It was already dark when we pulled up to Hayat Zaman Hotel, a complex of stone buildings outside the Jordanian town of Petra. A maze of exterior corridors connected the hotel’s many buildings, housing guest rooms and suites, a swimming pool, and a restaurant.
Wandering through these rustic walkways to my room felt like walking back into an earlier era. But there was nothing rustic about the stylish rooms at this smartly-designed hotel that’s convenient to the most visited archeological site in Jordan.
Here’s the scoop:
Hayat Zaman Hotel is located about five miles south of the town of Petra and about six miles from the Petra Visitor Center, where many visitors start their visit to this famous archeological site. The hotel is set apart from the other accommodations, restaurants, and shops drawing tourists in town, and a stay here offers a break from the area’s tourist hubbub.
The guest rooms vary in size and shape, but all feel romantic, with dark wood furnishings, including carved wooden headboards, and colorful textile accents, whether in the fabrics covering the side chairs, bright throw pillows, or woven rugs on the tile floors. Some units have stone walls or archways that mirror the stone buildings themselves.
Baths are modern, and rooms have Wi-Fi, teakettles, and minibars.
After dropping our bags in our rooms, our group met in the hotel’s main restaurant for a buffet dinner, where the selection of salads alone would have made an ample feast. A chef was frying falafel, another was carving roast leg of lamb, and buffet stations held options ranging from fish with tahini sauce to beef stronganoff, as well as an assortment of sweets. While the food wouldn’t rank as “gourmet,” it was plentiful and fresh.
Early the next morning, the sun’s glow reflected on the stone walls as I made my way to the restaurant for another buffet, this time a breakfast of cheeses, hummus, labneh, salads, eggs, fruit, and pastries.
From the hotel, it was about a 30-minute drive to “Little Petra,” where we hiked five miles through the desert between the almost eerie rock formations that made the dramatic landscape seem more like a moonscape. The trail took us to Petra itself, the UNESCO World Heritage Site, with magnificent structures carved into the red cliffs.
In many years, Petra has drawn close to a million visitors who throng this archeological site. Staying behind the stone walls at Hayat Zaman Hotel lets you get away from the crowds in a stylish, more secluded, and romantic lodging.
Summer and winter are low season in Petra, when double room rates at Hayat Zaman Hotel start at about US$150/night. In the peak spring and fall months, starting rates rise to around US$500/night. You can make your reservations directly at the hotel website, or check Booking.com to see if you can find a deal.
For other unique stays in Jordan, read our reviews of Saraya Rum Private Luxury Camp in Jordan’s Wadi Rum Desert and Feynan Ecolodge: Off the Grid Adventures in Jordan.
Hotel feature by Vancouver-based travel, food, and feature writer Carolyn B. Heller. Photos © Carolyn B. Heller. Magic Travels, with support from the Jordan Tourism Board, arranged my stay at Petra’s Hayat Zaman Hotel as part of the Adventure Travel Trade Association‘s Elevate Near East event.