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Kempinski Hotel Ishtar

Dead Sea Highway
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Kempinski Hotel Ishtar

Why we love it: Luxury hotel in the grand palatial style 

The Highlights:
- Bombastic architecture
- Balcony views
- Stylishly stripped back rooms

The Review:
There's a tendency among high-end hotels in the Middle East to overwhelm guests with bling – the money they're spending has to clearly on view, and no amount of overly-stuffed furniture will change the management's mind. The Kempinski Ishtar, the grandest of all the Dead Sea resorts plays things a little differently. Instead, the intention is to overwhelm with architecture. Enormous Babylonian-style buildings threaten to dwarf guests, but once inside the decor is dialled right back to an almost minimalist degree. Instead, walls disappear to be replaced with expanses of glass, framing dramatic views over the sea, while shady balconies and sunken baths in the rooms keep the money spent subtly out of sight. There are pools and water features aplenty of course, a stylish spa and a selection of restaurants. But the first impression, as someone hands you a glass of cold hibiscus juice while you check-in lingers long in the mind: this is a hotel that gets the details right.