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Sandra MacGregor

Contributing writer

Sandra MacGregor is a freelance travel writer who estimates she has over 400 pint-sized hotel toiletries underneath her bathroom sink. She’s been published in a variety of publications, including the New York Times, National Geographic Travel and AFAR.

What better way to capture the historical magic of a visit to the country of Jordan than by staying at a palace-like property overlooking the Red Sea. The majestic Al Manara is Marriott’s latest addition to their Luxury Collection and is the first hotel for the brand in Jordan.

Set on the shores of the Red Sea with a breathtaking mountain range as a backdrop, the luxury hotel reflects the bustling, culturally-rich personality of the ancient Jordanian port city of Aqaba, in which it’s located. Throughout its public and private spaces Al Manara also features quintessential Middle Eastern architecture styles and arabesque motifs to evoke the singular aesthetic of the country.

The grand lobby of the first Marriott Luxury Collection hotel in Jordan, Al Manara
The grand lobby of the first Marriott Luxury Collection hotel in Jordan, Al Manara

This sensitivity and desire to showcase the property’s locale is also evident in each of the 207 rooms, which include 43 suites and two villas. Each room has a balcony, soundproof floor-to-ceiling windows and views of the Red Sea and/or Aqaba mountain ranges. Furnishings throughout the property highlight local weaving skills that have been passed down through generations. Dark wood décor and furniture with mother-of-pearl accents are offset beautifully with contemporary, crisp white walls and flooring, and plush Frette bedding. Spacious, white marble bathrooms feature oversized rainforest showers and/or deep marble bathtubs.

One of the three restaurant's in Al Manara in Jordan, part of Marriott's Luxury Collection
One of the three restaurant’s in Al Manara in Jordan, part of Marriott’s Luxury Collection

The hotel’s dining options likewise reflect the multifaceted cultural heritage of the port city. Taybeh Al Manara is the main restaurant and serves northern Mediterranean cuisine with an international twist. Kubba Levantin showcases Middle Eastern cuisine, specializing in local fresh produce and meals that show off the region’s spectrum of exotic spices. The restaurant also has an outdoor terrace that overlooks Aqaba’s lagoon and features a charcoal grill and traditional bread oven. Al Manara’s waterfront bar and restaurant, Amwaj, focuses on giving guests the freshest seafood. It also offers a unique smoked fish menu complete with creative cocktail pairings.

The pool at Jordan's Al Manara hotel
The pool at Jordan’s Al Manara hotel

Be sure to take a stroll along the hotel’s private beach or get to know your fellow guests by lounging at the pool. The hotel also has a spa with plunge pools, a salon and a gym. The spa offers an array of treatments inspired by local traditions combined with modern technology.

Given Al Manara’s location in Aqaba, Jordan’s only coastal city, the property offers a variety of water sports for every interest, including scuba diving, fishing, snorkeling, parasailing and paragliding. No doubt you’ll also want to spend time exploring the nearby area. An excellent base for your Jordanian adventures, the hotel is only a 90-minute drive from Petra, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the globe’s most legendary architectural attractions. Nearby lies Wadi Rum, a desert landscape of otherworldly rockscapes ideal for hikes and mountain adventures.

Opening rates start from US$254 per night, plus tax and service.

(Photos courtesy of Al Manara)






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