North spas with real sparkle

A few days chill­ing in Is­rael’s lush north is a good plan, es­pe­cially for fre­quent vis­i­tors, says Ly­dia Weitz­man

The Jewish Chronicle - - TRAVEL -

YOU’VE DONE the whole t o ur i s t thing, and now you’re l ook­ing for some­thing d i f f e r e n t a n d spe­cial. Somet h i n g o f f t h e beaten track, a base in Is­rael’s coun­try­side that gives you all the pam­per­ing touches of a five-star city ho­tel.

In re­cent years, bou­tique ho­tels of the high­est stan­dards have been sprout­ing in the Galilee hill­sides like wild mush­rooms af­ter the spring rains. But, rather like the wild mush­rooms them­selves, if you don’t know where to look for them, you might miss them com­pletely.

Even when you are headed for the charm­ing, Jerusalem-stone-clad Bayit Ba­galil, hid­den deep in the Biriya For­est above Rosh Pi­nah, you can get lost along the wind­ing track be­fore you reach the im­pres­sive gated en­trance.

With just 26 suites in this quasi-Euro­pean chateau, Bayit Ba­galil is the ul­ti­mate bou­tique ho­tel: small, in­ti­mate and el­e­gant. All the coun­try-house clichés are here — a roar­ing fire in the hearth in win­ter; a di­verse se­lec­tion of books and games spread out on the cof­fee ta­bles; bikes and pic­nic ham­pers for for­est for­ays — but the over­all ef­fect is en­chant­ing, mak­ing you feel as if you are a guest in some­one’s coun­try home. An eclec­tic mix of furniture styles ca­su­ally ar­ranged and an in­ter­est­ing col­lec­tion of “sou­venirs” gar­nered from around the world all add to the home-rather-than-ho­tel feel­ing. In fact, it is per­fectly usual to chat with other guests over a pre-din­ner drink in the lounge.

But how­ever invit­ing the Euro­peanstyled in­te­rior is, this is Is­rael, with blue, sun-filled skies beck­on­ing you to en­joy the many ter­races and cosy cor­ners, lav­ishly fur­nished with top-notch wrought iron and rat­tan furniture and stun­ning views across Rosh Pi­nah to Lake Kin­neret. The out­door pool, with its large Jacuzzi and padded sun­loungers, is a far cry from the fre­netic pool­side scene at most Is­raeli ho­tels — no aer­o­bics (or even kids) to dis­turb the tran­quil­ity. And ev­ery­where, the sight and scent of pine trees.

Set in the heart of the for­est and built into the hill­side, the ho­tel is sur­rounded by na­ture, with easy walk­ing trails and guided for­est walks at the week­ends. Just the thing to work up an ap­petite for the gourmet kosher

Bayit Ba­galil, hid­den away in the heart of the Biriya For­est above Rosh Pi­nah in the north­ern Galilee

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.