Six Senses continues the expansion of its lifestyle spa in the Middle East with this latest offering at the new Evason resort in Jordan.
Set in an oasis at the foot of a deep, rocky canyon on the eastern shores of the Dead Sea, the sandstone exterior of the hotel, with its arches and domes, complements the surrounding sheer rock walls. Inside, the look is more that of a contemporary Arabian palace, with a stylishly simplistic blend of pale pastel colours and inviting, dark-wood plump sofas and day beds. Ethnic lamps and ornaments complete the picture.
However, the most impressive aspect is the ferocious display of geothermal activity – steaming springs splutter through fissures in the rocks and a sulphurous waterfall plunges from the clifftop above the main building. All this is put to good use in the spa, which is just a short buggy ride further into the canyon. Focused on a dipping pool fed by a hot-spring waterfall, the spa offers the familiar menu of Six Senses treatments along with an extensive range that highlights the therapeutic properties of the local waters.
When guests aren't being pampered in the spa, they generally spend their days relaxing on one of the many outdoor terraces or cooling off in the pool. But Six Senses Ma'In is also within easy day-trip distance of some of Jordan's famous sights, including archaeological sites such as the prehistoric petroglyphs at Wadi Rum, the rock-cut architecture of Petra, the Byzantine mosaics of Madaba, and the Roman ruins at Jerash. On a clear day, the Dead Sea shimmers like a mirage and, at night, the lights of Bethlehem beckon.
There are 97 rustically chic rooms and suites in which light-wood floors and pale plaster walls and ceilings are complemented by dark wooden beams and furniture. The soft furnishings are a rich palette of burnt ochre and orange.
The marble bathrooms feature rain showers and are stocked with Six Senses toiletries. All of the rooms are spacious and have floor-to-ceiling windows which open on to balconies that offer either Dead Sea or mountain views.
The hi-tech facilities in the rooms include large flat-screen televisions and CD/DVD players. Rooms also have DSL broadband and there is WiFi available in both the library and the lobby spaces.
The food and drink
International fare is on offer in the large all-day dining room, which leads out on to a terrace for al-fresco eat
ing overlooking the falls. There are various chef stations serving both freshly prepared Mediterranean and Arabic dishes. The resort aims to use local ingredients where possible – an organic vegetable and herb garden has just been planted in the grounds. There are several bars, including one which serves tapas, but you would be advised to steer clear of the complicated cocktails such as vodka martinis – mine was tragic.
Bistro cuisine is available by the pool, plus a wide choice of tasty homemade ice-creams is served here. Eat Bedouin-style by candlelight in the olive grove, where, on selected evenings, the hotel's chefs prepare a slow-cooked feast in a traditional zarb, a sealed charcoal-fired pit in the ground. Dishes include platters of marinated chicken, lamb and root vegetables. A three-course meal with wine costs £45.
There is a wide range of activities on offer to guests, from early-morning hikes and breakfast picnics by the falls to full-day desert, Dead Sea and sightseeing itineraries. Catch up on the latest films and classics at Cinema Paradiso, the hotel's outdoor cinema which shows movies after dinner. The soundtrack echoes around the canyon as guests recline on day beds and munch freshly-made popcorn available from the bar.
All public spaces and rooms are accessible for wheelchair users. There is a supervised club for children which offers video and board games, painting and calligraphy. No pets are permitted, except guide dogs.
A double room costs $243 (£152) per night, including breakfast. Ian McCurrach travelled as a guest of Cox & Kings (020-7873 5000; coxand kings.co.uk), which does tailored five- night B&B trips with three nights at Evason Ma'In Hot Springs, a night at the Movenpick Petra, and a night at Four Seasons in Amman from £1,345 per person, based on two sharing, with return flights from Heathrow with BMI and private transfers.
Evason Ma'In Hot Springs & Six Senses Spa, PO Box 801 Madaba, 11117 Ma'In, Jordan (00 962 5 324 5500; sixsenses.com).
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