Read more from this trip – 17-days in Europe and the Middle East:
- Introduction: 17-days in Europe and the Middle East
- Finnair Business Class New York to Helsinki (JFK-HEL)
- Finnair Business Class Lounge – Helsinki (HEL)
- Finnair Business Class Helsinki to Brussels (HEL-BRU)
- Hilton Antwerp Old Town
- Iberia Dalí Premium Lounge Madrid
- Nakar Hotel – Palma de Mallorca
- Sala VIP Formentor Palma de Mallorca
- W Barcelona
- Tickets Food Review
- Royal Jordanian Crown Business Class Barcelona to Amman (BCN-AMM)
- W Amman
- Hilton Dead Sea Resort and Spa
- Royal Jordanian Crown Lounge Amman
- Hilton Tel Aviv
- Dan Lounge Ben Gurion Airport, Tel Aviv (“TLV”)
- Iberia Business Class Tel Aviv to Madrid (TLV-MAD)
- Iberia Velázquez Premium Lounge Madrid
- American Airlines Business Class Madrid to New York (MAD-JFK)
- Dates of hotel stay: 1 night – August 7 – August 8, 2019
- Where: Sweimeh Jordan
- Paid stay / points: Paid
Visiting the Dead Sea has been at the top of my list for awhile now. I first heard about the Hilton Dead Sea Resort and Spa back in March from a couple who was en route there from the Conrad Maldives. The hotel opened in 2017 and is Hilton’s first venture in Jordan, located 1,312 feet below sea level in the Jordan Valley. Rooms are an excellent value starting at just $140 per night. Sleeping at the lowest place on earth, enjoying mineral rich mud baths and earning Hilton points is a winning combination in my book.
The Hilton is located in Sweimeh Jordan, which is 43.5 miles from the Queen Alia International Airport (“AMM”). It should take you around 60-80 minutes to reach the hotel by car depending on traffic. A taxi will cost you around 30JOD ($42USD). I ordered an Uber from the W Amman, which took around an hour and only cost $36. This cost included some wait time since my Uber got stopped at a road block on the way. The driver got out and argued with the police officers for 5-minutes and then got back in the car and I was on my way.
Check-in / Lobby
The Hilton is located in what can only be described as a secure compound. There’s a perimeter gate complete with a guard station. As my Uber pulled up a guard came out and checked my name against a list of hotel guests. I saw my name marked “VIP,” which I think may have been linked to my Hilton Honors Diamond status.
After proceeding down a winding drive I eventually made my way to the Hilton. The hotel lobby is cavernous with floor to ceiling windows that flood the space with natural sunlight. To the right is a dedicated check-in area for Hilton Honors elite members.
When I approached the desk a friendly check-in agent asked me to take a seat while we worked through the check-in formalities. I was originally booked in a King Executive Room, but was upgraded to a King Junior Suite with sea view thanks to my Hilton Honors Diamond status.
The lobby has lots of seating with a lovely plum and tan motif. All of the seating has nice views of the Dead Sea.
The lobby seating extends out onto a large terrace.
In the back of the lobby is a coffee bar called Vue, which is open daily from 7:30am – 1am. Vue offers a variety of coffee, tea, fresh juices, pastries and light snacks.
The King Junior suite is huge coming in at 764 square feet. It features a king size Hilton serenity bed with 250 thread count sheets. The bed was a tad bit firm for my liking, but still quite comfortable.
Opposite of the bed is a separate seating area with a sofa and a glass coffee table. A live white orchid in a ceramic pot adds some life to the room.
The room features a 46″ tv, which can swivel 360 degrees to allow you to view it from any direction, whether you’re laying in bed or sitting on the couch.
One of my favorite features of the room is the large sea view balcony that spans the entire length of the room.
From the balcony I had views of the resort’s infinity pools and the Dead Sea. It really can’t get any better than this.
The bathroom is spacious and features granite counter tops/vanities, a large marble soaking tub and walk-in rain shower. The shower head in my bathroom was broken and sprayed water EVERYWHERE. Since I was only staying for one night I didn’t call for it to be fixed, but I did mention the issue on the way out. They acknowledged the problem and said they would send someone from their engineering team to address the situation.
The bathroom is stocked with Crabtree & Evelyn amenities. They are slightly larger in size than you’d get in a standard room.
On to the coffee corner. The room features a Nespresso machine, an electric hot water kettle for tea and 2 bottles of complementary mineral water. There’s 2 chairs to the left and right of the table.
The minibar refrigerator has a standard offering of beer, juice, soda, water and hard liquor.
There’s also a variety of snack items available including pistachios, Pringles, chips, a Kit Kat Bar and some Tic Tacs.
When you first enter the room you’ll find a walk-in closet with plenty of space to store your luggage and hang your clothes. This is also where you’ll find the iron / ironing board.
The diamond welcome amenity consisted of some pistachio baklava served on a silver platter and apples served on a white ceramic platter.
Pool / Beach Area
When you first enter the pool area you’ll find a complementary beverage station including lemon iced water, hot water, tea and coffee.
The first thing you’ll see upon entering the pool area is the Infinity swim up pool bar, which is open daily from 9am – 7pm. The mixed drinks weren’t very good so I stuck with beer after my first visit. One thing to note, you’re not allowed to bring drinks away from the Infinity bar. If you break the rules and float into the main adult pool with a drink a staff member will kindly ask you to return to the bar. I’m a law abiding giraffe so simply observed this happen to others 😉.
