Flying from Beirut to Amman, a short one-hour flight, you cross the vast expanse of desert. The rolling desert hills and valleys are beautiful. Then rising from the Earth you see white dots which begin to outline the city of Amman.
When arriving in Amman airport, one is struck by how matters are just a bit more chaotic than in Beirut. (I was in Beirut for the weekend and planned travels onward to Jordan). A new airport is under construction and this will no doubt help. Entry requires a visa, which I didn’t know beforehand, but one can easily obtain it at passport control. Change money into dinars first; the visa costs about 10 dollars.
I do recommend a hotel pick up since otherwise you run the risk of getting a taxi without A/C and the airport is a good 40 minutes from Amman (much further out than with Beirut's airport).
A friend and I stayed at The Four Seasons, Amman. This is an excellent smart splurge. The hotel is an oasis in this desert city, and the price is perhaps half what it might be in Western capitals. Rooms are spacious and comfortable, and they are set for a complete renovation starting later in 2010. I particularly enjoyed the beautiful outdoor pool, the south terrace grill restaurant (try the hummus with beef and sea bass filet for dinner), and a relaxed lobby that buzzes with a mix of worldly business professionals, many doing business in Iraq. Amman seems to be a preferred, safe resting place. Service at the Four Seasons is topnotch, as you would expect. However, there is an uncommon level of genuineness.
The hotel is also very well-located. Even so, everything in Amman is a taxi ride away. Its urban sprawl and rolling hills remind me a bit of Damascus, as the city seems to go on forever. I explored the city with a day guide. Stay tuned to hear more about my trip to Jordan.