Thursday, December 11, 2008

First Visit to the "Amman Tourist Beach", You MUST Be Kidding!

So, we had some visitors from the US and Canada and got to indulge in our very favorite past-time... showing off Jordan. It's such a beautiful, rich, unique place and we got the chance to share it with friends. One of the experiences I think is a once-in-a-lifetime must-try experience is a dip in the Dead Sea. Those who have been understand that this is something you can't do anywhere else in the world.

This body of water is SOOO salty that it is nigh on impossible to keep your feet under the water. So, we took our friends down (after a trip to Madaba and Mount Nebo). However, not planning to be there for long (literally long enough for a dip), we wanted to save the dinars and chose to go to GAM's Amman Beach. The ticket calls it the Amman Tourist Beach. Only, I expect they don't really want tourists to come.

It's one thing that, for one of the few times in my life in Jordan, we were stared at and ogled because we came in modest one-piece swimming suits. Apparently we should have invested in the burkini to make this visit. Although, given the clientele who was never taught it's impolite to stare (is that an American thing?), I'm afraid that would have produced just as much ogling. That alone would definitely turn off tourists. But that's not what bothered me the most...

This public beach which we paid 7JDs for our tourist guests to visit had no toilets. Don't get me wrong, they had something called a WC. It consisted of six stalls with holes in the floor. Period. Does anyone at GAM actually think that tourists will use such facilities? In bathing suits. Basically for a lady wearing a one piece suit to use this type of facility, she will have to take everything off. Not practical and certainly not tourist friendly. The showers were not great (several were missing shower heads and there were issues turning them on and off), but livable. But, the toilets... well, suffice to say not only would I not go back, I would never recommend that a tourist go there. The Dead Sea Spa at twice the price is absolutely worth the extra cha-ching.

GAM, get a clue. If you're seriously targeting tourists, put in tourist quality facilities. If not, change the name. Kudos for making an affordable place (only 3 JDs for locals) for people to go, but please whatever you do don't try to market this spot to tourists. I'd hate for them to think that this is what Jordan is like - it is SO not.

Happy tinkling!

16 Comments:

At 9:50 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Use the water...it's already salty! LOL.

 
At 10:54 AM , Blogger joladies said...

ahhhhh, the toilets, the toilets! This is an ongoing saga in this country. The airport, the borders, any government buildings, police stations, hospitals and so on and so on.

What is the answer? Who wants the job of cleaning toilets? T

 
At 10:57 AM , Blogger Dave said...

I generally avoid the Amman Tourist Beach, as it casts a pallor on the Dead Sea. The coastal area is littered with trash and debris. I never feel safe leaving my stuff on the beach while I take a swim. The dining options (or should I say option) is inadequate. And as you mentioned, the bathrooms (when they are open) are hideous.

It's worth it, in my opinion, to pay extra to use the facilities at one of the hotels. When you're visiting for just a short time, however, there aren't any other options. Here's to hoping that someone will care enough to develop the tourist beach into something we can all be proud of.

 
At 11:45 AM , Blogger MommaBean said...

Anon, I had the same thought, but then it was just too cold to go in. I just held it until we got back to Amman...

T, I can live with dirty, but not dirty holes in the floor in lieu of actual toilets.

Dave, it was my first visit and likely my last. The extra money is worth it, even for a short visit in the future...

 
At 12:01 PM , Anonymous kinzi said...

Hamdulilah 3a salaameh!!!

I've driven by, will keep driving by. :P

 
At 3:10 PM , Anonymous Maria Chavez said...

i'm sorry you experienced this, but kinda glad b/c now i know never to go there. We use the facilities at the Hotels at the Dead Sea and were thinking of changing that, but now i know its not worth it. So in a way thanx for that horrible experience!!!

 
At 12:35 AM , Blogger MommaBean said...

Maria, Most happy to share my experience. The hotels are definitely worth it...

 
At 5:06 AM , Blogger abu 'n um tulip said...

