May 9, 2016
Driving to Jerash
The drive from the airport to Jerash is straightforward and fairly easy except for one point just as you enter Amman where to continue on Route 35 you need to watch for a turn off at an exit marked “Jerash”. Traffic was heavy at around 4PM and it took us an hour plus to reach the hotel. Once you finally leave Amman the countryside has a Mediterranean feel with dry rolling hills dotted with olive trees and other greenery.
Hadrian’s Gate Hotel
Lonely Planet is spot on when they describe this ultra-convenient hotel – the only one in town, just across the street from Hadrian’s Arch near the entrance to the ruins – as simple. Ismail couldn’t be more soft spoken and gracious. His son also gave us great tips on what to visit on our way to Madaba.
We opted for the penthouse, a generous room with a comfortable king bed and a private roof top terrace. Everything is spotless and the family does their best to provide a quality experience. The roughness around the edges just adds to the charm.
On the downside, the water pressure is low and the wifi works only on the main level. Breakfast, if not scrumptious, is meticulously presented on a tray including fresh veggies, cheese, butter, fresh bread, marmalade, tang and a choice of instant coffee or tea. At 80 JOD for the room it’s no bargain, but the convenience to the ruins and the friendly service may make it worth the price.
You can reach Ismail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Touted as the best restaurant in town this upscale establishment is more pomp and circumstance than great food. Housed in a building that could be mistaken for a grand hotel, an elegant staircase leads to the open air dining room with generously spaced tables graced with white table clothes.
We sampled their regular menu (15 JOD/per person) listed only in Arabic on the back page. The menu includes an assortment of the standard middle eastern dips – hummus, baba ganoush, etc., tabbouleh and a green salad – way too much vinegar in the dressing,
French fries served with ketchup – Heinz 57, pickled vegetables, olives, two kinds of a deep fried treat – one cheese filled the other meat. The main course is a grilled meat and veg platter – kaftah, chicken, beef and lamb with tomatoes and onions. For desert a large bowl of whole fruit from which to choose and Turkish coffee or tea.
While a fun experience we thought the quality of the food was better the previous day at the restaurants in Amman at a much more reasonable price. It was great to see beer on the menu but again, at 7 JOD a bottle they were no bargain (this turned out to be the standard price for beer). Come for the experience but be prepared that this won’t be your best food experience in Jordan.