Advantages Decent rooms, good-enough food, friendly service
Disadvantages You are in hotel-chain-land.
|Value for Money|
|Quality of Rooms|
|Standard of Service|
|Quality of Food & Drink|
The flight time had been changed and then it was delayed at Heathrow because of those inexplicable folk who somehow fail to make the flight even though their luggage does… so we have to sit on the tarmac for another hour while their bags are found and off-loaded. [I don't object to the security measure, but I can't help thinking that while all of that is going on, the passengers concerned are stood at the gate complaining about not being allowed on board because check-in has closed! Any room for flexibility here guys?]
Then there was the slight hiccup at Amman airport on landing when those of us suspicious enough to be carrying binoculars had to open our luggage, dig them out and hand them over. I never did get to the bottom of this one.
"It's normal, it's ok, … [lots of Arabic inter-change with the guy behind the desk]… hold on…" ~ this from our local agency rep earning his keep. Eventually, we were given our bins back none the wiser.
The point of all this was that we were late arriving in Amman. It was dark, it was cold (!) and most of us hadn't picked up that, actually, no, we wouldn't be getting dinner tonight.
This did not go down well. There were mutterings around the bus… but by the time we made the transfer from the airport to the Ibis, we'd worked out that (a) the change was on the documentation had we bothered to read it and (b) most of us really weren't that bothered. It was getting late, we were tired, there was a supermarket over the road, we'd been fed on the plane, we were (in essence) ready to give the Ibis a fair crack of the whip.
Thirty minutes from the airport and (in the rush-hour) probably about the same from the centre of town, the Ibis is on Al Madinah Al Monawarah Street, in the business district. It's not far from the Golden Jubilee Circle on Wasfi Al Tall Street for those used to negotiating by Amman's much-prized roundabouts. (Amman…Milton Keynes…what can I say?!)
Just across the road is the Amman Mall, a fairly typical modern shopping centre with, among other perhaps less relevant things for those just arrived, a phone outlet selling local SIM cards and a decent supermarket for stocking up lunch-time picnic fodder, late-night snacks and the all-important water. If you're really desperate there's also a drive thru MacDonalds! We weren’t.
The hotel IS on a fairly busy road, but the traffic calms right down after business hours so at the times you're likely to be in the hotel it really isn't an issue. Picturesque it isn't but it does try internally, and a central courtyard offers a surprisingly pleasant "outside" space.
Check-in & -Out
Being with a group whose leader had arrived a couple of days ahead, we were pre-checked-in, so we already had our keys ahead of arrival. This means that I can't comment on their normal check-in processes but can at least vouch for the fact that they know how to handle a large party.
From what I did notice there were generally speaking always at least two people on reception, multi-tasking when needed.
On the occasion that I mislaid my room key, I was given a duplicate with no questions asked, which was slightly concerning.
Check-out was quick and easy. The bill for extras was accurate and produced within seconds of request.
I don't generally rate Ibis particularly highly. My experience of them in the UK is on a par with Travelodge i.e. at the very basic end of acceptability. I was therefore presently surprised. A king-sized double-bed, dark wooden fixtures, a padded sead-cum-case-stand, a window-wall to allow in lots of light, black-out curtains allow you not to have it too early, hanging space (with combination lock safe), flat-screen TV (not tried) and an unremarkable bathroom provided a perfectly acceptable introduction to the country's hotels. Yes, it's a chain. Yes, you could have been anywhere on the planet. But it was comfortable, quiet (I didn't hear the call to prayer in the morning). Room temperature was easily controlled. The bed was comfortable. I slept well. The décor was simple and classic, rather than basic and unconsidered. It worked.
Although I didn't personally use it I'm told that the in-room wifi did its job.
Food & Facilities
Breakfast and dinner the next day were served in the mezzanine restaurant. Both were buffet affairs and generally geared to the Western traveller as much as the local business man.
The only interesting observation at breakfast was a wary approach to "foul with condiment". It turned out to be Ful (a fava bean stew often served for breakfast), in this case spiced. Otherwise, there was as wide a range of breakfast foodstuff as you could possible ask for. The tea and coffee may have been a bit insipid and they didn't seem to have enough cups to go around, we kept having to wait for someone to return with a new batch hot from the dishwasher, but no real complaints.
Likewise dinner: decent food, a wide-enough selection, but nothing very special.
The hotel has a bar discretely located across an internal courtyard from the main lobby. Soft drinks and hot beverages are also available in the lobby itself. The courtyard has external seating but it was far too cold this early in the year to even think about it.
Booking & Price
I stayed as part of package so cannot comment on ease of booking or price other than to say that they are listed on my favourite website for independent arrangements (booking.com) who at the time of writing are offering about £64 per night for a double room. Ibis's direct booking website suggests rates of around £50 to £55.
It is an Ibis, but better than I would have expected on the back of the name. Nothing particularly quaint or charming or interesting, but no complaints either. Service was friendly and efficient.
© Lesley Mason
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Ibis Amman offers contemporary accommodation opposite Amman Mall, surrounded by the citys business and diplomatic district. Jordan University is...
Shipping: refer to website
Availability: Price is per double room per night and may vary depending on date booked