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Al Manara Lighthouse, Jordan

The Al Manara Lighthouse Luxury Collection hotel is majestically located on the banks of the Saraya Lagoon in the Gulf of Aqaba in south Jordan

The Luxury Collection hotel and spa, with its beautiful location, spacious guestrooms and extensive facilities, is the jewel in Saraya Aqaba’s crown. The 200 room property boasts three F&B outlets and a state-of-the-art spa. The interior design attempts to capture the essence of ‘The Jordanian house style’ in its concept. Departing from the traditional aesthetics of the Middle East, the Jordanian style is more Mediterranean and Levantine in its expression. Dressing the areas in indigenous coursed stone masonry and decorative terrazzo floor tiles, the design is a throwback to the stonework of the Wadi Rum and Petra sites. 

Using highly decorative pieces of furniture, embroidered fabrics from the Jordan River foundation, and handpicked paintings from the local galleries, the FF&E plays on the contrasts to create pockets of interest. Inspired from the local palette, tones of red and black form an integral part of the accent colour and scheme.

The port of Ayla was active from the 7th to the 12th century BC, and was part of a trade route linking the Levant with other parts of the Middle East, Asia and Africa. Ayla was a venue that promoted cultural exchange and free trade. The design of the Luxury Collection Al Manara showcases the relationship that the old Aqaba had with the rest of the region. 

MMAC explored the idea of the four gateways that existed in the ancient city. These gateways welcomed the visitors from the neighbouring regions of Hejaz (the Arabian Peninsula), the Mediterranean, the Levant and Turkey and, last but not least, the seafaring community that came in from the Red Sea. The design of the hotel is infused with the ethos of these cultures and stands as a testimony to Aqaba’s glorious past.

The Gate to the Levant (leading to Damascus and eventually to Turkey): The Levantine style is fully expressed in the design of the entrance lobby and the guestrooms. A restrained Islamic style marked by clean lines and lighter tones, vibrant ethnic fabrics and stunning hand carved pieces of furniture. Working with the engineers, the interior designers created a lobby structure that was both functional as well as beautiful, The columns and archways give rise to white vaulted ceilings, which are in striking contrast to the pristine white canopy. The furnishing was an interplay of the inlaid walnut furniture and crimson fabrics that sit on a patterned terrazzo floor.

The Gate to Hejaz (leading east to the centre of Islam): The Hejazi style is brought to life in the details of the Kubba restaurant. Elaboratively carved arches hold up an enormous dome over the central seating area. The Grey Kharaki stone that covers the floors is imbued with bold Islamic patterns in contrasting white marble. The seats are upholstered in indigo and purple velvets. Envisioned as a night venue, the restaurant unfolds under a free form crystal chandelier and features a DJ and an extensive lagoon side external seating. 

The Gate to the Mediterranean (through Egypt to the west): The Taybeh Al Manara restaurant accessed from the lobby is representative of the Mediterranean style with its earthy tones, its carved wood panelling and stamped concrete tiles. Visitors can choose from two distinct ambiences − the sheltered wooden canopy at the entrance or the bright atrium near the show kitchen.

The Gate to the Sea (facing the Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea): The resort unfolds along the gulf of Aqaba. The landscaped gardens, two infinity pools, lagoon side dining and the walkways along the beach capture the essence of the port side existence in Ayla. Ferries shuttle guests between the various points in the large development mirroring the culture of the ancient city.