As you’ve probably discovered while planning your trip to Jordan, there are some pretty fascinating places to stay. From luxury resorts at the Dead Sea and in Aqaba to Bedouin tents and Martian domes in Wadi Rum, there’s accommodation for every type of traveler in Jordan. But there’s one property you may not have heard about and may want to add to your Jordan itinerary: Feynan EcoLodge, located in the Dana Biosphere Reserve.
Dana Biosphere Reserve is much like the national parks of the U.S. and Canada; it protects some 320 square kilometers and the species and landscapes within that region. Feynan EcoLodge is built to allow visitors to explore Dana in a sustainable way, and show that there’s a future for sustainable tourism in Jordan.
As you’ve landed on my Feynan EcoLodge review, you’re aware of the property and just want more info to decide if it’s right for you. Below you’ll find a lot of details about the property and my stay there, including a video review and plenty of photos to show what it’s really like. If you have any questions about what it’s really like to stay at Feynan EcoLodge, let me know in the comments.
Feynan EcoLodge Review (Video)
Curious what it’s like to stay at Feynan EcoLodge? I’ve put together this short video to share our experience staying there for one night during our March 2022 visit.
Read on to learn more about the details of our stay and what you can expect during your visit.
Sustainable Travel in Jordan
As I’ve traveled in Jordan, I’ve gotten the sense that while the Jordanian tourism industry generally wants to make sustainable choices, this is sometimes at odds with the desire to encourage tourism and provide good hospitality (Jordanian hosts will often bend customs and rules if a guest asks – even if the consequences later might be negative). Thus, it’s rather hard to find great sustainable tourism initiatives in Jordan.
Feynan EcoLodge is an exception; the property and its offerings are designed from top to bottom with sustainability in mind, thanks to the partnership between the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (a conservation initiative) and EcoHotels that run the property.
To be clear though: this sustainability may come with a bit of “inconvenience” depending on your perspective. Here are some of the sustainable practices at Feynan EcoLodge:
- The entire property is run off solar power, but most common areas – including walkways and the dining room – and guest rooms are lit by candles once the sun goes down. Obviously, this means it is quite dark to walk around at night.
- All water is also solar heated; this produces plenty of hot water unless you have a lot of hair to wash or take a very long shower.
- Water in the room is spring-fed but unfiltered; instead, you’ll have a clay jar of filtered water in your room and can refill water bottles in the lobby and dining room. This dramatically reduces plastic use on the property.
- Meals are all vegetarian; this reduces the power needs to keep meat and dairy refrigerated but is a definite change from most traditional Jordanian food.
As I said, these are great sustainable practices but require all guests to perhaps step a bit more outside the normal comfort zone for accommodation in other parts of Jordan or at home. I personally found these initiatives exciting even if they took a bit of adaptation.
Transfers to/from Feynan EcoLodge
Right off the bat, you’ll discover that Feynan EcoLodge is different than other properties in Jordan: you’ll switch to a truck or van driven by a local Bedouin driver to get from the reception area near the town of Feynan to the lodge itself. This means that you might have quite an adventure: our first driver was a young guy who knew his accelerator pedal quite well, whereas our second driver had a much more spacious van and took things slowly to keep us more comfortable.
If you’ve chosen to drive yourself, you may be able to take your rental car out to Feynan EcoLodge but I recommend checking with both the rental agency and Feynan EcoLodge when you make your booking to ensure you’ll be able to drive your car versus switching to a local driver.
Reception & Common Areas at Feynan EcoLodge
Upon arrival at the lodge itself, you’ll be greeted by a staff member; there’s always an English-speaking staff member on duty though you may need to wait a few minutes for them if they’re working in another part of the property as you arrive. They’ll offer you tea, a special blend for Feynan EcoLodge that’s truly delicious – and really, it would be rude to refuse!
Then you’ll probably have some time to walk around before accessing your room. I recommend exploring the ground floor of the property, where you can find the reception desk (and handy signs about the property and activities during your stay), the dining room (usually locked between mealtimes), the courtyard, the terrace, and the lounge. These are all great places to hang out if you have any downtime and don’t just want to relax in your room. There’s also a rooftop with Bedouin cushions where you can relax and enjoy the fresh air.
As I mentioned, most of these areas will also be candle-lit after sunset, so they’re interesting to see during the day and after the sun goes down.
