Amman is the cultural, vibrant and expanding capital city of Jordan. His Majesty King Abdullah is pushing economic and political reform, and has helped deliver greater foreign investment and improved publicprivate partnerships. Jordanian industry includes tourism, textiles, aerospace, defence, ICT, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. The city is famous for being spread across several hills or ‘jebels’ and is home to several ancient monuments, including the impressive 2,000-year-old amphitheatre.
The Warwick Il Palazzo (www.warwickilpalazzo.com) opened last year and is in a good central location. It comprises 76 guestrooms, rooftop terrace and pool, gym, Italian restaurant, lobby lounge and wine bar. There's also the classic Kempinski Hotel Amman (www.kempinski.com) with 278 guestrooms and elevators with great views across the city. Less than a 40-minute drive from Amman is the opulent Kempinski Ishtar Dead Sea Resort & Spa – the ideal twin-centre incentive for corporate groups.
Within the central gardens district is the Reem Al Bawadi restaurant famous for its meze and lahem mashwi (grilled meats) served, during summer, under Bedouin style tents and usually full of locals. The über modern Wild Jordan Foundation café (www.wildjordancafe-jo.com) is perfect for an informal brunch meeting and has a birds-eye view over downtown Amman.
Amman’s hilly topography provides no shortage of fashionable bars taking full advantage of the amazing views across a patchwork of low-rise sandstone buildings. Admire the panorama from Books@cafe (www.booksatcafe.com) located in the area of Rainbow Street and filled with young Ammanis. For more sophisticated surroundings, The Loft bar is the place to enjoy a cocktail, its rooftop terrace area the best place to enjoy balmy summer nights.
Getting thereEasyJet is wooing the business traveller with three flights a week to Amman from London Gatwick. Royal Jordanian and British Airways both operate non-stop flights between Heathrow and Amman, while one-stop options include Lufthansa via Frankfurt. The flight time is around five hours.
The white-coloured ‘Service’ (shared) taxis follow fixed routes, have fixed fares and are the most economical means of transport. Yellow taxis are for individual hire and run on the meter. Both can be hailed from the street and are by far the easiest and most affordable way to get anywhere in the city.
The official language is Arabic but English is widely spoken. The currency is the Dinar (£1 = 1.15JOD) and the time zone is GMT +2hrs. See: uk.visitjordan.com
Visit Amman’s Roman citadel, amphitheatre and archaeological museum before taking a look at a typical Arab market along Bin Talal Street in downtown. Continue the Roman legacy at the city of Jerash, before floating in the Dead Sea and being awe-inspired by the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Petra – both are feasible one-day excursions from the capital.
“Avoid Friday appointments. Drinking Arabic coffee is a ritual and served on all occasions. To signal that no more is wanted, slightly tilt the cup when handing it back”