REVIEW: Petra Moon Wadi Rum
By far the most recognizable sightseeing destination in all of Jordan is Petra, so it goes without saying that we were looking to spend some time there on our way through the country. After a little debate amongst our group, we settled on two days to explore the historic abandoned 2000 year old city.
When I travel I don’t necessarily need to stay at a recognizable, name-brand hotel. I’m perfectly comfortable staying in a hotel that has no affiliation to anything familiar as long as I can be reasonably assured that it’s clean, comfortable, safe, and reasonably well located for what I want to do in the area. If I so happen to find a name-brand property that’s reasonably priced, I’ll likely choose it so that I can collect a few hotel loyalty program points to use for a free stay somewhere in the future. Yet if the price is too high, or in the case of our hotel search for Petra, the name-brand hotel is either too far away to be useful or non-existent, I am more than happy to look at local options.
While there were a few recognizable names in Wadi Musa (the name of the city where Petra is located), including a Marriott and two Movenpicks, none of those properties worked for us. I started poking around to investigate the local properties to find a good deal that would provide the previously mentioned level of cleanliness, comfort, safety, and location. We settled on Petra Moon as it was rated fairly well on TripAdvisor (and a review of the information showed that the rating appeared genuine) and the price point ($99/night) was in a comfortable range for our budget. One of the biggest selling points was that it was listed as having a location that was a two minutes walk to Petra’s entrance. With all this in mind, the group decided it was a good bet and we booked.
The trek from the Dead Sea to Wadi Musa is a pleasant couple hours on the road that winds through some beautiful scenery, but when you consider there were five people crammed into a tiny car with the three in the backseat holding onto a suitcase on their laps due to the lack of storage in the truck (boot for the Brits) you can understand why we were really excited to finally pull up to the front of the Petra Moon. It was indeed only a short walk from the entrance to Petra, so that was one thing we immediately noted and were pleased about. Our driver helped us unload the car and move the luggage into the lobby as it did not appear that the hotel had any staff assigned to assist with the task.
Despite being a relatively small hotel, they seemed to be doing quite a bit of business. The lobby was a bit frenetic with tourists running to and fro. There was only a single receptionist working the desk as it was a pretty small affair, so checking in took a good 20 minutes from getting in line to receiving our keys. Despite the long wait the agent working the desk was friendly and explained the amenities available to us as guests as well as the times for the complimentary breakfast in the morning. The hotel isn’t too tall so using the stairs to get from the lobby to your room is a very easy option. If you do choose to wait for the elevator, you’ll be waiting awhile as there always seemed to be a heavy queue of older European tourists looking to avoid the stairs.
Both rooms for our group were on the second floor, so we lugged our bags up one flight of stairs and went about settling in. I was actually pretty shocked when I opened the door to our room. It was enormously spacious. I suspected that they had actually given us a suite instead of the room we had booked, either out of the goodness of their hearts or, in the most likely scenario, they had run out of standard rooms during the time we had been checking-in (though not for the whole evening as we would learn later). Either way, it was nice to have so much space!
Immediately in front of the entrance to the room was a little alcove with a full couch, upholstered table, and a very plush arm chair. This was a nice feature to the room as it created a gathering space for the group when we were planning various logistics. The fact that all of the seating was very comfortable was just icing on the cake.
I moved it prior to taking this photo, but a welcome amenity had been placed on the table for us which included a sweet, minty beverage and a fruit plate. A letter from the manager was included that thanked us for choosing Petra Moon, reminded us to let them know if there was anything they could do to make our stay more enjoyable, and a final wish that we enjoy the historic site just a few minutes away.
Off to the left from the door and the sitting area was the bedroom. A combination luggage storage/entertainment center was against an interior wall with a television on top. The television had a mixture of Arabic channels with a few international channels (mostly English, some French) available for viewing.
The entertainment center had a complimentary tea and coffee station. On the opposite wall from the entertainment center was the bed. Singular. This was a first for us on the trip, and it would remain the only time it happened – despite being two men traveling together, the hotel assigned us a room with only one bed. Every hotel prior to this one, and every hotel after on the trip, would assign us a room with two beds. I’m not sure if that was indicative of the culture in the region, assuming two men wouldn’t be sharing a bed, or whether it was just happenstance. My partner and I have traveled throughout much of the US and Asia together and I can count on one hand the number of hotels that assigned us a room with two beds. All of this is to say, I have absolutely no idea why we were given the single bed.
