Are you planning your once-in-a-lifetime Petra trip and are wondering where to stay in Jordan? Accommodation between Amman and Aqaba covers everything from hostels in Amman over Bedouin tents in Wadi Rum to exclusive Petra hotels. Prices for hotels in Jordan are relatively low, certainly when comparing them to Israel next door. Off-season single rooms in cheap hotels in Amman are available for under $20 and Petra hotels (in Wadi Musa) go for just a little more. Dorm beds in the hostels in Petra are available for under $10 but don’t expect anything fancy.
There are plenty of options available, both on Booking.com and on Airbnb, and adventurous types won’t have any problems finding locals spontaneously offering their house, tent or cave to sleep in (or their mom’s or their cousin’s respective abode). As an inspiration for you when booking Jordan accommodation, here is a short list of the places I stayed in during my travels in the country. All were booked via Booking.com.
Where to stay in Amman: Jordan River Hotel
The Jordan River Hotel is a convenient place if you just want to crash somewhere for a night or two. It’s not suited for light sleepers or winter stay. Tip: Book the dorm for a better deal.
My accommodation in Amman seemed like a great deal on paper: only $20*/night for a large single room downtown on King Hussein Street. It was raining and freezing cold. In fact, on my first evening the room was so cold I sat in my bed and saw my breath. Eventually, I asked about heating and was told I needed to pay an extra fee ($3) for the remote to the A/C unit. But the size of my room along with the thin, drafty windows made it almost impossible to get the room up to a decent temperature.
Other than the heating issue, Hany and Laila, the managers of the Jordan River, were lovely. Hany had info & tips for where to eat well and at a low price (Abu Zeghleh might be the best restaurant in Amman) and how to get anywhere in the country by public bus. He even offered me different rooms so I could find the quietest one. However, I could not bear the thought of sleeping without a window for five nights. So I opted for the room with the highway right outside the window.
Cleanliness was not a top priority. Everything was spotless when I arrived. But there was absolutely no cleaning during my stay, not even the toilet paper bin in the shared bathroom was emptied.
The WiFi speed was not exhilarating but fine.
Since there were not many guests at the hotel in December, I was able to snoop around and realized that the dorm (which stood empty the whole time I was there) is the quietest room in the place because it is the only one facing the back of the house.
Breakfast was not included in my rate. But for $1.50/day I got a filling mix of local zatter pita and bread with European spreads, prepared by Leila.
Still, the breakfast was not enough to make me forget the cold and the noise. So I moved on after only three nights, forsaking the remaining two.
Where to stay in Madaba: Madaba Hotel
The Madaba Hotel looks like a nice hotel/hostel option for March to November. In winter, it was a great bargain but with limited service.
Disappointed by my Amman accommodation, I opted for the cheapest possible option among Madaba hotels. For $7.50/night, I booked a dorm bed with breakfast.
And I hit a jackpot: The dorm turned out to have only two beds, one of which was empty.
The dorms at the Madaba Hotel were adjacent to the common room, a big lounge with a TV and plush couches, where the manager and his wife hung out. The A/C was blasting out heat all day. It wasn’t strong enough for the large space. But at least it was not freezing.
However, the shared kitchen was. So there was no thinking of cooking a meal. Luckily, the Downtown restaurant across the street next to Pilgrim’s Guest House served delicious Jordanian food for $6 per generous serving.
Breakfast was ‘served’ by the manager by putting stuff onto the table before she went to bed at night and guests helping themselves in the morning. It was also served in the freezing kitchen, which made it a very unpleasant experience.
After the hectic noise in Amman, Madaba seemed like a quiet retreat. I recommend it as a base to explore northern Jordan and the Dead Sea as well as an easy-access option when looking for a hotel near Amman Airport. The distance is about the same as to Amman but you spare yourself thick traffic surrounding the capital at all times of the day.
The Madaba Hotel has rooms on two floors and a roof terrace right in the center of the oldest part of town, in walking distance to all the mosaics. Unfortunately, it was winter when I visited and there was not much happening in the hotel itself. Travel advice I received from the staff was limited to hiring a driving for me and another guest to tour the Dead Sea, Dana Reserve, Shobak castle on my way to Petra/Wadi Musa. I do not recommend that driver as I practically had to beg him to stop anywhere and he clearly didn’t know where would be good to stop. For tours from Madaba to Petra, I recommend talking to the Mariam Hotel (they also pool individuals looking for shared tours).
