.Local tip: If you’re in the mood to re-tox on weekends when the sun sets, their outdoor roof bar, Wet Deck, is one of the trendiest places in Amman.
Newly opened in early 2018, the Fairmont Amman offers a classic five-star urban escape. With a Dead Sea pool and a range of treatments using the highly regarded Trinitae Dead Sea products, their in-house Willow Stream Spa brings the Dead Sea to the city. The spacious 22,000 square metre oasis features every kind of amenity one expects from a high-end health-conscious hotel: hydro pool, vitality pools, ice fountains, personal training (both in person and on-demand virtual), private and group fitness classes, and salon services. Local tip: If your budget doesn’t allow for a swanky hotel, many Amman hotels let outside guests book spa services and purchase day-use pool passes. Inquire with the hotels directly.