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Wed 16 Sep 2009 04:00 AM

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Spring retreat

CEO Middle East checks-in at one of Jordan’s newest luxury hotels, Evason Ma’In Hot Springs & Six Senses Spa.

Spring retreat
Spring retreat
Evason Ma’In has 97 rooms including Evason Rooms and the Royal Suite, which features two bedrooms, a private spa and a terrace, giving fantastic views of the Dead Sea.

CEO Middle Eastchecks-in at one of Jordan’s newest luxury hotels, Evason Ma’In Hot Springs & Six Senses Spa.

Living in Dubai, where natural surroundings are often limited to the odd trip to the desert or a weekend in Fujairah, makes one appreciate natural beauty all the more. There are few places more naturally beautiful than the two hot springs that flow into the river at Ma’In, Jordan where the luxury hotel group, Six Senses, has just opened its new hotel and spa.

A cascading backdrop to the hotel, the hot springs, located on the edge of Wadi Mujib are nearly 900ft below sea level and feed directly into the nearby Dead Sea. According to legend these hot, mineral springs were once a favourite spot for Herod the Great to take his bath. The newly renovated Evason Ma’In Hot Springs & Six Senses Spa has done everything to maximise this stunning view.

Located 30km from the ‘mosaic’ city of Madaba and a one hour drive from Amman Queen Alia International Airport, Evason Ma’In is a peaceful oasis of calm. Once a bustling hotel chain, Six Senses has spent $12m transforming the existing site into a traditional Jordanian spa experience carefully using earthy and muted tones, fabrics and swinging chairs, epitomising understated luxury. Evason Ma’In has 97 rooms including 66 46 sq m Evason Rooms and the 180 sq m Royal Suite, which features two bedrooms, a private spa and a wraparound terrace, giving fantastic views to the hot springs and the Dead Sea in the distance. Like the reception area, all rooms feature calming fabrics and colours, and perhaps some of the most comfortable beds and bedding
CEO Middle Easthas ever experienced.

Downstairs, the hotel features a number of dining areas from the aptly-named Brown and White bars to Zarb, where guests can enjoy a traditional Bedouin experience with food freshly prepared by the local Bedouins. One of the most relaxing spots in the hotel is the Wine Bar, a cave-like area that serves tapas and local wine throughout the day.

Other communal areas include the library, a comfortable area filled with books, DVDs and CDs, as well as internet access, and the Wine Cellar, which boasts more than 200 different wines from the new and old worlds, an ideal venue for wine tasting and tapas style dining.

For guests that actually make it out of the hotel, there is the Panorama Restaurant, a Six Senses-run restaurant just a 10 minute drive away. Located on the cliff top at the edge of the Dead Sea, diners can watch the sun go down and catch a glimpse of the lights of Jerusalem. The more adventurous can climb to the source of the spring and enjoy a spot of lunch that is delivered to hungry hikers in a basket across the river using a pulley system.

Evason Ma’In, like all of the other Six Senses hotels across the world, makes maintaining the surrounding environment top priority. Evason Ma’In is a qualified carbon absorbent hotel, recycles all of its onsite waste and uses only renewable timber.

While chefs use fresh produce from the hotel’s brand new herb and vegetable garden, the spa also utilises the local produce for many of its treatments including a ground date body polish and an olive oil massage. This environmental philosophy also extends to the hotel’s team of staff that includes a dedicated environmentalist to ensure that all of the hotel’s work follows the best environmental practices. Local staff — or hosts as they are referred to at Six Senses — are hired as much as possible, even if that requires a long term approach to training.

While the bigger of the two springs is probably the hotel’s main attraction, the smaller should by no means be forgotten about. Flowing into the natural mineral swimming pool, which all guests can access following a treatment at the spa, it is well worth the five minute buggy ride down the hill.

The day spa menu features a long list of treatments, including the popular SLOW options, inspired by the historic spice, silk and frankincense routes, which combine Dead Sea salts with mud, organic Jordanian olive oil, ripe dates and the therapeutic waters of the nearby springs.

Although the hotel is hugely successful at managing to keep its guests on-site, it also offers an activity service that guests should make full use of, particularly in the cooler winter months. Planned trips include a day trip to the Dead Sea — where a full mud mask in the sunshine is de rigueur — and shopping trips to Amman, as well as overnight trips to Petra, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, which is located three hours away.

Keen chefs should also make use of the hotel’s on-site cooking courses where they can either take classes in the olive groves or in the hotel’s all-day dining restaurant.

Those that don’t want to take part in planned activities should check out the local scenery using the bicycles or jogging and walking trails.

But good luck trying to leave the hotel.

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