The first thing I do when researching any trip is look up the points hotel options, so when I decided to head to Jordan to see the ancient city of Petra, I almost immediately came across the Petra Marriott Hotel in Wadi Musa. Contrary to what you might assume, Jordan is not a cheap country by any means, so the thought of using points to cover my stay was very appealing!
While the booking process was frustrating to say the least, ultimately, I’m so glad we chose this hotel. Below, I’ve outlined what I loved about this property and why you should put it on your short list of Petra hotels!
STAYING AT THE PETRA MARRIOTT IN WADI MUSA
Unlike some of the other hotels in Wadi Musa, the Petra Marriott is not walking distance from Petra itself. You’ll need to drive or take a taxi, there, and the ride takes about 7 minutes.
But what the Marriott lacks in convenience, it more than makes up for in other ways. The hotel sits atop a hill, away from the noise and tourism commotion. Petra is a busy site that attracts lots of visitors, meaning your typical tacky shops and inauthentic restaurants surround it.
Even better than the relative quiet, though, is the Petra Marriott’s sweeping panoramic views of the valley and surrounding mountains. Watch the sun sink behind the red rocks from the comfort of your lounge chair, and you’ll understand exactly what I mean. I wouldn’t hesitate for a second to choose this hotel over a closer one, especially considering how easy it is for the hotel to call you an affordable taxi (a round-trip ride down to Petra will set you back 10 JD).
I don’t always include a section about a property’s staff in hotel reviews, but it would be impossible not to mention how above and beyond the staff at the Marriott Petra goes to make guests feel welcome. Their helpfulness started before we even arrived, with assistance coordinating transportation from Aqaba up to Petra. They secured a reasonably priced, English-speaking driver for us who we ended up hiring multiple times throughout our time in the country, and they couldn’t have been nicer about answering our many questions about pricing and timing.
Once we arrived, it was fully evident that true hospitality is a major value at this hotel. During sunset, I took out my tripod, and the manager came up to with a serious look on his face. I was sure he was going to tell me I needed to put my tripod away, but no—he just wanted to tell me that the staff wanted to make the property feel like home and that I should feel free to ask for anything I needed. He walked around greeting each guest this way personally, shaking hands, extending his welcome and offering to take photos. I’ve never experienced anything like it.
If there’s any part of the Petra Marriott experience that doesn’t score top marks, it’s the rooms, which feel a little tired. While ours was perfectly comfortable and had as much space as we needed, it could have used an update at some point over the last few years.
It’s hard to complain, though, because the Marriott upgraded us to the hotel’s highest floor, awarding us stunning views of the valley below. Overall, despite its need for a refresh, our room was a perfectly good place to spend an evening or two.
PETRA MARRIOTT PROPERTY
The best part of the Petra Marriott is hands-down its outdoor space. Behind the property, a beautiful pool overlooks the mountains and valley below, and there are plenty of places to sit and enjoy the view.
Inside, though, you’ll also find plenty of attention to detail and local touches that make for an inviting space. Jordanian ceramics, a Turkish bath and beautiful design motifs throughout the hotel give the Petra Marriott a sense of place, unlike so many other chain hotels.
PETRA MARRIOTT DINING
The Petra Marriott has a number of different dining options, which include everything from casual Middle Eastern food to a full-on traditional feast inside a Bedouin tent. Dushara serves guests for breakfast and lunch, Hala Hala is open for dinner, and Aretas Bar & Lounge offers snacks and drinks in front of panoramic views, and Al Matal provides the tent experience.
Not caring to end up at a tourist trap restaurant near Petra, we stayed at the Marriott for a casual dinner on our only night in town. We didn’t have anything too extensive—falafel, hummus and lavash—but everything we had was great, as well as totally reasonably priced for a hotel restaurant.
The next morning, the spread at Dushara was seriously impressive. I love Middle Eastern breakfasts because they offer more savory items that Americans don’t usually think of for breakfast, including grilled vegetables and olives. Of course, the Petra Marriott hit all the classics, too, with a buffet spread that spanned several tables.
Unlike many Marriott properties, this one provided breakfast for free for Gold elites, and the staff even gave us plastic to-go boxes to pack up food we could take into Petra for lunch. It was so nice of them and yet another example of this property’s stellar service!
BOOKING THE PETRA MARRIOTT IN WADI MUSA
Here’s my only complaint related to this property: Trying to book it with points was a nightmare. It’s unfortunate but well-documented that Marriott often finds ways to get around its “no blackout dates” policy when it comes to award stays, and that’s exactly the issue I ran into when trying to make a reservation.
The website showed no availability for those booking with points, which could have just meant the hotel was sold out. After all, a couple others we looked at really were sold out, even booking a few months in advance!
But I saw such little availability for April that I suspected the hotel just wasn’t making award stays available. And each day I checked, certain dates opened up and others closed, which confirmed my theory.
After checking every day for about a month, I finally gave up and made a cancelable reservation elsewhere. But lo and behold, a few weeks later, I randomly went to the site and gave it a look, and my date was free!
PAYING WITH POINTS
I used a free night certificate from the Marriott Bonvoy Premier Plus Business Credit Card, good for stays of 25,000 points. The certificates have thankfully now jumped to 35,000 points; for 25,000, it was difficult to find good places to use them. But the Petra Marriott represented the perfect opportunity: Cash rates were high, but points rates were low. With my 25,000 points, I skipped out on paying a room rate of 299 JD, which came to 351.92 JD with taxes and fees. That’s about $497.21, meaning I got 1.9 cents per Marriott point—way above the value you can normally get!
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Hope you enjoyed this review of the Petra Marriott in Wadi Musa! Have you been to Petra? Where did you stay? Let me know in the comments! >>
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