Aqaba is a laid-back city that’s expanding rapidly into a major tourist resort along the Red Sea coast of Jordan, and we’d love to help you decide where to stay in Aqaba. The city offers sandy beaches, luxury hotels, spectacular landscapes, and ancient ruins. Check out this city guide to learn more. It’s a popular area for dive enthusiasts, boasting a multitude of dive sites abundant with rich marine life and subterranean wonders. There’s also much for culture lovers, with the Aqaba Archaeological Museum, a 4th century Roman church, a busy port, and impressive castle to explore. Nature lovers can head for the Aqaba Bird Observatory with many species to discover, indulge in water sports, or a cruise along the water to see the city from a different perspective.
In the centre of Aqaba, you’ll discover typical Jordanian restaurants serving delicious hummus, shwarma in pita, and falafel. You can also taste your way across a variety of Mediterranean, Chinese, and Italian style restaurants or pop into a scattering of good bars and clubs. Popular day trips nearby include a visit to the ancient “Rose City” of Petra and Wadi Rum, a barren,yet beautiful landscape with rocky promontories and cliffs in the desert. If you’re looking for even more options for hotels in the area, we offer a longer list of hotels in Aqaba.
Best for Outdoor Activities: Ayla
Ayla once served as a station for pilgrims heading to holy cities throughout the region, and there are still remains of the ancient buildings around. If you’ve traveled to Aqaba to sample the excellent dive sites of the Red Sea, you’re in for a treat. There are over twenty in total, each with incredible biodiversity of marine life. Water is warm throughout the year- between twenty and twenty-six degrees Celsius and as visibility is good, you can discover sunken tanks, shipwrecks and a colorful array of tropical fish. If you prefer to stay on dry land, you can play a round of golf, go bird-watching at the local reserve, or soak up the sun on beautiful beaches.
Hyatt Regency Aqaba Ayla Resort
This waterfront retreat is set amidst spectacular azure lagoons and exclusive marinas framed by a backdrop of scenic mountains. The verdant 18-hole Ayla Golf Club is nearby if you fancy a round before lunch or you can take a dip in one of the hotels shimmering pools. Guest accommodations are eloquent, dressed in shades of white and taupe with sleek lines and complementing wood furniture pieces. Terraces open up to sea, marina and fairway views, where you can relax with a coffee observe the activities. Spa treatments, wake boarding, and cable skiing are all available to book at the hotel and there’s a children’s club to keep the little ones entertained all day. You don’t have to travel far to find gourmet cuisine either. Hyatt Regency Aqaba Ayla Resort boasts several delightful restaurants, bars, and lounge areas serving dishes ranging from à la carte and snacks to Aegean food and Mediterranean cuisine.
Marina Village, Ayla, Aqaba, Jordan
Best for Beaches and Shopping: Central Aqaba
Central Aqaba is the beating heart of the city with pretty parks, traditional restaurants, cafes, modern shopping malls, and colorful souks where you can purchase fruit, vegetables, home-made remedies and handicrafts. You can spend the day relaxing on Al-Ghandour beach or visiting ancient ruins of the old city. If that all sounds a bit energetic, head for Aqaba Castle by the seafront and reminisce about what life was like in days of old. Below is our recommendation for where to stay in Aqaba and be perfectly central.
Al Manara Hotel Saraya
This glorious luxury hotel is located in the historic port city of Aqaba close to the Red Sea and city center. With beautiful vistas from guest rooms and suites, accommodations offer a combination of slick, minimalist design and stylish living straight out of a glossy magazine. Floor to ceiling windows reveal stunning sea views, and if you reserve a villa, you can relax in your own private jacuzzi and patio beneath cabanas and swaying palms. The hotel has its own beach, 2 sparkling swimming pools, gardens, a spa we’ve featured in our Jordanian Wellness Guide, and a wonderful restaurant serving seafood and international cuisine. It’s also just a short walk from Aqaba City Centre and Aqaba Gateway Shopping Malls, the Ayla historic ruins, Aqaba Park, and an imposing castle.
Al-Hashemi St. Aqaba 01968, Jordan
Best for Culture & Dining: King Hussein Street
King Hussein Street runs from near Kempinski Beach towards South Beach Highway. It’s home to some of the city’s best restaurants, cultural sites and parks. One landmark to visit is Sharif Hussein bin Ali Mosque gleaming in pure white with an intricate exterior design, a towering minaret, and dome. Nestled close by, at the opposite end of Princess Salma Park is Souk Al Rowaq, a bustling covered market. If you want to delve into the city’s history, Aqaba Archaeological Museum near the castle showcases a rich display of Fatimid coins and Bronze age artifacts.
Kempinski Hotel Aqaba Red Sea
Europe’s oldest hotel chain is renowned for its luxurious landmark properties. Kempinski Hotel Aqaba Red Sea is no exception. Situated along a white sandy beach, the 5-star establishment offers spacious rooms and suites which are light, airy, and elegant and when it comes to drinking and dining, the hotel boasts fish restaurants, Italian treats, light snacks, cocktails, and an al fresco bar showing the latest sporting events. There’s a luxury 2-floor spa with panoramic sea views for relaxation, a fitness center, and multi-level swimming pools where you can take a cooling dip after a hectic day of souk shopping. The architecture of the Kempinski Hotel Aqaba ensures every guest has a room with a view and its strategic location close to Aqaba’s city center, and all of its cultural attractions makes it a great choice for first-time visitors to Jordan.
King Hussein Street, 77110, Aqaba