Feynan EcoLodge Rooms & Amenities
There are a number of styles of rooms at Feynan EcoLodge, but are mostly divided into double beds and two twin beds. Some have only windows, others have balconies; from peeking into a few rooms I got the sense that each one is unique.
Briefly, though, here’s what to keep in mind for your room:
- Your bed will likely be quite firm, as it’s built onto a stone platform. I slept very deeply, though this may not be comfortable for everyone!
- Rooms are also candle-lit; after nightfall, you’ll use the provided matches to light candles in various parts of the room to provide enough light to see.
- The bathroom does have electricity, which is handy if you want to use in, but we found that candlelight was enough to get ready for bed once our eyes had adjusted to the dark.
- Speaking of bathrooms, there’s a western-style toilet and shower – so no worries there if you’re unfamiliar with other types of toilets!
- There’s mosquito netting around the beds, so you can choose to sleep with the windows and/or balcony door open if you choose. This is especially nice during the warmer summer months as Feynan EcoLodge does not have air conditioning.
From my perspective, the rooms were comfortable and charming: there were lots of design elements that made the interior of the rooms reflect the exterior landscape. It felt like a luxury stay in Wadi Feynan (the Feynan valley) rather than a cookie-cutter property that could be anywhere.
Meals at Feynan EcoLodge
Full-board accommodation includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner depending on the duration of your stay. As I mentioned, all meals are vegetarian at Feynan EcoLodge. This means you’ll have the chance to try Jordanian veggie dishes you may not have enjoyed yet, as well as delicious hummus and other spreads. If you’re vegetarian and planning a trip to Jordan, Feynan is a great place to stay as you can trust all the food is prepared without meat. (I have resources for eating vegetarian or vegan in Jordan, if you need extra tips.)
During our stay, we had a number of different dishes, all served with a Bedouin bread called Sherak which is made by a local woman. There were also different fruit juices, desserts, and coffee and tea available.
Excursions & Activities at Feynan EcoLodge
While the rooms and property at Feynan EcoLodge are lovely and it’s easy to spend your entire stay enjoying them, the highlight of staying at Feynan is the opportunity to get out and explore Dana Biosphere Reserve and interact with local Bedouin people. Each day, Feynan EcoLodge offers a number of excursions to help you make the most of this unique chance.
Some of the activities include hikes a half-day Wadi Dana or Wadi Ghwayr; visits to the copper mines or nearby Roman ruins; cooking classes and demonstrations; and Bedouin experiences like bread-making, coffee-making, and applying kohl (eyeliner). There’s also a daily sunset hike, candle lighting throughout the property, and stargazing (weather permitting). Each evening, there’s a brief presentation for all guests about the next day’s options.
During our stay, we had the chance to do the sunset hike, stargaze from the rooftop, and meet with a Bedouin family to learn about bread-making. With just a one-night stay, I feel like we had a chance to sample the different kinds of excursions offered and feel confident recommending that you do any (or all!) on the schedule during your stay.
Feynan EcoLodge Review: My Overall Thoughts
So what are my overall thoughts on Feynan EcoLodge? Would I recommend you add an overnight or multi-night stay here to your Jordan itinerary?
Broadly speaking, yes: I really enjoyed our stay at Feynan EcoLodge and think it’s a great experience in Jordan. During a stay at Feynan EcoLodge, you have the chance to participate in truly sustainable tourism and explore a part of the country that fewer visitors prioritize (Dana Biosphere Reserve). Your dollars spent funnel directly into Jordanian companies and the local community, too.
However, if you are a five-star, all-amenities-included, luxury traveler, you may want to pass on Feynan EcoLodge for your own comfort. The transfer to/from the lodge can be jarring; the experience is very comfortable but by no means indulgent; and you’ll need to accommodate the people and place you’re staying at the same time you’re receiving accommodation.
Ready to book your stay? You can book directly on the Feynan EcoLodge website.
If you’re up for an adventure and love the idea of treading off the beaten path in Jordan, Feynan EcoLodge is a must-stay; I hope you’ll push outside your comfort zone and discover this special experience in Jordan. Do you have any questions about my stay at Feynan EcoLodge and this Feynan EcoLodge review? Let me know in the comments and I’ll help you figure out if it’s a good stay for you.