Fairmont Amman: Redefining Elegance

From its stunning marble–lined lobby, to it magnificent chandeliers that seem to hang in every corner of the hotel, Fairmont Amman oozes elegance and a sense of modern grandeur.

One of the three five-star hotels now located on Amman’s Fifth Circle, the Fairmont Amman opened in July last year and set to become a true landmark in the heart of the capital.

Upon entering the distinctively modern lobby, whose black and white marble floors seem to stretch on forever, the guests are immediately drawn to this blend of sophistication and avant-garde designs by award-winning Wimberly Allison Tong & Goo (WATG).

From the breath-taking chandeliers that were imported from Vienna to the more than 1,600 artworks that were created by mostly Jordanian artists, every corner of this beautifully decorated hotel will inspire a sense of awe.

Adding to this experience are the courteous and efficient staff members that greet you upon your entrance and lead you to the hotel’s front desk whose back wall with its tree carvings adds to your sense of tranquility.

At the lobby is also the Library, which is an opulent space of pure beauty and relaxation. Yet, despite its lavishness, the Library actually feels quite homey with its mammoth fireplace and rich bookshelves.

The modern design and luxury continue in the 295 guest rooms and 22 suites that overlook Amman with its glorious night-lights. An entire floor is also dedicated to the Fairmont’s 40 Gold rooms, while a beautiful Fairmont Gold lounge that caters to the hotel’s guests is located on the 16th floor.

With six food and beverage outlets, the Fairmont Amman offers its guests with a rich variety of gastronomic experiences. The Crystal Lobby Lounge serves excellent afternoon tea and has a lovely terrace that complements its rose pink and mint green furniture with its mirror adorned walls.

On the same floor there is also the Caprice bar and lounge which is again very beautifully decorated with an outdoor terrace. But the hotel boasts what is probably the most luxurious all day dining that you would see in any hotel, which is Nur Restaurant that serves breakfast, lunches and dinners, as well as theme nights and brunches. The restaurant’s main highlight is its enormous and extraordinary chandelier that cascades from the ceiling and overtakes most of the hall. The restaurant’s décor is reminiscent of the One thousand and One Nights theme with a modern twist.

There is also a Japanese restaurant called Tsuki that serves the finest sushi, and the Salt Stake house. While Nasim serves Jordanian-style cuisine that offers a spacious terrace for shisha lovers.

As well as having access to the third floor’s luxurious Willow Stream Spa with well trained Thai masseuses—try Dream for an amazing relaxing massage after a week’s long hectic schedule at the office—guests can also enjoy all the modern comforts that one could ask for with the spa’s one-of-a-kind Dead Sea Pool and mud treatments, an authentic hammam, an exclusive couples treatment room, hair salon, full-service nail studio, kids pool, Fitness Center, Jacuzzi, and a mineral pool. Try out the spa’s signature treatment which is the Royal Damascus Massage using bamboo sticks.

The outdoor pool is another area where guests can unwind, enjoy Jordan’s lovely sun and forget about life’s worries.

After two days at the Fairmont Amman, which included a conference, a one-night stay at a spectacular suite, and a massage with the talented Dream, what truly distinguishes the hotel is its glamor.

Fairmont Hotel’s General Manager Fadeel Wehbe

Wehbe joined Fairmont Amman in April after his assignment as General Manager for Pullman Dubai Jumeirah Lakes Towers Hotel & Residence. He has been with AccorHotels since 2011.

Can you brief us on the hotel’s general design, attention to details and the Jordanian input?

The designers were the award-winning WATG. When you design a hotel like this you work with Fairmont designers and with the owners as well whose inputs are very important. We wanted to create a flagship hotel for the Fairmont in the Middle East and North Africa and the Fairmont Amman is certainly one.

The Jordanian input is reflected in many of the 1,600 artworks that you see around the hotel, whether in public areas or inside the rooms. More than 80 percent of the artists are Jordanians or artists who live and work in Jordan. We also pride ourselves that 50 percent of the artists are males and the other 50 percent are females.

You are in an area where there are several five star hotels and a couple high end ones are coming up as well. What distinguishes the Fairmont from the others?

