“We spent our Jordan holiday sleeping in a broken car right in the middle of the desert.”
To the uninitiated, that would sound like a nightmare scenario. Yet, people from all over the world are paying $57 a night for a chance to sleep in a stripped-out Volkswagen (VW) in the Jordanian desert, in what is claimed to be the world's smallest hotel.
Mohammed al Malaheem created the hotel back in 2011, taking the car and decorating it with hand-embroidered sheets and pillows to create the private retreat for two. Located in the tiny Jordanian village of Al Jaya, Al Malaheem told the CNN he created the accommodation to show visitors how stunning the area can be.
"This village is my homeland, I was born here, I grew up here, I lived here," he said. "I wanted to start a project that improves its situation and places it on the tourism map because it truly overlooks some of the most beautiful scenery in the region."
The hotel not only offers serenity and peace amid the desert landscapes but also a spectacular view facing the 12th-century archaeological site of Montreal Castle. It even boasts a prestigious guest list from the French Prime Minister to the Japanese ambassador.
Once his VW hotel was up and running, Al Malaheem set up a hotel "lobby" inside a nearby cave, naming it "Baldwin's Grotto", after Baldwin I of Jerusalem, who built Montreal castle in 1115. There, visitors can enjoy an authentic Jordanian experience where they are served coffee, tea, and traditional Jordanian snacks. Passers-by are also welcome to enjoy local breakfast or lunch at the hotel, prepared and served by Abu Ali’s wife and daughters in the traditional Bedouin way.