Is­rael’s stand­out fall get­aways

The ul­ti­mate week­end es­cape plans

The Jerusalem Post - The Jerusalem Post Magazine - - CONTENTS - • By SHARON FEIEREISEN

It takes no more than a quick scan of pop­u­lar lo­cal Face­book groups like Se­cret Jerusalem or Se­cret Tel Aviv to con­clude that the Land of Milk and Honey is no­to­ri­ous for high-priced des­ti­na­tion ho­tels with medi­ocre ser­vice and less than five-star ameni­ties. Rest as­sured, how­ever, that this isn’t al­ways the case and it’s a stereo­type that’s swiftly chang­ing.

A new crop of ho­tels has been pop­ping up, from the North to the South, of­fer­ing true value for money – and we’re not only talk­ing about ex­pen­sive op­tions; trend-driven, af­ford­able bou­tique ho­tels are also sweep­ing the coun­try, mak­ing be­ing im­pul­sive about a quick week­end get­away all the more ap­peal­ing.

Here’s a look at stand­out spots all across Is­rael, all of which are per­fect for fall get­aways.

Dan Cae­sarea

Re-opened in May af­ter a $25 million ren­o­va­tion, this mod­ern re­sort couldn’t have a more apt tagline: Hap­pi­ness Is Around. Dan Cae­sarea is ar­guably the best des­ti­na­tion ho­tel for fam­i­lies, es­pe­cially those with young chil­dren. Not only is there a play­room with sit­ters to watch your chil­dren through­out the day, they have a huge kids pool area, play­ground, mul­ti­ple tree houses, faux BMW cars for kids to “drive” around in and end­less space for run­ning and play­ing. They also have Is­rael’s only pool ta­ble lo­cated in an ac­tual pool. While there isn’t re­ally any rea­son to leave the ho­tel, they have a shut­tle, should you wish to leave, that can take you to town or to the beach, which is lo­cated five min­utes away. If you de­cide to ven­ture out, go to the Old Town just be­fore sun­set to take in jaw-drop­ping views. There, you’ll also find a well-known restau­rant fa­vored by lo­cal celebri­ties like Gal Gadot and He­lena. Speak­ing of Gadot, she’s among the many Is­raeli celebri­ties to have re­cently stayed at the ren­o­vated re­sort.

1 Roth­schild St., Cae­sarea, (04) 626-9111; dan­ho­tels. com. Kosher.

Mi­los Ho­tel Dead Sea

This new­bie ho­tel still has some kinks to work out when it comes to ser­vice (read: don’t ex­pect much), but when it comes to value for money, it’s hard to beat. While many com­pet­ing ho­tels haven’t been ren­o­vated in years (though it can feel like decades), Mi­los is brand new, mean­ing ev­ery­thing is still glis­ten­ingly clean while be­ing com­pa­ra­ble in price to the area’s other lead­ing ho­tels. While the main at­trac­tion is ob­vi­ously the beach area, the ho­tel also of­fers an at­trac­tive pool. Non-kosher visi­tors will be happy to know, should you be trav­el­ing on Shab­bat, that Mi­los is not kosher, mean­ing you can en­joy that Saturday morn­ing pre-Dead Sea soak cappuccino. On the topic of food, skip the half-board op­tion and in­stead go ex­plor­ing. The Taj Ma­hal Restau­rant in par­tic­u­lar is highly rec­om­mended.

Dead Sea, Ein Bokek, (08) 668-8100; her­bert­samuel. com. Not Kosher.

Beresheet Ho­tel

Some­thing funny hap­pens when you ask peo­ple around Is­rael for ho­tel rec­om­men­da­tions. In my ex­pe­ri­ence, at least one out of three times they’ll steer the con­ver­sa­tion away from what­ever area you’re in­quir­ing about and tell you to bee­line for Beresheet. When you go to Beresheet, lo­cated on the edge of the Ra­mon Crater, you’ll quickly see why. Though it’s eas­ily one of the prici­est des­ti­na­tions in Is­rael, it’s an un­for­get­table one. In fact, even the worst pho­tog­ra­pher would in­spire In­sta­gram envy when post­ing a shot from their out­door pool area, which over­looks a primeval desert land­scape com­plete with all kinds of wild (but harm­less) an­i­mals. While it’s very much an es­cape per­fect for a cou­ple, it’s also fam­ily-friendly. All of the rooms are spa­cious and fea­ture either their own pri­vate pool or large bal­conies with sweep­ing views.

1 Beresheet Rd., Mitzpe Ra­mon; (08) 659-8000; is­ro­tel.com. Kosher.

The Efendi Ho­tel

You might not know the Efendi Ho­tel, but ev­ery true foodie knows Uri Jeremias and his restau­rant Uri Buri. Run and owned by the world-renowned bearded chef, Uri Jeremias, it’s widely con­sid­ered one of the best fish and seafood restau­rants in Is­rael and chefs from all over the world have come to dine there. More re­cently, Jeremias bought up an­cient prop­er­ties a few min­utes away from his restau­rant, and spent mil­lions – and eight years – trans­form­ing them into a lux­ury bou­tique ho­tel – we’re talk­ing artists es­pe­cially flown in from Italy. The de­tails are un­par­al­leled and while it’s too small of a ho­tel to be drip­ping in ameni­ties, the Efendi of­fers a unique break­fast served on a knight’s ta­ble in a cen­turies-old room that dates back to the early Ot­toman Em­pire. They also have a gor­geous cel­lar level wine bar. The cherry on the cake is a spa with a nearly 400-year-old Turk­ish bath.

