The Aqaba House is a unique new eco-accommodation option for guests visiting Jordan’s Red Sea Riviera resort of Aqaba. It is the first ecological building in the city and also doubles up as a cultural centre for visitors as well as locals.
The new B&B-style eco guesthouse on the edge of Aqaba town officially launched in early 2010 and is run by Theo van de Laar, a Dutch ex-tour guide who knows the region incredibly well. It has 6 guestrooms, spread across three floors, which boast simple, elegant furniture, ecologically custom made for The House. Owing to the pressing issue of water shortage in Jordan, rather than provide en-suite facilities, The Aqaba House, originally designed as a family home, offers a highly modern and beautiful shared bathroom on each floor. Guests here will enjoy fantastic views over the Gulf of Aqaba, taking in Aqaba, Eilat in Israel and Egypt, from any one of the hotel’s three terraces or breathtaking mountain views from the top floor terrace.
With the installation of cutting edge technology, the house is a superb example of eco-friendly living, particularly geared towards maintaining comfortable temperatures for guests in the hot climate. Measures included careful consideration of the orientation of the building; use of shading; the part played by the stunning garden, watered through a greywater-system which recycles water; and insulation to ensure the house remains comfortably cool throughout the year. The Aqaba House also boasts a state of the art solar powered water-cooled air-conditioning system, a carefully designed wind tower system to draw in cool air, specially designed heat-resistant stonework and cladding and low-energy lighting systems.
The design is one of the winning entries from the Aqaba Housing Competition, a design competition held in 2004 by the Center for the Study of the Built Environment (CSBE). The building itself, officially opened in June 2009, accommodates 420 m² of residential space and is surrounded by gardens.
Theo is keen to ensure that The Aqaba House, open since early 2010 as a guesthouse, not only serves as a place to sleep, but acts as a cultural hub for guests and non-residents alike. As such, the hotel doubles as an art gallery, housing the work of local artists in the living room in conjunction with Amman based gallery, Jacaranda Images. Theo is also currently in the process of forging a number of further partnerships which aim at offering guests invaluable cultural and activity-led experiences during their stay in Aqaba. These include a 40 km 2-day trek from The House to Wadi Rum, cookery classes and wine tasting sessions. Talks are also underway regarding collaboration with The Red Sea institute of cinematic arts (www.rsica.com) to offer cultural activities to further enhance the guest experience and their understanding of the destination.
The Aqaba House is, as its name suggests, much more of a house than a hotel. It is intimate, flexible in its offering, and offers a very personalised service. Any visitor to Aqaba will know that they are in Jordan should they choose to visit The House; a stay there is about experiencing and embracing the destination as well as its culture.
The Aqaba House is located approximately three kilometres from the town-centre and the shore of the Gulf of Aqaba.