Waking up with a view like this, was I still dreaming? After all, I got less than 3 hours of sleep since stargazing. The Mars-like landscape was unbelievable except…for the bulldozer.
I was up for the sunrise but the sun was over the mountain on the right side so I didn’t get to see it. However, as the sky was changing colors, I had so much fun photographing the landscape and the glass domes. I tried to frame the domes at different angles, quantities, etc.
The sun was up and start lighting up the desert.
5 or 3?
There was a I love Aicha sign there:
Before the sunlight hit:
After, which one do you prefer?
I got back to the room to wake up Jason and we had some photos in our beautiful dome.
We got ready and started the hike to the viewpoint! The hiking trail starts behind the dinner tent and clearly marked pointing up those rocks.
Oh boy…. a long way to go and the last section was very steep and filled with loose rocks!
We made it up and the view of the hotel from up here was incredible and scary from the edge! We kept a safe distance but it was still very scary for someone who is afraid of heights! The sun was still casting a shadow on the domes so we sat and waited for half an hour. Of course, I sat all the way inward to wait!
Jason was the photographer of the day to stand on the edge, hold up the camera, and took photos for each of us. Ahhhhh I tried not to look down!
My heart was pounding, hurry up, fast, LOL!
We got down after the photos, the hike down was harder than the way up yikes! Nevertheless, we made it down all safe and sound. Was the hike worth it? Absolutely!
We made a stop here for photos, lower angle:
We got down at 9:30 AM and went to breakfast…I thought breakfast closes at 10 but instead, they closed at 9:30 urg! The staff was clearing up but they were nice enough to let us grab some leftovers and eat. The breakfast room was the same tent we had dinner last night and I didn’t get a chance to take photos of the awesome-looking chairs surrounding the tent.
After a quick bite, we took a few more photos before packing up to check out.
After check-out, we got a ride out of the desert, goodbye Wadi Rum! We loaded our luggage into our car and made the 4 hours drive back to the Dead Sea. We took the route to Aqaba and then up the Jordan Valley Highway all the way to the Crowne Plaza Dead Sea where we stayed a night. It was strange driving through Aqaba that there was custom control considering we were still in Jordan.
After all those speedbumps, we arrived at the Crowne Plaza Dead Sea and it was super busy!!! I thought the Hilton Dead Sea was busy, this was 10x more busy and touristy! The driveway up to the lobby was packed with tour buses that we hardly could drive in. The parking lot was full so we had to use the valet to park our car. There was a dedicated check-in desk for IHG elites and we were all platinum. The hotel was full so we didn’t get an upgrade but the staff gave us free access to the spa to compensate. Crowne Plaza Dead Sea is a huge resort with tens of buildings, it gave me the Cancun resort vibe packed with tourists.
We were all in different buildings, opps, we forgot to contact the hotel to let us know we are traveling together to request our rooms to be close together. Our room was the worst room ever of all the Crowne Plaza hotels we stayed at! The room was falling apart! The bathroom was old and dark.
The shower curtain was falling apart, are you serious this is a 5* resort? It was of motel quality!!!!
This bar looked like it could fall off anytime.
The room was overdue for a refurb!!
The dirty sheet, OMG, was it changed? I had to call housekeeping to change the sheet, this was unacceptable!
The view of the large pool from our room’s balcony:
The pool is huge and lots of families vacation there.
We had a late lunch at the hotel’s Lebanese restaurant – Burj Al Hamam. The menu has a lot of selections but the quality was average. Grilled or fried cheese?
The bread was nice and hot.
We ordered so many appetizers to try…this was with seafood fillings and it was okay.
The skin was pretty dry on this one.
Jason ordered a lamb rack, it was decent.
The fried calamari has no taste and the waitress brought the dips afterward.
The mixed grill, the meats were dry.
I don’t remember what was this…
Lunch total was $184.56 for 7 of us so average $26 each, it was expensive and not good. After lunch, we went back to our room to get changed and headed down to the beach. It was easier to go down to the beach at the Crowne Plaza than the Hilton, just one elevator down instead of 3 or 4 elevators.
Another pool down here.
Their beach was packed with people, most of the beach chairs were taken!
The sea was very choppy that day so we didn’t bother to take a dip and it was impossible to float. So glad we did it at the Hiltons. There was a lifeguard there screaming at people not to do this and that. Even if the water is calm, we much preferred the beach at the Hilton with fewer guests.
Peter and Jeffrey did their Dead Sea mud as they arrived late that night when we stayed at the Hilton. Judy took a 15-minute dip in the water because her ankle was swollen from all the walk and hike; she twisted her ankle years ago and since then her ankle is very prone to swelling and pain. The healing power of the Dead Sea, after the dip, she said she felt like she has a new leg LOL! She can walk and no pain wow!!!
We didn’t stay at the beach for long and headed to the spa to check it out. The locker room, at least the women’s side, wasn’t well maintained. There were towels on the floor everywhere, some lockers have slippers, some don’t, and it doesn’t feel 5* at all.
The spa has a lot of pools and barely anyone is there. For certain, I will never pay to access the spa given the condition of this hotel was at.
A heated pool outside to watch the sunset but the sun was covered by the clouds.
There is also a sauna room and a Dead Sea pool which was filled with water from the Dead Sea. After the spa, it was dinner time. The buffet was full, the “Italian” restaurant is a bar near the lobby with a limited menu. We didn’t have much choice but to go back to the Lebanese restaurant.
The hotel lobby looked grand at least:
The pool was closed but lit up at night with LED lights:
We walked across the bridge as a shortcut.
Since we tried so many appetizers at lunch, there wasn’t much interesting left to try out. I ordered the steak, in big portions and edible except for some pieces that were rawer than I like.
This meat looked very dry…
The fish was okay.
We waited and waited, 3 dishes were missing! We asked the waiter and the kitchen forgot the rest of the order urg! Service was so slow and bad that we said to cancel the rest of the orders. We waited forever for the bill so we walked out to the cashier’s desk to get our bill and pay. We don’t trust the restaurant anymore so we double-checked the bill, we were so right, they charged us a dish that was canceled. So frustrated, the service in Jordan overall was bad considering the price we paid.
My thought of Jordan, if it was not Petra and Wadi Rum, I wouldn’t recommend Jordan. Food was bad, everything was expensive, and service was nonexistent. We all felt that their general attitude was that the tourist only comes for one time only so why not charge a high price and no need to go beyond on service as they are not expecting the tourist to return again. Out of a 10 rating, I would give Jordan a 8/10, it is still a high rating because Petra and Wadi Rum were amazing and unique places to experience. 1 point was deducted from service and another one was because of the food.