Louis HaTshi’i Street, Acre, 074-729-9799; efendi-ho­tel.com. Not Kosher

Gor­do­nia Pri­vate Ho­tel

If you fol­low lo­cal Is­raeli celebri­ties on so­cial me­dia, odds are you’re fa­mil­iar with the stun­ning Gor­do­nia Pri­vate Ho­tel. It’s where the likes of ac­tress Agam Rud­berg and model Nataly Dadon go to cel­e­brate spe­cial oc­ca­sions like birth­days, bach­e­lorettes, baby shower, and other sim­i­lar events. The adult-only bou­tique ho­tel fea­tures well-ap­pointed suites, some of which even have a pri­vate pool with moun­tain views. The ho­tel it­self is lo­cated in the heart of the Jerusalem Hills, on the north­west­ern slope of Mount Ruach, 10 km. from Jerusalem. Break­fast, lunch and din­ner are all served on premise, so there’s no need to leave the pam­per­ing ho­tel, which comes com­plete with in­room spa ser­vices.

Ma’aleh Ha­hamisha, Kiryat Anavim, (02) 533-1342; gor­do­nia­ho­tel.com. Kosher.

Mamilla Ho­tel

As a tourist, when you think of Jerusalem you think of the Old City with the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepul­chre and other un­ri­valed sites – you don’t nec­es­sar­ily think of mod­ern ameni­ties and lux­ury shop­ping, but that’s just what you get at Mamilla. While it might not be the ideal des­ti­na­tion for some­one’s first trip to Jerusalem, it couldn’t be more fan­tas­tic for those liv­ing in Is­rael look­ing to see Jerusalem in a new light. It’s lo­cated in the Mamilla area, which is known for de­signer shops, cafés and restau­rants; you al­most feel like you’re in a Euro­pean city strolling around, and yet you’re just mo­ments away from all the fa­mous sites, like Ma­haneh Ye­huda, and clas­sic restau­rants. The ho­tel it­self is con­tem­po­rary while of­fer­ing sweep­ing Old City views (their Rooftop restau­rant/bar is a must!). Un­like many com­peti­tors, they also have fan­tas­tic ser­vice and one of the best break­fasts.

11 Shlomo Ham­elech St., Jerusalem, (02) 548-2222; mamil­la­ho­tel.com. Kosher.

Dave Levin­sky

Trend-driven and bud­get-con­scious are the two fac­tors that make the the Dave Levin­sky, part of the Brown Ho­tels’ grow­ing em­pire, a stand­out choice. Opened this fall, you get low-cost, bou­tique ac­com­mo­da­tions (fancy speak for small) in a cen­tral lo­ca­tion that’s es­pe­cially great for din­ning and nightlife. Given that this ho­tel is new-new, it’s about as good as you can hope to get for bar­gain prices in Tel Aviv – and with only 27 rooms, there’s enough at­ten­tion to go around for all visi­tors. They also have a com­mu­nal rooftop ter­race play­ing host to a ro­tat­ing se­ries of pop-ups and per­for­mances. In keep­ing with the fun, up­beat vibes, there’s a pink and beige color pal­ette through­out. This might not be a fam­ily des­ti­na­tion, but for a cou­ple look­ing to have a fun week­end in Tel Aviv, it’s hard to beat. Note: the ho­tel does not have a food and bev­er­age pro­gram.

85 Na­ha­lat Binyamin St., Tel Aviv; (03) 717-3200; brown­ho­tels.com. Not Kosher.

The Ritz-Carl­ton, Her­zliya

One thing is for sure: when it comes to ho­tels, there’s no go­ing wrong with a Ritz. The mega-chain’s Her­zliya lo­ca­tion is just as per­fect for cou­ples or friends’ trips as it is for fam­i­lies since it has an ideal ma­rina lo­ca­tion, rooftop pool and bar and a fan­tas­tic spa. While you could eas­ily spend a week­end not leav­ing the ho­tel – food in­cluded thanks to their won­der­ful Her­bert Samuel restau­rant – there is plenty to do just sec­onds from the ho­tel lobby, from shop­ping to char­ter­ing a yacht.

4 Hashu­nit St., Her­zliya, (09) 373-5555; ritz­carl­ton. com. Kosher.

(Pho­tos: Sharon Feiereisen)

THE KID in you will re­joice at the Dan Cae­sarea’s tree­houses.

RE­LAX ON a raft at the edge of the Ra­mon Crater, at Beresheet.

GRAB YOUR swim­suit and cue for a game at Is­rael’s only pool ta­ble in an ac­tual pool, at the Dan.

(Amit Geron)

THE ROOFTOP restau­rant/bar of­fers con­tem­po­rary cui­sine and un­par­al­leled Old City views.

(Avia Parpara)

FUN AND up­beat: That’s the vibe at Dave Levin­sky.

(Amit Geron)

HAVE A re­lax­ing cup of cof­fee or a com­fort­ing spot of tea in Mamilla’s peace­ful inner court­yard.

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