This post is part of our DAI Travelers Say… series, made up of client testimonials and personal experience of their adventures.
Dear Ms. Santos:
What can I say about Jordan?……it was wonderful; what a great experience. Destinations &Adventures Intl. planning was superb, hotels just great, and Mike and I accomplished our goal of seeing the best of Jordan.
The highlight of our travels in Jordan was Sofian Nawash, our guide, and Machmoud our driver.
What a pleasure to be with these two. They were more than guide and driver, they became our friends, and I hope the feelings were mutual. Sofian’s knowledge of the various sites was complete and informative, and his English excellent. While driving between sights, Mike and I asked many questions of both about everyday life in Jordan and we received heartfelt responses. Machmoud was a careful and attentive driver and always assured our automobile was spotless.
We learned the hand signals necessary to order Turkish coffee while inside the car, from the many roadsides vendors. Machmoud treated to a wonderful picnic lunch of local Jordanian food which we enjoyed in the sunshine at a very high overlook of Petra and the Wadi Musa area. Sofian bought us lunch in Madaba. Sofian instructed me on how to bargain with local merchants while shopping. While I purchased a lovely rug, I could not find two small ones I had in mind. On our second day in Petra, Mike and I were on our own exploring, while Sofian toured the local stores in Wadi Musa, found two small rugs and presented them to me as a present as I was his guest!
Whether at the ticket booth at a site, or at the hotel reception checking in, Sofian was always making all the arrangements to assure our experience was flawless. When the Wadi Rum weather took a turn for the worst, Sofian easily arranged our camel ride for the next morning prior to leaving for the Dead Sea. There seemed to be nothing that Sofian and Machmoud could not do in order to assure Mike and I had a wonderful time. We even learned a few good jokes about the locals of Tefilah, the Jordan equivalent of our ethnic jokes about people from Norway or Sweden.
The hotels chosen by you were very nice. The Movenpick Petra upgrade from the Marriott Petra was a perfect choice for you only have to walk out the front entrance of the Movenpick and you are at the Petra Visitor Center. I would recommend this always be your choice in Petra for the Marriott is some distance away and a taxi is necessary to get to Petra. I do not know the cost difference, but the convenience is well worth it. The Movenpick service is impeccable, the decor lovely and the food very good.
The Kempinski Ishtar at the Dead Sea is “over the top”, but we enjoyed it. Dinner outside at the edge of an infinity pool looking across the Dead Sea at the twinkling lights of Jericho and Jerusalem is unforgettable.
The upgrade “tent” at Wadi Rum was really much more that a tent. Two bedrooms, full bath and a living room with sliding glass door overlooking the desert surely exceeds the definition of tent. Thank you.
Tourism is down since the Arab Spring of 2010-2012. Beautiful hotels have a large fixed cost that can only be absorbed by a significant numbers of visitors. While Mike and I will extol the virtues of a Jordanian vacation, I would think a proactive effort by your company, UTA and the hotels to cooperate in designing “packages” for tourists would go a long way to getting visitors to Jordan. We came up with our own idea of a Jordan vacation; we never saw any sort of marketing to lure us to Jordan, and Jordan has an interesting history and world class sites.
It is easy to see the effects of the drop in tourism, for the Jordanian government has let slip the maintenance at the sites and in the museums, especially in the toilet areas. That is particularly unappealing to the western tourist.
Mike has read and approved what has been said here.
Thanks for a well planned and executed trip.