Jordan has accommodation to suit most budgets in the main cities but limited choice elsewhere. It’s generally not necessary to book ahead except in the two peak seasons (September to October and March to mid-May). Holiday weekends are peak times in Aqaba and at the Dead Sea resorts.

RSCN Ecolodges Some of the best accommodation in Jordan is offered at sustainable lodges in the country's nature reserves.

Hotels Most hotels in Jordan are family-run enterprises with a long tradition of hospitality towards travellers.

Resorts Five-star luxury can be found at resorts in Amman, Aqaba, Wadi Musa and the Dead Sea.

Camping

For many people, spending a night under the stars – or at least under canvas – is a highlight of a trip to Jordan. One popular option is to sleep in a traditional ‘house of hair’ at a Bedouin camp in Wadi Rum. Facilities in these goat-wool tents are basic but it’s a great experience.

Camping with your own tent is permitted in a few places in southern Jordan, especially in the desert surrounding Wadi Rum. Camping ‘off piste’ in the north is more problematic, not least because you’ll have competition for the best spots from the Bedouin, and it’s surprisingly hard to find a secluded place to pitch a tent.

Bringing a tent to save money on accommodation isn’t cost effective as camping is rarely possible without your own transport. Besides, cheap rooms are plentiful in areas close to the major sites of interest.

Staying in Jordan’s Nature Reserves

A variety of accommodation, from camping and cabins to luxury rooms in ecofriendly lodges, is offered within most of Jordan’s nature reserves. To see what is on offer in each reserve and to make an online booking, visit the website of the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN; www.rscn.org.jo). In some areas, such as the beautiful Dana Nature Reserve (open March to November), advance booking is required.

Camping in these reserves is not a cheap option. It is intended for those who are happy to pay extra to wake up in the wild and who want to contribute to the sustainable tourism ethic of the RSCN. Bookings can also be made through Wild Jordan in Amman.

Hotels

From homestays in Ajloun, family-run guesthouses in Madaba, ecolodges in nature reserves to the opulent pleasure palaces on the Dead Sea, Jordan offers some interesting hotel accommodation. Reservations are recommended during peak seasons, especially at the Dead Sea resorts, in Jerash, and for midrange and top-end hotels in Aqaba and Wadi Musa.

Breakfast varies from a humble round of bread with a triangle of processed cheese in budget hotels to a delicious assortment of locally made yoghurt, hummus, fuul (fava bean paste) and olives in midrange hotels. The buffet-style breakfasts at top-end hotels can fill up a hungry hiker for a week.

Wi-fi is available, usually for free, in most hotels but not necessarily in all the rooms.

Budget

Budget rooms are available in most towns and vary from stark and basic to simple and homely. Most are spotlessly clean.

Private rooms start from JD15/20 for singles/doubles, with less stark rooms with a private bathroom costing around JD25/35. Prices are negotiable, especially during quieter seasons. A few places in downtown Amman have dorm rooms, but these are otherwise not common; most budget places have ‘triples’ (rooms with three beds), which you can ask to share with other travellers, cutting the cost of accommodation considerably. In summer you can even sleep on the roof in some places for about JD8 per person with access to showers. There are no youth hostels in Jordan.

Some things to consider: many budget places are located above shops and cafes that can be noisy at night; avoid windowless rooms that are stifling hot in summer; winter in Jordan is bitterly cold so ensure the heater is working before checking in. Wi-fi may cost extra, and breakfast is not always included in the price.

Payment usually needs to be made in cash in Jordanian dinars.

Midrange

Midrange hotels offer the best value for money in Jordan. They are often privately owned by families who take pride in welcoming their guests. The owners are a fount of local knowledge and provide assistance in catching transport or advising on sights of interest. Some even organise their own tours. Most family-run hotels offer some kind of home cooking for breakfast, and guests might even be asked to join the family if they have requested an evening meal.

There is at least one midrange hotel in towns you’re likely to visit, with a good selection in Amman, Madaba, Wadi Musa (near Petra) and Aqaba. Rooms in midrange hotels usually have colour TV (sometimes featuring satellite stations such as CNN), fridge, heater (essential in winter), telephone, reliable hot water and a private bathroom.

Prices are typically around JD50/65 for singles/doubles. Negotiation is sometimes possible, especially if you’re staying for several days. Many midrange hotels accept credit cards, but it’s best to ask before checking in.

Top End

There are some excellent top-end hotels in Amman, Wadi Musa and Aqaba, with liveried staff, welcome drinks on arrival, marble foyers and luxurious rooms. Most have a travel agency within their shopping arcades from which you can hire a car and organise hotel bookings for the next part of your trip.

Most of the top-end hotels are owned by international chains, but they invariably reflect the local character of Jordan, with Arabian-style interior design, options for high-quality Middle Eastern dining, shops selling fine Jordanian handicrafts and bookshops with a selection of English-language titles on Jordan.

Independent travellers can often negotiate a walk-in rate. Outside peak seasons and holidays (when booking is essential), you may find a world-class room for a midrange price.

A tax and service charge of 26% is added to the bill in top-end hotels, although it’s worth checking to see if this has already been included in a discounted rate. Major credit cards are accepted in all top-end hotels.

Rental Accommodation

Apartments for short-term rental can be a cost-effective way of making the most of a longer trip to Jordan. In Amman, the best places to check for apartments are the accommodation listings in the English-language newspapers, cultural-centre noticeboards, and signs displayed in the cafes around Rainbow Street (including the noticeboard at Books@café). Also see www.expatriates.com/classifieds/amm/housingavailable.

It generally costs about JD500 to JD1000 per month for a furnished apartment in a reasonable area of Amman (including bills). Short-term lets are also available in Aqaba, but in the rest of the country it's hard to find long-stay, self-catering accommodation for a period of less than six months.

Resorts

If you have only one night’s luxury during your visit to Jordan, plan to stay in one of the Dead Sea resorts. Not only are these stylish hotels worth a visit in their own right, but they also offer the best access to the Dead Sea – an area where there is next to no alternative accommodation. Residents of one resort can use the facilities of the neighbouring hotels, which takes care of several nights’ worth of entertainment in an area with no local nightlife.

Apart from the Dead Sea, there are also resorts in and around Aqaba – including the flagship resorts of the Mövenpick and Intercontinental chains. With access to the calm waters of the Red Sea, multiple pools, gyms and a selection of top-notch restaurants, they have brought a cosmopolitan experience to Jordan’s second city.