The accommodation is cool, clean and inviting. Each room is set in its own small semi-detached building, with a front door, bathroom, and bedroom. There are televisions, a kettle, coffee, and mugs, and phones in each room. The rooms we stayed in were tiled throughout, making them cool and perfect for returning to after a dip in the swimming pool. The pool itself is a large, outdoor effort, set just behind the main row of hotel buildings, with a life-guard on duty. It is available to all guests, closing in the late evening. We visited in November, and the pool was still warm and pleasant to use.
The price of the room includes breakfast and dinner, which is useful as there aren’t many other dining options nearby. The restaurant keeps Kosher, which means that meals contain either meat or dairy products, but not both, and there is no sea-food or pork available. Meals containing dairy products (breakfasts) must be eaten off the provided trays, rather than straight off the table, and you can’t have milk in tea or coffee at dinner, although they provide a milk-substitute powder instead. The food is very good, featuring lots of salads and vegetables, which are very good in Israel and great in the hot weather that is a pretty permanent feature of this part of the country.
The staff all speak excellent English, and there is a programme of entertainment in the evenings for guests who wish to attend. While we were there, that included a demonstration of belly dancing. The kibbutz also offer guided walks around both the area and their own Desert Plants gardens, which several guests told us they would recommend.
Ein Gedi is on the Dead Sea, which can either be seen as a day-trip from Jerusalem, or you can stay at this hotel overnight, meaning a more relaxed visit. Either way, the hotel is a peaceful, friendly, altogether lovely place to stay. You can most easily get here by car, but the country’s impressive bus system will drop you at the foot of the drive up to the Kibbutz. The hotel runs mini-buses to and from the Ein Gedi spa resort on the coast of the Dead Sea.
London, United Kingdom
August 13, 2001
From journal Jerusalem, the golden city