Highlights of Jordan & Israel: 9 Days - Mar 16 - Mar 25, 2019
This is a complicated review to write because I had very mixed feelings about our trip. Let’s start with the positive: Lena quickly put together the trip and patiently fielded endless questions from me. Our driver in Jordan, Moustafa, was truly fantastic and made our stay in his country very rich and special. The dinner with a local family in Petra was the best meal we ate on the entire trip and the family could not have been more welcoming and kind. It was an unforgettable experience. We felt safe on the entire trip. Our guide in Jerusalem/Bethlehem, Issa, was also phenomenally knowledgeable, and he was just fun to be with for the day. Our driver in Israel, Gorge, was jovial and eager to please.
Now for the honest negatives. The accommodations were terrible. The boutique hotels in Amman and Tel Aviv were what we expected and we were perfectly happy there. We are used to staying in five star or chic boutique hotels, but in an effort to be economical we chose only boutique for this trip. I read all of the hotel reviews and looked at photos before we left, and I really went back and forth about staying at, for example, The Kempinski or The Hilton at The Dead Sea and decided that the extra thousand dollars wasn’t worth it for one night. I was wrong. Know that traveling in this area five stars will be closer to 3.5. The agent was not clear about that. However Lena and Tania were very responsive and helped us move. The alternatives were no better though the staff was very friendly so I hate giving a terrible review. We arrived in Israel in time for Purim, and, as a result, a couple of the attractions that I paid for were closed. Tania and Lena are refunding is, and I appreciate that, but I was not happy that we were not warned in advance. It’s a big holiday and three-four days long, so to arrive and have the driver say “everything will be closed have a nice time on your own today” was very upsetting. Fortunately he was wrong and we had a nice day.
I took a risk using a service based strictly on a NY Times recommendation, and while I was relieved to have a very organized itinerary, I think I could have done it on my own with much better hotels. I have used similar services with much better outcomes. The whole experience was ok but not without its issues.