I recently travelled to Jordan to do research for my dissertation (I know, it’s a tough life but someone has to do it, right?). I was staying with a friend from college and the night I arrived she informed me that the next day she was heading to the Zara Spa at the Dead Sea and asked if I would like to join her.
(Photo: Atlas Tours)
Who would decline such a wonderful invitation? I was excited to get a chance to swim in the Dead Sea, the heavily salinated body of water found at the lowest point on earth.
While the area looks a bit like a barren moonscape, the resorts that dot the coastline are anything but. The Mövenpick, in which the Zara Spa is located, is especially extravagant, with three infinity pools and accommodations scattered around the extensive grounds that mimic traditional Jordanian architecture. I would have loved to spend more time exploring but the spa was calling!
(Photo: Velvet Escape)
After receiving some welcoming tea, my friend went off for her waxing appointment, while I chose the general admission pass which offered access to the Thalassotherapy and Dead Sea Pools.
I headed out to the Thelassotheraphy circuit first, which is a series of whirlpools with different types of jets set to soothe various muscle groups at each station.
After several days of travelling, this was heavenly. My favourite part was the horseshoe-shaped infinity pool with jets positioned at different heights every few feet along the outside wall. When I got tired of walking along this, I just sat in one of the individual whirlpool seats and enjoyed the view!
Finally, and reluctantly, I got out and joined my friend inside for some water, tea, and fresh fruit. When she headed off for her facial, I explored the indoor facilities. The first pool mimics the Dead Sea itself but with an even higher salt concentration: 45%. It was dark and warm and I was completely alone. I closed my eyes and floated weightlessly along the top of the water. It was a very comforting feeling, like being wrapped in a warm, velvety blanket.
After that, I headed to the next pool, slightly cooler and with a salt concentration of about 30%. This felt more like a regular whirlpool, but one made for giants- the water came up to my shoulders.
Relaxing in this pool gave me a chance to admire the spa’s architecture. The individual rooms resembled those found in a traditional hammam, or steam bath, but with the addition of water. I especially liked the additional decorations, such as the mosaic with motifs taken from local Roman and Byzantine pavements.
But I couldn’t dwell on this for too long because soon it was time for the main event: a dip in the Dead Sea! The spa’s pools had provided some foreshadowing of what the experience was like but I was still surprised.
The water was extremely warm, almost as hot as the air temperature (43 degrees). And unlike the spa’s pool, the Dead Sea felt oily and slick on my skin. While bobbing in the water is fun, getting out is quite difficult; one is so buoyant that standing up is a challenge. And as soon as the hot sun dried my skin, a thin layer of salt appeared. A long shower with the spa’s Dead Sea products took care of that though!
As the sun went down, my friend and I enjoyed a bottle of prosecco by the spa pool and toasted to a wonderful and relaxing day at the Dead Sea.