x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Live it up in Dead Sea's glorious mud

The Life: Welcome to the Dead Sea; a lake around 80km long and up to 14km wide, separating Jordan to the east and Israel and the West Bank to the west.

Visitors can enjoy the Dead Sea's health benefits. Ammar Awad / Reuters
Visitors can enjoy the Dead Sea's health benefits. Ammar Awad / Reuters

One by one, bathers approach a ceramic pot filled with gooey mud, smother it on their bodies before hobbling - tin man-like - towards the salty waters.

There they gingerly succumb to the uplifting powers of the water, gently bobbing about as the sun sinks to the west.

Welcome to the Dead Sea; a lake about 80 kilometres long and up to 14km wide, separating Jordan to the east and the West Bank to the west. People have been descending upon the sea for thousands of years, many anxious to reap its health-giving properties. The mud too is reputed to be an excellent skin conditioner.

Today a growing number of business travellers and tourists head to the Jordan side of the Dead Sea as it becomes more accessible for travellers for all budgets.

Where to stay: Boasting five or six hotels, ranging from the two-star Dead Sea Resthouse at the cheaper-end of the scale to the pricier five-star Kempinski Hotel Ishtar. Many of them will have access to the sea as well as a swimming pool, gym and spa. Other hotels include Mövenpick Resort & Spa, Holiday Inn, Jordan Valley Marriott Resort & Spa and the Dead Sea Spa. There's also the newly-opened Crowne Plaza Hotel. Several other hotels are under construction too.

Dining out: When it comes to cuisine at the Dead Sea, don't hold your breath. Top-notch hotels may offer five-star treatment across most services but the food can often be disappointing. Be prepared to pay over the odds for the privilege of dining while enjoying one of the most spectacular sights in the Middle East. Visitors can expect to pay about 11 Jordanian dinars (Dh60) for a limp salad and small mineral water.

How to get there: The Dead Sea is about 90 minutes' drive from the capital, Amman. If you're staying at a five-star hotel at the resort, it is likely to offer a shuttle bus or car service from Queen Alia International Airport. Taxi services for travel to the Dead Sea can be purchased for the day at about 20 Jordanian dinars from Amman city centre, while hotel taxis in the area will charge more for the same service.

 

tarnold@thenational.ae