There are two beaches in that same area. Not sure what the other one is called but I thought it was also Amman touristic beach. We were there at the end of Ramadan and had a good experience. Bathroom was 'relatively' clean with real toilets, locker room, and changing rooms. I felt comfortable in a swimsuit with shorts, as probably half the women were swimming in regular suits. We paid around 8 JD per person and then also paid for the buffet dinner which was quite good. There were three different pools including two areas which were shallow for the children. They didn't allow us to bring in our own food or drinks, but I was able to negotiate milk/juice boxes for the kids. I've been to the one you're talking about, but only to take some friends on a tight budget. I did not swim. However, I won't go back to the Day Spa. A friend's son got pink eye in June after swimming there, and then Abu Tulip got pink eye in July after swimming there. Additionally, during our trip in July the kids area was all closed. The water pump for the fountains had apparently broken and when I asked the management they laughed me off and said they'd fix it some time in the next few weeks. The food was awful. I can make better burgers using the frozen Nabeel packages! I'm hoping to save some cash for a trip to the Marriott this spring.

 
At 11:28 PM , Blogger Ali said...

Any project that is run bt GAM or social security (such as Deadsea Spa Hotel) is usualy a mess. The Deadsea beach can be a nice thing as the Pools they have are realy nice. But since the clientel targets the public in that area and the administartion is run by the government then dont expect more that what you saw. Actualy Im surprised you managed to get out of there alive and healthy!
In this part of the world, I'll pay the extra $$ and go to the Movenpick or Marriott.

 
At 12:00 AM , Blogger MommaBean said...

Um Tulip, fortunately, we've managed to go to the Spa without incident thus far. We typically go times when no one else will be there and avoid all these places like the plague on holidays. But... And, the one you're talking about is not the GAM beach, but is right next door. It did looks nice, but we weren't there for the pools, just the beach. Knowing what I know now...

Ali, while the Marriott facilities are nicer, do they even HAVE pools for kids? The "big" waterslide is not suitable for little non-swimmers and I certainly didn't see any kids play pools (you know with kiddie slides and such). For me, the money just isn't worth it at either one. Once the kids are good swimmers, maybe, but...

 
At 12:12 AM , Blogger Ali said...

The price is simply no justified to pay 25jds per person to enter a hotel, I have never seen that anywhere from South Beach Miami to Monacco. But unfortunately thats the only hotels we have now in the Deadsea, wait until we have more and they will begging us to enter.

 
At 7:32 AM , Blogger Jad said...

as far as I know the Amman tourists beach is privately owned but Social Security has a good share there, anyway the owner is irrelevant.

Whoever managing it is doing just fine, it's not about the management but the messy people, it is a nice place but people do mess with it.

The best is to visit it in a week day and in general you should always avoid going out during weekend while in Jordan :-)

 
At 1:18 PM , Blogger MommaBean said...

Jad I expect you're thinking of the first location (not the one we went to). It looked rather nice. The place we went says VERY clearly that it is affiliated with GAM (their logo is EVERYWHERE).

Oh, and we visited during the week, just it was part of th Eid holiday, poor timing but you work with what you've got...

Nice to see you and stop on by anytime.

 
At 1:23 PM , Blogger Jad said...

I'll have to check that place next friday, do you have any photos to identify it? because I find it weird that GAM is logo is there because its authority ends on the way to dead sea as it's different district but I'm not that sure of course.

 
At 1:01 AM , Blogger MommaBean said...

No photos, sadly. But you can find it pretty easily. Go to the nice place at the Amman Tourist Beach (you know the one with the pools). Then go just past it (away from the fancy resorts). You'll know you're there if a) it's cheaper for Jordanians and b) there are no toilets in the ladies rooms. Oh, there is also this big 8 pointed star fountain (that doesn't work, of course) just inside by the tiki huts where you buy your tickets... This one has no pools, but did have a big blow-up slide thing for kids inside.

 
At 9:44 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Comments need to be clear as to whether they are on "Amman Tourist Beach" or the public beach which is next door to it! We paid 15JD for Amman Tourist Beach in May 2011 & it was great. Clean showers & changing rooms, lockers that worked, exceptionally clean & inviting swimming pools, easy access to the Dead Sea itself & with showers nearby for when you came out of it. There were restaurants, coffee bars too. It was the ideal spot for a relaxing day. But make sure you don't hit the public beach which is next door as that is a different story!

 

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