Where to stay in Petra (Wadi Musa)
With more than 40+ different accommodations listed on Booking.com alone, here’s a quick overview of your options.
- Right outside the main gate of Petra: Here you’ll find a selection a hotels/hostels for a range of budgets. The advantage is the location — be it for early morning Petra visits or for not having to climb the steep road into downtown Wadi Musa after a day of exploring; the disadvantage is that shops and food down here are rather expensive.
- Uptown Wadi Musa, i.e. on the hill: The end of Wadi Musa’s Tourism Street has it all — hostels/hotels for different budgets, affordable food, and the bus station is also up here. Petra can be reached in about 15 minutes on foot. Taxis cost JOD1 to Petra and around JOD5 back to the hotel (depending on your bargaining skills, you should be able to reduce that to JOD2 off-season). It’s where I stayed.
- Outside Wadi Musa: The favorite location for upscale Petra hotels is along the scenic route to Wadi Rum with fantastic views of the mountains in and around Petra. If you have a car, you can also look for local guesthouse-type accommodation.
Seven Wonders Hotel, Wadi Musa (Petra)
The Seven Wonders Hotel is a relatively new Petra Jordan hotel in a convenient uptown location but with modern amenities but some kinks starting to show.
Since it was Christmas, I wanted to treat myself during my Petra trip and checked into what was arguably the hotel with the most amenities during my two weeks in Jordan. At $40/night for the double room, The Seven Wonders isn’t very expensive (not in December) and sharing with Gabriela from Gabriela Here and There brought the price down to west European hostel prices, albeit without breakfast.
The location in the upper part of Wadi Musa means descending and scaling the steep hill to/from Petra but also easy access to cheaper eateries, shopping, and the bus station. Click here for my comprehensive Petra/Wadi Musa guide.
The plush carpet of the Seven Wonders Hotel and the strong A/C heating unit in a small room were a nice reprieve from the cold and rain.
Even better, there is a spa downstairs with what the hotel claims is the biggest Turkish bath in Jordan (daily fee of $50).
During the summer, a rooftop pool offers refreshment with a view.
Breakfast and dinner are available at the restaurant in the lobby area, which was, however, sparsely visited and even more sparsely lit in December.
While on the outside the hotel was a great find, a couple of maintenance lacks were showing: When I arrived, the TV and nightlight weren’t working and were swapped with working specimen from other rooms. The room had few plugs (deadly when two bloggers/photographers are sharing) and two of those few had loose connections. The water in the showers wasn’t always hot. During the last two days, the WiFi speed went down considerably.
The staff was attentive but not very competent: They were able to get good taxi/driver deals but had no idea whether restaurants in town would be open during Christmas.
Cleopetra Hotel, Wadi Musa (Petra)
The Cleopetra Hotel is a guidebook-favorite Petra hotel/hostel offering solid budget accommodation plus tour services.
I spent my last two nights in Wadi Musa in the Cleopetra, practically next door to the Seven Wonders in uptown Wadi Musa with the same easy access to eateries, shopping, and the bus station. Click here for my comprehensive Petra/Wadi Musa guide.
I booked a small double for single use with ensuite bathroom for $23/night including simple breakfast. I mentioned my light sleep in the comments and the manager made sure I stayed in the quietest part of the house — towards the back and on the top floor.
There was not much more space in the room than needed for a bed and my big backpack, which meant the A/C had no problems heating it. The WiFi was not free ($3/stay) and slow — I was told that the hotels buy packages that tend to run out at the end of the month — but the shower was hot at all times of the day.
The common areas are limited to a small lounge and an adjacent small dining room, which I imagine will get cramped in high season. There is a small shared kitchen but I opted to stick to my usual falafel and hummus joints on and around Tourism Street.
The Cleopetra has made it into the Lonely Planet, which means even off-season it’s booked more tightly than other Petra hotels and lots of (German) backpackers will happily entertain you with their travel stories.
This hotel/hostel is a family affair with the elderly uncles sitting in the lounge inviting everyone to Bedouin tea and coffee, the cousin running an efficient breakfast regime, and the nephew handling reception in-between his tourism studies at Aqaba University.
Like all the other Bedouins you’ll meet around Petra, the family is well-connected and tours, drivers, and accommodation in other parts of Jordan are easily organized via the front desk.
*For convenience, I’m listing prices in this post in US-$. $1.50=JOD1