It’s something of a surreal moment to be sipping a cocktail at the Mövenpick Resort & Spa Dead Sea, flanked by mountains to the east and the rolling hills of Jerusalem to the west, and reflect on the fact that you have entered an ancient history time warp.
This is especially so when you learn that King Herod and the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra bathed in the incredibly buoyant waters of the Dead Sea which lies a few steps away from where you are sitting and where you floated buoyantly today.
Deep in the Jordan Valley and 55 km southeast of Amman, it is an area that is believed to have been home to five Biblical cities: Sodom, Gomorrah, Adman, Zebouin and Zoar and that down the road a clip, John the Baptist was beheaded and Moses stood on Mt Nebo and saw the vast panorama that encompasses the Jordan River Valley, the Dead Sea, Jericho and Jerusalem.
Although sparsely populated and serenely quiet now, the result of former conflicts across the Dead Sea, a series of new roads, hotels and archaeological discoveries are enticing international visitors to this fascinating region, as it did to kings, emperors, traders and prophets in antiquity.
Seaside facilities include modern hotels with therapeutic clinics and restaurant/bathing/sports complexes, a purpose-built conference centre – the King Hussein Bin Talal Convention Centre, managed by Hilton and meeting facilities in all the major hotels, such as the 5Star Mövenpick.
With its wow factor architectural design straight out of a traditional Arabian village, the Mövenpick Resort’s grounds are interspersed with waterways, lush gardens and towering palm trees, a sharp contrast to the dry, arid landscape in which it sits.
346 tastefully designed rooms have spacious stone balconies while others have terraces that either look to the sea, gardens or mountains.
A feature of the hotel is its convention centre with two ballrooms and a conference room for up to 1,500 people.
There are five breakout rooms, a Roman theatre for more than 500, a Beach Lounge for a maximum of 350 guests and an auditorium for up to 198.
With a seemingly endless array of restaurants and bars, with spectacular international and Middle Eastern cuisine, the Mövenpick could only be described as sublime.
Then, for pure indulgence there’s their Zara Spa, one of the largest spas in the Middle East, with more than 70 treatments dedicated to luxury, pampering, relaxation and wellness including a therapy center for prophylaxis, treatments and rehabilitation.