As we were driving down from Jerusalem to Jericho we entertained several times the idea of just making a U turn and going back. We chose the Intercontinental hotel. In the previous days we visited Bethlehem and we stayed there in the other property that Intercontinental has there, our experience was excellent and it helped us to find the motivation to visit one of the oldest cities of the world.
As we were planning our trip we read many things on the internet, several people said that it is very dangerous to drive a car that has an Israeli plate into the Palestinian territories, other just say that it is forbidden to enter there or that the city is tremendously unsafe.
It takes only around half hour from Jerusalem, but the panorama is dramatic, one descends into an impressive desert, it is possible to contemplate the Jordan River, the Dead Sea and the breathtaking mountains as far as Jordan and Mount Nebo. There are camels and and beautiful canyons formed by rocks on each side of the highway. Once in the Jordan Valley it is easy to see Jericho, and probably the biggest building is the Intercontinental. Entering the city one has to cross a checkpoint controlled by palestinian police, we were greeted cordially by those in charge there and intermediately we headed towards the hotel.
The first impression of the property is nice, it is the feeling of arriving to an oasis in the midst of such a dry panorama, there is a very safe and free parking lot. The main building is surrounded by manicured gardens and many palm trees. The lobby is kept very tidy, everything is clean, one just gets the feeling of being a little alone, something that is understandable after reading the bad publicity in internet toward this city.
The personnel of the hotel are extremely helpful and friendly, they seemed sincere when they expressed to us how happy they were with us, our presence in the city represents work for locals. This is a hotel that was built years ago connected with a casino next to the main building that now is closed. They have done a great job keeping this place up. Check in was fast and they are always willing to offer a good upgrade when available.
The Intercontinental Jericho seems more like a a big resort, there are good facilities, several swimming pools for adults and kids and probably the best one is the pool with saltwater from the Dead Sea. The spa offers treatments that incorporates the healing properties of mud and minerals from the Dead Sea, there is a jacuzzi, sauna and steam baths, and the gym has very decent equipment.
Rooms may seem a little tired, but they are clean and well organized and one can enjoy a beautiful view that sometimes extends all the way to Jordan.
We particularly enjoyed the food, the buffet breakfast is excellent offering an amazing array of options. The main restaurant outside the building is next to the pools, they serve great Arabic and international dishes. We loved eating outside to enjoy the breeze and the great weather.
We were highly satisfied in this hotel, it is an excellent value for money, Jericho is a city with many attractions from ancient ruins to impressive centuries old monasteries carved into the mountains, this is a place to take it slow and the Intercontinental hotel is probably the best place to stay when visiting such an age old destination.