Hotels Trips

Affordable beach luxury near Wadi Rum: The Intercontinental Aqaba, Jordan

a swimming pool with palm trees and a beach

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Intercontinental Aqaba

After an absolutely wonderful time in Cairo checking off a bucket list wonders of the world, The Pyramids and Sphinx, then barely making our night flight to Aqaba via Amman, we arrived and headed to the Intercontinental Aqaba. If you’re unfamiliar with Aqaba, Jordan it’s a beach resort destination overlooking the Gulf of Aqaba which juts off of the Red Sea.  Many tourists not only visit Aqaba for the beaches and weather, but also a means to access Wadi Rum in combination with a Petra tour.  This is exactly what we did. There are several beautiful hotels including the Al Manara ( Marriott’s Luxury Collection ), Kempinski, and Movenpick all on the same street as the Intercontinental. Ultimately we chose the Intercontinental because rates were sub $120 for the night and we not only carry IHG Platinum status via our IHG credit cards, but also Intercontinental’s own elite status, Ambassador which anyone can purchase.

Stay Details:

  • When: May 2019
  • Where: Aqaba, Jordan
  • Elite Status: IHG Platinum + Intercontinental Ambassador
  • Benefits: Room upgrade and breakfast coupons

a beach with chairs and a pool in front of a building

Check-in

We arrived quite late after a long day of traveling, greeted by porters, and directed to check-in. We were in two separate rooms, one for my buddy and I, the other for my parents. Both rooms had Ambassador status, and sometimes having status can actually prolong your check-in experience. Why? Instead of must being greeted by a front desk clerk, you’ll often meet a manager on site. While this is surely a nice touch of customer service, we were arriving after 9pm and departing the next day around noon. Not a complaint, but meant a quick check-in without a wait ended up turning into a longer 10-15 minute process while the manager returned to the lobby. Other than that….it was quite seamless and both rooms got upgraded to sea view rooms. We were also given the option of bonus points or breakfast coupons for buffet the next day.

The Room:

The rooms feel dated, but given the price of them, who can really complain about the age. If you’re looking for a step up, the Al Manara next door is newly renovated and looks drop dead gorgeous. But you will pay over double the price and points are pricey too. One thing that wouldn’t be a huge cost, and this world traveller would have greatly appreciated… at least one plug that is international and close to the bed. Our rooms did come with a nice little welcome platter of fruit and Arabic sweets.

The room had a small balcony with a stellar view over the pool and water.

a teddy bear sitting on a railing overlooking a resort

The bathroom

Clean and simple featuring Agrari products as found in most Intercontinentals around the world.

Spa and fitness center

The hotel is absolutely massive and features quite an impressive spa. It was empty, as was the fitness center, but had I been staying on site for a longer period of time, I’d have most certainly made use of the facilities

Breakfast and dining

Since we opted for breakfast coupons we all met downstairs for the buffet. It was quite crowded, but had a wide array of food ranging from Middle Eastern specialities to omelettes and traditional western fare.

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Shopping Arcade and other dining

There is a small shopping arcade for clothing, souvenirs, salon, and an outfit that you can hire to take day trips or even a multi day trip should you desire.

Pool + Beach:

The pool is massive, and you’ll need your room key to get a towel, but what I would have spent most of my time enjoying is the beach. The mountains in the background and easy sea air was hard to leave. My whole family dipped their toes in the water before breakfast and could have enjoyed an afternoon down there had we had the time. The resort, as you can see, was very low occupancy, and this was mid morning

Overall:

I was very pleased with our stay at the Intercontinental Aqaba. If you’re coming from the Israeli side you can also cross the border via Eilat and make use of the hotel before embarking on a Jordanian adventure. The staff was courteous, we were treated well, and how can you beat the rate? You’ll often see prices dip under $100 and if you’re like us with elite status and opt for the breakfast…what a deal. The views are incredible. If you’re looking for a smaller, and more authenic in design, hotel I would encourage you to investigate the Al Manara next door. It truly looks phenomenal, and if it fits your budget, and you’re staying for a few nights, it could be worth the extra cash.

Israel, Jordan, Egypt, and Doha

 

Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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2 Comments

  • Page December 11, 2021

    Thank you. I was thinking of finally going to Egypt but something tells me it’s a bad option now. Maybe Jordan is better.

  • DaninMCI March 28, 2020

    This is good info, thanks for sharing. I was wondering about the hotels in this area. I take private small groups to Israel but have mostly avoided Jordan because of the transportation logistics. This review is helpful to me for sure. Thanks. I’m really enjoying this series of your trip to this area of the world.

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