I almost had tears of joy at the gate of Kempinski Hotel Ishtar. In my post about the Dead Sea, I showed a map of the route that we took coming from Petra to the Dead Sea. We left Petra at 5PM, and due to plugging in the wrong address, our three-hour drive turned to five hours. We pulled up to the gate of Kempinski Hotel Ishtar past 10pm and we were absolutely exhausted. At the gate we were greeted by the security and we told them that we’re here to check in. They welcomed us, opened the gates, and we drove through the short driveway to the front entrance.
And then the magic happened.
BUT I’VE NEVER MET YOU BEFORE… ?
My door was opened by the bellhop clad in a shiny ecru kurta, followed by a greeting, “Welcome, Ms. Bautista.” Instead of stepping out of the car that I’ve been dying to get out of for the past two hours, I sat there frozen asking myself, “How did he know it’s me? How did he know my name?”
With a confused look on my face, I handed him over my bags. Then someone else came out of the hotel to meet us, this time with a tray of rolled up face towels. “Cold towel, Ms. Bautista?” he asked. Behind him came a petite lady holding a tray of juice glasses. “Ms. Bautista, would you like some pink pomegranate juice?”
I was stunned. Everyone knew who I was, yet it’s the first time for them to see me.
I was sipping my cold my pomegranate juice when I pieced everything together. At the gate, KD must have given the name the reservation was under.
In the 8 seconds that we drove from the gate to the front of the hotel,
my name was relayed from the gate to the reception staff such that when the car came to a stop,
an entire receiving team was at hand to give me the best hotel welcome I’ve ever had.
I finished my juice and crossed the beautiful, expansive lobby. Just when I thought I couldn’t be more impressed, I soon found out that the front desk staff did not only know my name but also the fact that we got miserably lost—an anecdote also passed on from the gate—and had a room upgrade ready for us. We were offered a golf cart that will drive us to our room but we opted to walk to see the beautifully lit grounds at night.
By the time we got to our Junior Suite, I was convinced without a shadow of a doubt, that we’ve arrived at a very, very special place.
FIVE STAR RESORT IN EVERY ASPECT
The exceptional welcome that we received the night we arrived continued on throughout our stay the following day. The hotel staff—whether by the pool side, in the restaurants, or in the gift shop—displayed a consistent calibre of service to us. Everyone had a warm smile to greet you and seemed happy to help. This great service really helped let go of all worries and enjoy the hotel grounds—and my, my, what spectacular grounds they have.
The Junior Suite we got had more than what we expected. The suite was massive with enough space for a king size bed, a living area complete with with a three-seater sofa, coffee table, and chair-and-ottoman set, a dressing area right by the spacious closet, and a divine bathroom. What I really loved though is the private outdoor sitting area that leads straight to the Sunken Pool.
ROYAL VILLAS & CHALETS
Apart from the suites, Kempinski Hotel Ishtar also offers grander accommodations with the Royal Villas and Royal Chalets. These units have multiple bedrooms, some with two living rooms, and dining area. Some come with your own private butler and private beach access. I can just imagine that staying in one will truly make you feel like royalty.
In exploring the hotel property, it’s hard not to notice that everything is kept immaculate by the staff. The grounds are clean, hedges are trimmed, with the sound of running water from cascading waterfall fountains accompanying your every step:
SIX DIVINE POOLS & A SLICE OF PARADISE
Right outside our suite is the Sunken Pool which is one of six pools in the property. Since we only had one day at the Dead Sea, we were not able to spend a lot of time in all of them. I can imagine spending an entire day in the various areas of the hotel property if we had more time; each one has something special to offer.
The Sunken Pool is closest to our suite and is the most private of all the pools. It does not have a restaurant or a view of the Dead Sea so guests opt to go skip it and head to other pools. Because of this, the pool area tends to be more quiet and intimate compared to the others:
The Lazy River is probably the biggest of all the pools slithering next to Terrace Suites. Funny enough, the Lazy River given its length is most popular to those swimming laps—not exactly a lazy activity if you ask me. It’s not shallow enough for kids to wade around so it’s also very serene like the Sunken Pool.
The Infinity Pool is one of the most popular of all the pools. It’s right next to Akkad Pool Grill that serves snacks and drinks, has a fun circular shape, overlooks the Dead Sea, is slightly heated, and is open until 11PM. Children under 14 years old are not allowed in the pool so you will not be woken from your nap by shrieks and laughter from kids splashing about. It’s where my husband and I decided to spend most of our time after swimming in the Dead Sea.
One level down from the Infinity Pool and closer to the beach are a couple of Beach Pools right next to each other. Both have commanding views of the Dead Sea and are right next to Ashur Restaurant. It’s ideal for families since one of the two pools is for kids. Since KD and I hoped to relax and sleep, we chose to stay away from the squeals of laughter from the cute little kids:
THE CROWNING GLORY
Of course the most special part of the hotel is the private beach access to the Dead Sea where my husband and I spent most of our day. There are countless lounge chairs and showers to make sure that resort guests and day visitors will have their own space to rune out and relax:
BY THE SEA, BY CANDLELIGHT
We capped our stay with dinner at Ashur Restaurant. Although the restaurant serves Italian food, the ambience guarantees an ‘Arabian night’ experience. Torches next to the pool put shimmering waters at center stage. All tables are lit by the warm glow of candles casting dancing shadows everywhere you look. The smell and sound of hookah from those lounging by the poolside fill the air. I personally felt so relaxed—perhaps a culmination of a whole day of resting—that it took effort to lift my glass of red wine. I think that’s a pretty good indication that the Kempinski Hotel Ishtar Dead Sea helped us achieve what we set out to do: get the ultimate relaxation at the Dead Sea.
Kempinski Hotel Ishtar · Swaimeh, Dead Sea Road, P.O. Box 941806, 11194 Dead Sea, Amman · +962 5 356 8888