If you’re contemplating unshackling yourself from the burdens of Passover cleaning and looking for an escape, several out-of-the-way spots give new meaning to the “Festival of Freedom.”
If you want to spend the holiday gazing at and exploring the Ramon Crater (aka Makhtesh Ramon) in the Negev Desert region, the Beresheet Hotel, part of the Isrotel Exclusive Collection, is the place.
The 111-room hotel, in Mitzpe Ramon, was built to mesh with the stark but stunning landscape; it’s near the ancient Spice Route on the edge of the towering cliffs that slope down into the Ramon Crater – an extraordinary natural phenomenon considered to be the world’s largest such geographic feature. Borrowing a page from the Frank Lloyd Wright playbook, “this facility was built on the concept of being one with the surrounding nature,” said Nahum Kara, Isrotel’s vice president of marketing and sales. “This is truly a place for people who want to relax, enjoy private time and explore the region.” Half of the rooms, Kara said, have their own private entrance with a swimming pool. And the food has a locavore flavor. “The high-standard culinary offerings,” Kara said, “are based on what is growing in the region from fruits, vegetables and spices to local wines.”
The Ramon Crater itself was created hundreds of millions of years ago, when the Negev was actually an ocean. Slowly, the waters receded northwards leaving behind a hump-shaped hill. The hump was slowly flattened by water and climatic forces. The crater’s bottom continued to deepen at a much faster rate than the surrounding walls, which increased its height.
There are a number of treks for tourists wishing to explore the region on foot, by bike, jeep and even rappelling. The nearby town of Mitzpeh Ramon offers tourists a chance to interact with the locals.
For more information about the area, visit parks.org.il/English/ParksAndReserves/ramon/Pages/deault.aspx
The alluring waters of Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) and the surrounding beauty of the Galilee and Golan Heights regions represent the tranquil backdrop for Fattal Hotel’s newest concept hotel in Tiberias, U Boutique Kinneret. The 60-room hotel complex sits on the banks of the Kinneret, and features a pool, private Tiberias beach and spa treatments. “This is the newest hotel in the chain and in the northern Israeli region,” said Ilanit Afari, Fattal’s northern regional sales director. “It’s a small hotel with big, luxurious rooms that overlook the pool and the Sea of Galilee.”
The U Boutique also offers “chef cuisine” and, like the Beresheet Hotel, features produce, spices and wines from its Galilee area. The area around the hotel features many wineries and dairy farms in the Galilee and Golan; nearby is the picturesque town of Safed, known as the birthplace of Jewish mysticism.
For more information about the area, visit safed.co.il/activities-of-tiberias.html.