Hotels run the entire length of the dead sea on both sides of the border, as one of the main attractions of the area this is no surprise. Spa Resort hotels are the norm, with people coming specifically for the supposed healing properties of the waters.
The Dead Sea
The Dead Sea is slowly dying. Climate change is having a dramatic effect on the region and the water from the River Jordan, which previously kept the sea level is drying up. Aside from the slow reduction in a site of natural beauty and wonder, it also causes physical issues, as sinkholes and salt flats open up around the sea.
That aside, our hotel had direct, private access to a small section of beach and the water, with a lifeguard on duty to keep us close to shore. Dead Sea mud, famous the world over for its skin care effects is available for use in big wooden buckets, or in a mud pool. Once fully covered, we climbed down the sharp stone beach to get into the water.
It is almost impossible to describe the sensation of floating in the Dead Sea. The buoyancy is so extreme, that all your understanding of how to swim disappears. You can either hang, directly down, feet pointing below you, or be suspended flat on the water. There is no 45 degree angle, as you would normally float comfortably, your legs are forced upwards by the salt water. More well endowed women have their own unique issue floating in the Dead Sea.
You are warned to keep your hands away from your face, and to not put your head under the water. Naturally this proves to be impossible and you discover the incredible strength of the salt in the water. Any cuts or cracks in your skin will redden due to the exposure and there will be stinging that will last a few hours after your swim.
All of the hotels have in house Spas offering saunas, hot tubs, massages and various treatments with Dead Sea minerals to enliven your skin and enlighten your wallet. Whilst I maintain my scepticism of the more magical claims regarding the mud and water in the Dead Sea, the Spa is worth a visit, especially when done at the end of a desert tour riding on the back of a camel and climbing to the End of the World in the burning desert sun.