Where I stayed: Kempinski Ishtar, the Dead Sea

I don’t pick favourites easily because I tend to like everything and everyone too gosh darned much. I don’t think it’s fair to name anything as your favourite when you haven’t truly tried everything in the world yet, you know? How are you supposed to pick a favourite when another favourite could be right around the corner?

But I can say with some small measure of certainty that my stay at Kempinski Ishtar was a high point at the Lowest Point on Earth. (Ba dum tish.)


This massive complex is basically a resort, and I’d like to warn you about how confusing the elevators are. I don’t know why, but every time I tried to get off that elevator and make my way to the Sea or the pool, I got lost in the lobby or atop a building. Seriously.

There are about one million pools onsite, hundreds of loungers, a tennis court, gift shops, and restaurants with the kind of interior design that would make the Burj Al Arab weak in the knees, and of course, beachfront access to the Dead Sea. I was so stunned by the palm trees and the stark orange buildings and the chandeliers all over the place that one afternoon I just roamed around for hours, taking it all in. When I got back to my room, I found a note on my bed saying that the cleaning lady had found some of my “valuables” laying around, and she had stashed them in the safe for me. I had to call the front desk to get my things back, which proved to be bit of an ordeal. The valuables in question turned out to be some shitty earrings and other jewelry collected from Forever 21. Bless their hearts. They thought me fancy.


And the Dead Sea? Dude. I think my expectations were a little low, because while the floating baths at Spa-Nordik were pretty amazing, it came nowhere near the Dead Sea experience. I lubed up in mud, ran down to the shore, and then raced into the water at top speed. As soon as I lifted my feet from the bottom, I buoyed to the top like a beach ball. It was one of the most incredible experiences I’ve ever had – I mean, how does such a thing even EXIST?

Kempinski Dead Sea

And then, with the sun fading just beyond the hills, I made my way to the infinity pool overlooking the Sea, and watched that whole sunset thing happen with a dozen other travellers. We all drifted to the edge of the bowl-like pool, giving the illusion that the pool itself was merging with the Dead Sea. Not a single word was spoken – we took in that fiery orb of humanity descending on another day in complete and blissful silence. It’s an image that would remain with me long after my Jordan travels were over.

Kempinski Dead Sea

Accommodations: Private rooms, including full apartments.

Price: Expensive. Not gonna lie.

  • January 03 2014
    Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer

    I like the way you Canadians spell favorite. :-)
    Also, you are a kick ass travel writer. I try to read a lot of them – you know, professional research – and most bore me to tears and I stop at paragraph two, but you always amuse me right until the end. You should really give yourself a pat on the back.

    Also, I’ve had little desire to ever to go Jordan, but all your photos and definitely this post have made me reconsider… especially the pic of you drinking wine b/c I thought they didn’t allow wine there and that was probably one of the main reasons that I didn’t want to go. HA! :-)

    • January 08 2014

      Bahaha, bless you, Heidi! I appreciate that. I decided I wanted to challenge myself by writing hotel/restaurant reviews. Felt like I could make them entertaining if I put more of myself in them.

      The wine is fab, but hard to come across. Same with beer. Cost me about $26 for two beers at dinner one night. :-/ But kinda worth it..

  • January 07 2014

    I was just looking at trips to the Dead Sea today – I think it’s a sign I should go! PS Love the new site design :-)

    • January 08 2014

      Thanks Brittany! And you should GO! Coolest experience ever.

  • January 22 2014

    awww amazing! again… SUCH AMAZING WRITING!!! I have never read such a good post on the dead sea! you are defos one of my my favourite writer!

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.