I stayed at the Moab Land Hotel, a hostel situated literally across the road from the Greek Orthodox Basilica of St George, or simply, St. George Church. The word ‘hotel’ is rather misleading for the prices they charge but it’s actually a hostel consisting of private double rooms and mixed dormitories.
There are not many accommodations available in Madaba because the town is rather small with population of only 60,000. Majority of the accommodations are family-run and the most luxurious hotel that you can find is a 4-star Best Western hotel. In addition, there are travellers’ accommodations run by the Franciscans as 10% of the residents are Catholics and Greek Orthodox.
The entrance of the hostel is a little confusing. Although there is a large signage of ‘Moab Land Hotel’ on the building, the entrance of the hostel is not on the ground floor. Instead there’s a pizza shop and a gift shop on the ground floor and in between the two shops is a path leading up the stairs. There is another signage indicating that the hostel is upstairs but as I climbed up to the second and third floor, I came across only rooms, no one was in sight.
I was feeling unsure if I had come to the right place. I went down the stairs again (with my luggage and all) to enquire at the gift shop if the hostel was indeed upstairs, and the man at the shop confirmed. I went up again and hollered “hello, hello, anyone there?” and thankfully, Mariam, the manager-cum-housekeeper of the hostel appeared from one of the rooms on the third floor, with a broom in her hand.
Confusion continued to prevail that morning. As it turned out, the hostel reception was actually on the top floor (fourth floor) and Mariam didn’t expect my arrival as there was no mention of my name in her records even though I showed her the print out of my email correspondence between the hostel employee and myself. Apparently that employee had resigned a few weeks before my arrival but failed to update Mariam about my bookings. Fortunately, the hostel has a private double room available for the next two nights, therefore I immediately paid for the room in full.
My air-conditioned room was basic – it has a double bed, dressing table, cupboard, an attached bathroom and an incredible view of the church especially at sunrise. The interior décor of the hostel look rather out-dated but the rooms are impeccably clean and spacious and the mattress is as comfortable as the ones in mid-range hotels.
My favourite part of the hostel is the terrace on the top floor. The terrace has a sprawling view of Madaba, and a wonderful view of St. George Church and the mosque. Guests eat at the terrace during breakfast, and return to the terrace in the evenings to relax and mingle while watching the sun goes down. And at night, the view gets even better when the mosque is brightly lit.
On my first night at the hostel, one of the employees cooked dinner for us for only JOD3. He cooked a Palestinian-Jordanian dish called maqluba which literally translates “upside down”. Maqluba is rice cooked with chicken or lamb, potatoes and cauliflower, and the dish is served by flipping the pot upside down on to the plate with the crusty bit of the rice on top. The dish is best served with yogurt or salad.
Apart from clean rooms, basic facilities and a terrace with fantastic views, Moab Land Hotel is popular among travellers because of its strategic location. Tourist attractions, restaurants, cafes, kebab and souvenir shops are all within walking distance.
I wouldn’t write-off Moab Land Hotel because of the confusion with the entrance and bookings. After getting to know Mariam and the team, I’m pretty sure they would have assisted me to find accommodation elsewhere if Moab Land was fully booked at that time. The hostel is run in tip-top condition, thanks to the team who ensure that their guests are well taken care of.
Friends have asked me which part of my Jordan trip that I had enjoyed the most, and my answer is Madaba. As much as I had fun in other parts of Jordan, there was something special about Madaba town, and my stay at Moab Land Hotel was the cherry on top of the whole experience with friendly hostel team and travellers and a superb terrace view.
Location & Contact:
Moab Land Hotel
King Talal St., In Front of The Mosaic Map Church
Telephone: +962 7 9041 4049
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