May 9, 2016
This mid-sized city along the King’s Highway is one of the best places we found to wander and get a sense of Jordanian life and culture. With a third of the population Christian and the other two- thirds Muslim, it has a friendly multicultural ambiance and feels more like a real town than a tourist destination. The town boasts just enough faded, dusty mosaics to keep you occupied and give direction to your wandering.
Madaba, located a half hour from the Amman airport, also makes a great stop at the beginning or end of a trip, especially for those who want to avoid the hectic Jordanian capital.
This very average sizable hotel gets good reviews on Tripadvisor. The room was comfortable, quiet and clean but a bit shabby, about what you would expect for 30 JOD a night. Service is curt but friendly. Good wifi in the room and good water pressure if you’re lucky enough to get hot water. At 4PM the water was tepid but later at 7:30PM Don had a hot shower. Easy parking on the street in front of the hotel.
The breakfast buffet is serviceable with a minimal selection of cold vegetables, Laughing Cow cheese, butter, jam including homemade fig jam, bread and hard boiled eggs. Coffee is instant but they do have real milk. I should also add that there were very few if any other guests in the hotel on the day we were there.
Dinner at Haret Jdoudna Complex
At around 8:30PM we arrived at this highly recommended establishment with a pretty open-air stone walled dining room under large shade trees. The setting was lovely but the live music was blaring. Half the dining room was taken up by a large tour group and we were thankfully ushered upstairs where it was much quieter.
Unfortunately, a few minutes later we were told that there was room for us down stairs and we were asked to move. The waiter assured me that the music would stop soon. When it didn’t after a couple of inquiries he had the volume at least turned down to a tolerable level. After the tour group left the terrace gradually filled with a mix of tourists and locals smoking their beloved water pipes.
The longish menu contained many items we were unfamiliar with. For starters we tried the fattoush salad – OK but too vinegary and made with iceberg rather than the rocket listed on the menu, the olive salad – which turned out to be just a bowl of spicy olives, and the chicken wings.
For mains we tried the local treebeh sawani. A baked cooking method, the treebeh is layers of a saucy ground meat with eggplant, crispy bread and topped with a yogurt sauce – nicely seasoned and tasty.
The Chicken Sayejet was chunks of grilled chicken with onions – a bit dry but otherwise well done.