I noticed a huge difference in attitudes around alcohol at the Hilton resort compared to in Amman. A lot of people were drinking, dancing and having a good time. For example, when I arrived at noon a group of young ladies were having shots of Jagermeister at the Infinity pool bar.
The Hilton features a lovely adults-only infinity pool. The no children policy is strictly enforced. If you have kids with you there’s another family friendly infinity pool to enjoy.
One unique feature of the Hilton Dead Sea Resort and Spa is the “animation squad.” 2 high energy social directors encourage everyone at the pool area to get up and dance every hour. They say “Don’t be lazy, lazy, lazy! Let’s get crazy, crazy, crazy!” It was entertaining, but I can imagine it gets old after a few days.
The reason most people come to the Hilton is to experience the Dead Sea. The hotel has direct beach access, a floating pontoon, sun deck and mud baths, which make it the ideal place for a Dead Sea experience. The area was very quiet during the duration of my stay with no more than half a dozen people floating, sunbathing or walking around.
You can’t really swim in the dead sea due to the high salt content of the water. Instead you float. The high salt and rich mineral content of the water are said to have healing properties than can help with psoriasis and other skin conditions.
Pro-tip: Skip shaving on the day you plan to have a dip in the dead sea. If you shave and then get in the water it will sting. It will be a stinging sensation like you’ve never felt before. Just don’t do it. Also, don’t wear your favorite swimwear. Dead Sea mud may have restorative properties, but will also stain your swimwear.
The Hilton has staff members who offer complimentary mud and salt rubs. You’re instructed to float in the dead sea for 10-minutes. When you return a staff member will cover you head-to-toe in mud from the Dead Sea. After sitting in the sun to dry, you rinse off in the Dead Sea and upon your return the Hilton staff member performs a salt scrub. It’s really a divine experience.
The next pool is only for decoration, but that didn’t stop people from getting in for a super sexy photoshoot. The story played like this: Someone with a usually less than enthusiastic partner acting as a photographer would get in, a Hilton staff member would come and yell at them and then they’d get out. A few minutes later another couple would come along and attempt the same thing. I think the problem would be solved by a small sign indicating that swimming isn’t permitted.
All guests staying in suites and guests staying in Executive Rooms are entitled to use the Executive Lounge. As a Hilton Honors Diamond member I have access to the Executive Lounge even when I’m staying in a standard room. Access to the Executive Lounge is further restricted to guests over 18-years old. This may be inconvenient to those traveling with families, but guarantees a tranquil environment for other guests.
The Executive Lounge is open daily for breakfast, but doesn’t actually have its own breakfast spread beyond coffee and tea. Instead you’re invited to get food at the Spectrum Restaurant breakfast buffet and bring it into the lounge. Afternoon Tea & Coffee is served from 3pm – 4:30pm and evening pre-dinner canapés and cocktails from 6pm-8pm.
The lounge is spacious with plenty of seating options for couples and small groups.
The evening cocktail spread included self-serve Smirnoff Vodka, Beefeater gin, Bacardi rum, Johnny Walker Red whisky, still water and Pellegrino sparkling water. Sliced lemons were laid out next to the liquor. They didn’t seem to have limes at the Executive Lounge or anywhere else at the resort for that matter.
JR Jordanian cabernet sauvignon, sauvignon blanc, rosé wine were available along with Budweiser beer.
There was a variety of hard and soft cheeses and crackers.
Cold plates included hummus and carrots.
Hot food items included falafel and samosas.
Pita bread, fresh fruit, cookies and peanuts were also available.
The best part of the lounge is the view. Sipping rosé while staring out onto the Dead Sea is quite relaxing.
The breakfast restaurant, Spectrum, is open from 7am – 10:30am during the week and from 7am-11am on the weekends. The restaurant was packed when I went and children were running around everywhere. Now on to the extensive food spread.
The first food station had a variety of dried fruits and nuts.
Moving on there was a giant table of carbs. Bagels, breads and rolls were available en masse.
Cheesy scrambled eggs offered a respite from the carb attack. The eggs tasted better than they looked.
The next station had sliced fruit, yogurt and jams.
After enjoying the fresh baked bread topped with za’atar at the W Amman I was excited to see it at Spectrum. However, I was disappointed with their execution. Perhaps it had been under the heat lamp for too long.
The fish station featured smoked salmon. This was very popular and almost always had a line.
The next station was dedicated to Jordanian and Lebanese specialties including some nice labneh jamdeh with olive oil.
The next table had a variety of cold cuts including bologna sausage, turkey and roast beef.
There was a nice variety of cheese to accompany your cold cuts.
Those with a sweet tooth will not be disappointed with breakfast at Spectrum. They had a good selection of croissants, donuts, muffins, breakfast bread and scones.
Finally they had peach and strawberry infused water. The peach water was quite tasty.
First Class Giraffe Approved
If you’re looking to take a dip in the Dead Sea and spend the night at the lowest place on earth then look no further. The Hilton Dead Sea treats Hilton Honors Diamond members like VIPs. This giraffe loves an upgrade! Food and beverage on the resort can be a bit expensive, but that comes with the territory with isolated resorts.