The bed was rather comfortable, though not exactly super plush either. If you’ve traveled the world a bit, I’d say that it was a bit firmer than beds typically are in the US but softer than Asian beds. A happy medium that left me not quite happy but not upset either. The color scheme of the bed and sheets were an interesting choice, much more of a romantic feel than a “we’re 50 feet from one of the 7 Wonders of the World” feel.
There was also a closet in the room if you needed any additional storage.
If you were to head to the right when you entered the room, you’d hit the rather small bathroom. While the size wasn’t a big deal for me, I just found it a bit odd that the rest of the room was so spacious yet the bathroom was so cramped.
You can see in the picture above just how tight the vanity space was. If you were brushing your teeth at the sink you wouldn’t be able to raise your arm in order to make the back and forth motion needed to get the job done. Sure, you can take a step back – but it’s nice to not have to do that.
To the right of the vanity was the shower. It was a tub and shower combination, and had what was quite honestly one of the ugliest shower curtains I’ve ever been graced with seeing in a hotel room. It was some odd mixture of yellow and purple flowers that was hanging from the plastic rod by clear loops. It barely extended far enough into the tub to provide adequate protection, and when I did shower I had to be very careful not to bump into it as even a slight brush would move the curtain outside of the tub and start raining water onto the tile.
The toilet came with a bidet, all of which were quite sufficient for handling any bathroom needs. The one complaint I did have was that the toilet was square-shaped as opposed to circular, which presented a problem for users any time they needed to answer any call of nature that required sitting down. It felt like you were riding a horse or some similarly awkward sitting situation where you feel like you’re teetering on the edge. I don’t think it would have been a problem if the toilet had been a bit smaller, but it was just the right combination of square and large that made for an uncomfortable experience.
The bath products were all hotel branded and were a generic floral scent.
The suite we’d been given was located on the corner of the hotel that overlooked the entrance to Petra, but oddly enough the room had windows overlooking just about every corner of the area except Petra. Here’s a look at some of the view from the room.
Normally this would be end of my review, but we had a bit of a mishap at about midnight on the first evening of our stay. I woke up around then to use the bathroom and discovered a giant puddle of water on the floor around the toilet. At first I thought it might have been residual from my partner’s shower earlier that evening until I saw a droplet of water falling from the ceiling into the middle of the puddle. I looked up to see this:
It’s a little hard to see in the picture, but that’s quite a lot of water raining down from the ceiling.
I stumbled back to the bed and woke my partner up. I mentioned the issue in the bathroom and expressed that I didn’t think this was something we could let wait till morning as it was more than just an occasional drip falling from the ceiling, it was sprinkling pretty steadily. We called the front desk and they sent someone up immediately to look at the issue. I think they thought they were going to come up and somehow “fix” the issue for us with little fanfare based on the attitude of the man who knocked on our door, but within a few moments of looking at the situation he said “You must move rooms. Immediately.”
So at midnight on our first evening that’s what we ended up doing – moving all of our belongings a few doors down the hall to a smaller, standard room. The furnishings really aren’t too much different than the suite, so I’ll just post a few photos I took of the smaller room.
Overall the Petra Moon got the job done – it was clean, safe, and conveniently located near the entrance to Petra. It really wasn’t a luxury accommodation, but then again it doesn’t claim to be. It’s a nicely kept, mid-range hotel that I would consider staying at again. If I had a bigger budget perhaps the Movenpick would be a better choice – the rooms and furnishings looked much nicer based on pictures I’d seen and it’s just about the only big hotel that has a better location than Petra Moon for accessing Petra.
The best things about it are the friendliness of the staff and the lovely breakfast spread provided by the hotel (not documented, sorry about it!). The downsides would be the lackluster bathroom as well as management’s lack of offering any sort of apology for the leak above our bathroom.
A solid pick overall, not one I regret staying at but I can’t help but think there might be a better option somewhere in Wadi Musa at a similar price point.