A three-hour flight from Dubai to Amman’s Queen Alia International Airport is no great stretch, and the Jordanian capital is only a half-hour drive away. So it’s easy enough to get here still feeling fresh – it’s doable in an afternoon. The drive can be frantic at times (well, all the time it seems), but once we pull up outside the Fairmont, which is barely a year old, the welcome could not be warmer. Drinks on arrival, cold towels and a speedy and pleasant check-in, before my personal “butler” escorts me to my room on the 15th floor.
Billed by the hotel itself as the city’s glitziest area, there’s no denying that what’s known as Amman’s “Fifth Circle” has an entirely different vibe to that experienced in the bustling city centre, which features narrow alleyways and raucous market traders, although these are all just a cab ride away. The Fairmont stands a couple of minutes’ walk from the region’s most prestigious residences. It also shares the neighbourhood with newly built rival hotels, and there are more under construction – evidence that this is the place to be for well-heeled tourists and businesspeople. It’s quiet up here, with a nicely sedate pace which immediately puts guests at ease.
The 15th floor is reserved for smokers, which normally would have me asking to be reassigned, but mercifully there’s no hint of it anywhere. Nor does it penetrate my room, which is a wonderful space, by the way, with commanding views over the surrounding areas. The in-room facilities are all you could wish for, with a Nespresso machine and an ironing kit in one of the closets. The king-size bed is the most comfortable I have ever slept in, and the bathroom is a white marble glory, with high-quality brassware and a wide selection of fragrant Le Labo Rose 31 toiletries.
Attentive is an understatement – nothing is too much trouble for any member of staff, but there’s a respectful distance kept at all times, which must be why so many of the world’s powerful leaders come to stay here while in Amman for conferences and other diplomatic duties.
The Fairmont’s a cosmopolitan place. Its grand and open spaces with their elaborate- yet-tasteful furnishings and locally produced artworks appear rather empty at first, but my visit is in the off-season. At night there’s a vibrant atmosphere with the city’s glamorous residents descending on Caprice, where good food is accompanied by chilled beats. It’s obvious that the Fairmont is already making its mark on Amman and the patrons evidently view this as a cool place to hang out.
Avoid the crowds: 7 popular destinations and the places to go instead
The ultimate adventure tour of Jordan
My Kind of Place: downtown and central Amman, Jordan
With seven dining venues, guests have no shortage of options and each restaurant is unique. Salt, a steakhouse eatery, is an exceptional space that would not be out of place in 1930s New York. Its food is world class, with even pesky vegans like me catered for with tasty and inventive dishes which have even the carnivores looking on enviously. The others are Nur (Levantine cuisine), Caprice (an international menu), Tsuki (Japanese), Nasim (traditional Jordanian and Arabic dishes), Lumi (pool bar and grill) and Crystal, which is a sophisticated coffee lounge adjacent to the lobby.
The location, service and the sheer variety of dining options.
That I had to leave.
True five-star hotels like this are a rarity in Amman, so the Fairmont is a luxury game-changer for the city.
The bottom line
Rates at Fairmont Amman (www.fairmont.com/amman) start from 175 Jordanian dinars (Dh906) including taxes and fees.