Although large cities are not what really drives our travel obsession and never really at the top of our itinerary, Amman left us a little pleasantly surprised and gave us quite a bit more than what we had anticipated.
The historical Amman Citadel is probably one of the most visited attractions within the city and was well worth the visit. Raised above the much built up surrounding city, this ancient site of Rabbath-Ammon sits on Amman’s highest hill and overlooks downtown. The site is home to a series of historical buildings which dates back to the Bronze Age and has been rebuilt many times during the ages moving through the Iron Ages as well as the Roman, Byzantine and Umayyad periods. As such an ancient site, you can well imagine how the levels in structures vary across the site, both literally and metaphorically, with some structures having very few remains whereby others still have so much still to show. Both the Umayyad Palace and Temple of Hercules are two of the more prominent sights which despite their age still illustrate their size and splendour.
Surrounded by a 1700m long wall we were able to touch most edges and view the city from most angles giving us vistas of the ancient roman theatre, downtown Amman and the very clustered housing layout which occupies virtually every square metre of the city. Despite being the characteristic concrete jungle which is expected in a capital city, the tightly packed streets which are filled with similar sized buildings, all of which have the exact same colour, does create a very impressive backdrop which funnily enough is quite admirable.
The Boulevard Arjaan by Rotana
When on the road for considerable periods of time we feel that our accommodation also plays quite a considerable role in determining which side of the bed you wake up on in the morning. It helps mould our overall experience whether it be down to the people, location or even matching our craving and expectations. With all three surpassing every expectation, The Boulevard Arjaan by Rotana, really did set the tone and kick start our amazing journey through Jordan and will always be somewhere which we look back on and smile. Located in the heart of Amman these luxurious apartments with modern interior designs equipped with lavish furniture and all the luxuries you could ask for when on your travels, lives up to its five star status leaving us in total admiration and gratitude. With a range of studio apartments to four bedroom penthouses The Boulevard Arjaan by Rotana is able to accommodate for any size party.
Along with all the individual private facilities which comes with each of the apartments is a tough choice between their two signature restaurants Café Italia and Café Margaux (Italian and French Cuisines). Fortunately we were around for long limelight enough to be able to visit them both, and it was a very good thing we did as they both delivered some exceptional food which was accompanied with a very friendly, conscientious team who ensured we enjoyed every aspect of our meal. As well as the restaurants providing two very different cuisines, the layout, style and formality of them were also very different, with Café Italia taking a more relaxed café approach whilst Café Margaux was considerably more formal, directing more towards a fine dining experience without going overboard.
In such a warm climate such as the Middle East, an entire day roaming the streets of Amman can tend to be somewhat tiring when it comes to the heat, especially when doing a considerable amount of walking visiting many of the many historical sites. Having the access to some sort of pool to cool off after a busy morning is definitely a wise idea but being able to enjoy The Boulevard Arjaan’s roof top pool which overlooks Abdali and the vibrant capital is a true luxury. Overlooking the unique scenes of Amman, an afternoon by the pool, raised well above the rooftops is just what is needed to prepare for an evening in amongst the hustle and bustle of downtown Amman. Having been able to enjoy their accommodation including their facilities, we most certainly could not fault them in any aspect and is somewhere you could spend a simple stop-over or settle in for an entire week.
Downtown Amman - Wust al Balad
Downtown Amman is a very vibrant area of the city which is lined with many local restaurants and shops and full of life. These shops range from selling local confectionary and fresh juices to the very traditional women’s clothing which is found in virtually every other shop. Scattered in amongst the local shops are quite a number of the customary touristic souvenir shops which sell all the typical souvenirs as well as a number of unique Jordanian goods such as the men’s Keffiyeh, also known as the Hattah. Off the main street you will also find that the narrower streets house almost anything from tiny supermarkets, kebab shops and butchers to services such as repair shops, travel agencies and barber shops. Squeezed into these lanes at night are many streets vendors who come out and sell virtually anything imaginable which allows for a good old gander in amongst the energetic atmosphere and really enjoy and appreciate the local way of life.