When you walk into this hotel you feel its opulence, you feel the grandeur and that you are experiencing real luxury. I listen to what our guests say, and they had previous experiences in other five star hotels around us, and they say this hotel is different. Obviously we are very proud of the product, there has not been any stone that was kept unturned in all the final details in design and execution and clearly we are backed by a big name which is the Fairmont. I think for now and years to come we aim to be the leading hotel in Amman and the Kingdom. We are all about luxury but obviously it is coupled with service. If we cannot match the service to the opulence for our guests then the experience will not be complete. So we focus on the product and the brand name, but we also complement it with the standards and services that we offer.

Who are your typical guests, are they mostly leisure or business visitors?

We are predominately a business hotel. We cater for groups, meetings and conventions, but at the same time we cannot ignore the leisure segment so we do get leisure and individual visitors as well as groups. Perhaps in general Amman still does not get its fair share of leisure guests who mainly go to Aqaba and the Dead Sea, but it’s picking up. So I would say it’s a predominately business hotel for meetings and conventions and individual business travelers, with a smaller proportion for leisure.

We recently opened 12 serviced apartments as well on the fifth floor. They offer one and two bedrooms, and some can connect to other apartments making it a three-bedroom apartment, which also caters to a lot of the GCC families who visit Jordan. That has proven very popular as well. It also caters to people who move into Jordan with smaller families who prefer to stay in a hotel environment where everything is taken care of, instead of looking for apartments and houses.

Does the Fairmont Amman mainly cater to the high-end visitors?

We want to cater to a lot of clients but yes I would say high-end visitors who enjoy staying at a hotel like ours, and who appreciate the finer things in life.

What are the offerings you provide to Jordanians, particularly that now is the summer season when thousands tie the knot?

In August alone we will have 20 weddings, compared to 16 marriages in July. So from a weddings point of view we have a lovely ballroom, and a lovely food offering as well. Additionally, the bride and groom can enjoy staying at our finer suites. For the local market and for those wanting a staycation at the hotel we have special packages and we have a lovely gym and spa that they can also utilize, as well as a pool on the third floor.

What have your occupancy rates been like since July last year?

Obviously when you are a new hotel and you open in a new city the occupancy starts at a low rate then you start putting your stamp and showcasing the property. So we have definitely improved since we opened. Amman is a changing and competitive market; there are quite a few hotels here. But obviously we are very proud of the product and brand that we have, and we can see a great improvement in the business. In percentage we are in the early 50s. Our target is to grow that further but it will grow as business also grows and improves in Amman. But for a hotel in its first year that’s a good place to be.

Do you think there are too many five-star hotels in Amman and not many other offerings like two or three star offerings?

I don’t see any harm in having good five star upscale luxury hotels. In a city like Amman we can see that eventually business will develop, there is a need for very good three and four-star hotels which is lacking. I think that you have travelers who love to stay in five star hotels and who enjoy the luxury and you have travelers who want to stay in four-star and in budget hotels. That well looked after three and four star category is not available here. Yes there is quite a few five-star hotels, but I think it keeps us on our tiptoe, keeps us competitive and it attracts more business.

What are AccorHotels other investments in the Kingdom?

Accor is quite present now in Jordan, we have the Fairmont and it recently took over the ex Meridian Hotel in Amman, which is undergoing a multi-million dollar transformation. Once the renovations are completed it will be branded as Sofitel, which is also a luxury brand for Accor. I know that the renovation is ongoing.

You have only joined the hotel recently. What do you think needs to be managed better or improved in the day-to-day operations?

We always want to do better. In July we celebrate one year of opening Fairmont Amman and as with every project, somethings we get right from the beginning and others we need to change and improve. We will continue to strive to offer better and more personalized services, as well as to make sure that we educate our team members that our guests and their needs are paramount. So it’s a continuous learning process for us and the team, but other than that I wouldn’t change much really.

How do you train your staff members?

We at the Fairmont Amman have intensive training programs within the hotel as well as departmental trainings. And luckily enough because this hotel just opened many of the team members were in the preopening period, so they got extensive training. We try to offer each team member at least three hours of training per month so that they continue to learn and improve.