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Where to stay: Wadi Rum Night Camp The main attraction of this luxury desert camp is its brilliantly designed pod bedrooms.
Made entirely out of transparent material, they allow you to fall asleep under the stars and wake up as the dawn turns the rocks from orange to red.
But the ever-increasing turmoil in neighboring Syria has had a powerful impact on international travel to a country that—also sandwiched between Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt—has long had to fight to retain its reputation as a stable destination.
And while Jordan is far safer to visit than any other country in the region, this small heart-shaped country on the Arabian Peninsula has been slowly losing its allure in the eyes of the travel community since the dawn of the Arab Spring.
The Jordan Trail, which launched in February this year, is a 400-mile trek down the entire country, running from Umm Qais in the north all the way to the Red Sea in the south.
Luckily, it’s been designed with amateurs in mind as well as serious adventurers, and can be broken into manageable sections.
With comfortable king-size beds, showers, and air-conditioning, this is definitely glamping with a capital G.
Dinner comes in the form of succulent stews cooked in steel pots buried in the sand—hugely tempting after a day of dawn hikes and camel rides.
But while Lawrence of Arabia, rather than Matt Damon, remains the most famous inhabitant of Wadi Rum, it’s the Bedouins who are the real face of the area.
And the numbers are telling: Petra would regularly receive 3,000 visitors a day in 2011, but at certain periods last year, as few as 300 people tackled the 12-mile hike from the opening of the Siq to mountaintop monastery.
And while it is certainly worrying for the local communities who rely on tourist dollars to survive, there is something extraordinarily privileged about visiting a 2,400-year-old city in virtual isolation. The experience begins with the Siq, a natural mile-long gorge of red sandstone that narrows to a few feet at certain points and then opens, dramatically, at the Treasury—the iconic facade that graces the front cover of nearly every guidebook to Jordan.
It also has big, comfortable beds to sleep off the climb in and a delightful rooftop restaurant with views across the ancient city.
The Four Seasons Amman With surprisingly affordable rooms, the Four Seasons is a popular choice, thanks to its rooftop pool, generous breakfasts, and central location.
The Movenpick Resort Petra The entrance of the hotel is a one-minute walk from the gates of Petra.