Movenpick Aqaba joins growing market

Travel Weekly Middle East editor Grant Flowers recently stayed at the Movenpick Aqaba, in Aqaba, Jordan. Here is his report:

AQABA, Jordan -- This Jordanian city, the only port in the country, may still lag behind Israel's Eilat as a Red Sea tourism destination, but it is making progress.

In recent years, the city has added a number of properties. One of the newest is the Movenpick Aqaba, a 235-room hotel that opened in April 2000.

The Movenpick Aqaba has a top-notch beachfront location, though to access the beach, guests must cross a road. Traffic can be avoided by taking a pedestrian overpass across the road.

The Movenpick's lobby and lower-level public area make a surprisingly grand entrance. A two-story entrance hall with a fountain provides a sense of arrival, and guests will find plenty of plush seating in the lobby. The area's dimness offers a welcome change from the light outside.

Meeting rooms also are located on this level, as well as an in-house restaurant.

The rooms are very nice, placing emphasis on creating a cool, shady environment -- important when temperatures outside can soar above 100 degrees.

Thick, gold curtains can keep out the sun, and gold also is used in the upholstery on a lounge chair and ottoman.

Beds are wonderful, with great threads and a duvet. Toss in ceiling fans and an efficient air conditioner, and the outside heat is forgotten very easily.

The bathrooms are classy and very European in style. Fixtures are a gleaming white, and the sink is inset into the counter. There's plenty of room and light.

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