This week saw the launch of what is being touted as the first new hotel in Downtown Amman since 1927 – the Art Hotel.
Can that claim be true? I guess it depends how you define a hotel (as opposed, perhaps, to a hostel). The Art Hotel is calling itself three stars – which would certainly make it the best hotel in downtown. Its size (40 rooms) and list of amenities (fully non-smoking, all rooms ensuite, flatscreen satellite TV, free minibar, free wifi etc) hint at quality.
Lots of cheap hotels in the downtown area seem to simply change hands, or change names: perhaps they mean this is the first new conversion of an existing building to serve as a hotel? I don’t know – but I do trust the people managing it, represented by Guido Romero of the excellent By The Lemon Tree B&B/residence. I’ll ask Guido when I next see him.
The hotel website is a bit spotty just now – their Facebook page is stronger, with interesting photos of the interiors and conversion works – and I have a few more questions (do the minibars contain alcohol? what are the room prices?), but for now, it looks like an interesting proposition.
Certainly, the idea of encouraging more visitors to stay in Downtown Amman – instead of corralling tourists within more-or-less anonymous hotels in blander uptown West Amman – is very welcome. Art Hotel is on King Faisal Street in the oldest part of modern Amman, beside Al Quds restaurant (for mansaf) and Habiba patisserie (for kunafeh), and across the street from Hashem restaurant (for hummus) – not that I’m defining the city by its food, or anything :) – I’m fascinated to feel the atmosphere of the place.
I’ll make a visit when I’m next in town. Meantime, if you’re there or thereabouts, do pop in and let us know what it’s like by leaving a comment below.