Jordan, Part 1 – My first Hammam

Almost exactly a year ago, after agreeing that we wouldn’t do another big holiday and would try and see more of the UK that year, RBJ and I epically failed and booked a two week holiday in Jordan. We subscribe to Wanderlust travel magazine and when we were flicking through our folder of past  articles for inspiration, this one on Petra and Wadi Rum jumped out at us:

After researching lots of websites and blogs, we decided on the following itinerary:

Week 1  – Amman > Jerrash > Madaba > Petra

Week 2 – Diving in the Read Sea > Wadi Rum > The Dead Sea > Amman

We spent our first week seeing the sites of Amman, eating our body weight in Hummous and flat breads and searching (unsuccessfully!) for somewhere that would serve an alcoholic beer. A few photos of our trip:

D1

Hashem Restaurant, Downtown, Amman


d3

Mount Nebo


IMG_6733

The Treasury, Petra


IMG_6734

The Souk, Petra

It was in Petra, after over 8 hours on our feet hiking through the dusty paths and climbing the many steps, that we said goodbye to the incredible stone facades and made our way back to Amra Palace Hotel to experience our first traditional hammam. 

Amra Palace was not the poshest hotel and the rooms were a little dated. However it was located in Wadi Musa, only a 5 minute drive from the entrance to Petra and it had glowing reviews from past guests about the friendly staff and authentic spa so we decided to give it a go. 

View from the Amra Palace Hotel, Wadi Musa

The spa had its own entrance at the front of the hotel:

The heated pool and jacuzzi

We spent 15 minutes in the pool and jacuzzi before entering the spa for our appointment. We were shown into a changing room by an authoritarian looking lady without any instructions about what to wear or what was to happen. We kept our swimming gear on, put our towels and bathrobes into a locker and then were collected and directed towards a sauna and then a very very steamy steam room. Finally I was collected by the same stern lady and Russ by an equally stern looking guy and taken to a private room.

Now I quite like a firm massage and I hate nothing more than when you go for a massage and the masseur is too gentle and doesn’t really work at the knots and muscles. However this was not like anything I have ever experienced! After telling me to take my clothes off and lie on the stone table (like some sort of sacrifice!) the lady took large handfuls of coarse salts, slapped them on my skin and pummelled and scrubbed me to remove any hint of dirt and dust (as well as most probably my first two or three layers of skin!!) She then filled buckets of warm water and threw them over me to wash the salts away. This was then repeated another couple of times before she towelled me dry and covered my skin in thick sweet smelling oil and gave me a short but incredibly firm massage.

The experience overall was incredible – never in my life have I felt so clean!! I won’t lie – it wasn’t relaxing (and where my shoulders were a little burnt from the sun it was actually quite painful) but it definitely felt rejuvenating and afterwards my skin felt buttery soft and smooth.

All in all I would highly recommend checking this place out when visiting Petra for a truly authentic Hammam experience. The Amra Palace Hotel Hammam scores as follows:

COST: 5/5 (incredibly good value for money and a lot cheaper than the spas at the nearby Movenpick and Marriott hotels).

CLEANLINESS: 4/5

IN 3 WORDS: INVIGORATING, AUTHENTIC,  CLEANSING

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