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Kempinski Hotel Aqaba, Red Sea Jordan Opens;
Alejandro Bernabe the Opening GM

by Barry Napier

June 4, 2009 - Hotel Aqaba opened on June 1st. Sited on the Red Sea, Jordan, it joins two other Kempinski hotels in the Jordan. Its 201 rooms and suites all have sea views, enabled by its curved design, shaped like a tear-drop. The interior design is spectacular. Panoramic suites, in particular, have the most stunning views.

The Red Sea has some of the best diving opportunities in the world, amongst coral reefs discovered by the King himself. In the city of the same name, the Aqaba is fronted by the sea, with palm trees and white sand, and has mountains behind, with either a bluish tinge or dark brown colour at dusk and dawn. (Though most of the hotel is open, certain facilities will not be open until October).

Kempinski Hotel Aqaba Red Sea
King Hussein Street 
Al 'Aqabah, Jordan

There are the usual high-class shops, restaurants and leisure facilities in the town, but the hotel has six of its own international cuisine restaurants with innovative menus, spa, yacht trips, a variety of water activities, private beach, children’s club and excursions.

Each of its restaurants specialises in a variety of offerings: one is open all day, another is al fresco; one is mainly pizza and ice cream on the beach, one is a night lounge great for cocktails, and, of course, the pool bar.

The hotel is set in three acres of lush gardens, and cabanas will be sited within their confines, to complement the main hotel rooms. The Aqaba was developed by the United Saudi Jordanian Hotels & Tourism Company. It also owns the Dead Sea and the Amman Kempinski.

Aqaba is at the top end of the Red Sea and boasts many historical places to visit, such as the Mameluk Fort, a castle originally built by Crusaders. The town has  ‘Free Zone’ selling goods free of duty. The Wadi Rum is very close by – so no hours of travelling through desert! The famed Petra and Dead Sea are also nearby. Anyone wishing to book at this hotel should bear in kind that Aqaba is popular with Jordanians who flock there at weekends and at holiday periods. So check availability.

General manager of the Aqaba is Alejandro Bernabe said “When one thinks of Jordan, both the Dead Sea and the Red Sea come to mind, as two of Jordan’s top attractions. (I think) Hotel Aqaba will complement our Amman and Dead Sea hotels perfectly.”

Bernabe has been with Kempinski for over ten years and has held several management positions with them, at the Grand Hotel Europe in St Petersburg, and at the Ciragan Palace in Istanbul. He has been described as “an astute hotelier” and has also managed the Julaia in Kuwait, and the San Lawrenz Resort in Gozo, sister-island to Malta.

A Spaniard, Bernabe studied finance in Madrid and USA, before being trained in hotel management in Switzerland. He has an MBA from France.

Head Chef at the Aqaba is Sudqi Naddaf, a Jordanian from Kuwait. He has taken numerous courses in the UK and Jordan, including one for Italian cuisine. He has over 20 years experience in top class hotels, including the Sheraton Amman, Kempinski Amman and others, plus a stint with Saudi Airlines.

Alejandro Bernabe

Sudqi Naddaf

Barry Napier

Hotel Aqaba

Ashraf Abul Huda


Also See: The Saraya Aqaba Resort Destination on the Gulf of Aqaba in Jordan, Signs Jack Penrod's Nikki Beach to Operate a 140 room Resort Hotel with a Residential Component / May 2008



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