Hannah Thompson fell in love with this magical eco retreat set in the stunning Wadi Feynan Valley in Jordan.
Arriving after dark along the snaking, dusty road that leads deep into the Wadi Feynan valley, the Ecolodge appears like a giant sandcastle with a candlelit pathway leading to the door. This magical beginning continues inside where the whole ecolodge is lit by candles made on-site, except the bathrooms that run off solar generated power.
The lodge is cool and airy and decorated in a modern Middle Eastern style with glass doors and a courtyard with plants and tables and chairs. We are offered a glass of sweet tea and shown to our room through the courtyard and upstairs, which looks out to the arid hills that rise from the back of the lodge.
The walls are washed light terracotta, the bed has white linen and a white net canopy – it feels dream-like. The Ecolodge is so remote that complete darkness and silence usher you into an undisturbed sleep. Waking in this room brings new discoveries, the glass doors out to the private balcony where table and chairs allow for some quiet contemplation.
Meals here are fresh and resolutely Jordanian, including smoky baba-ganoush, taboulleh packed with parsley and hand-squeezed lemon and mint juice. Here you can also book on to a cookery class where you’ll learn how to make Middle Eastern favourites such as falafel and flat breads topped with zatar.
The Wadi Feynan Ecolodge has more to offer than comfort alone, you can also embark on hikes, which are led by the local Bedouin community, now no longer nomadic. The Ecolodge’s aim is to integrate with this community and to provide employment, so you’ll find that the candles are made by local people, the pottery you eat off will have been fired in an on-site kiln and the bread comes fresh from a local woman’s tent at dawn every day. You may even be lucky enough to experience some of the added activities the Ecolodge encourages, such as taking coffee within the nearby tented community – a unique ritualistic and welcoming experience.
The Ecolodge has so much to offer not just to guests but to its community and when you return from a day exploring the dramatic landscape around it, climb to the roof terrace with a delicate glass of fresh mint tea for some truly spectacular star gazing.
Stay at the Wadi Feynan Ecolodge from $77 per person per night, the cooking class costs from $30 per person with a minimum of four per class.
For more information visit http://www.feynan.com/