Getting away from it all

Unwind at a spa hotel - a resort that focuses on physical and mental relaxation.

By JOHN BENZAQUEN
July 18, 2011 09:16
4 minute read.
CARMEL FOREST SPA HOTEL

CARMEL FOREST SPA HOTEL. (photo credit: Courtesy)

We are living in very stressful times. The current tempo of life is harrowing, with fierce commercial competition and anxiety about the economy wreaking havoc with one’s physical and emotional state. So what to do? Where can one go to
relax?

An ideal solution is a spa hotel. Specializing in both physical and mental relaxation, spa hotels provide a welcome respite where one can get away from it all, however briefly, and renew one’s energy and sense of equilibrium.

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There are a number of spa hotels in Israel. The best known are the Carmel Forest Spa Resort nestled in the forests of the Carmel Mountains and Mitzpe Hayamim in the Galilee. In addition, there are smaller such hotels that also offer physical and mental relaxation.

The Carmel Forest Spa Resort is located in the Carmel Forest, an area of dense natural pine woodland. The view is relaxing, with the green of the treetops and the blue of the Mediterranean Sea in the distance.

Aya Grundman, managing director of the Carmel Forest Spa, says, “From the beginning, we wanted to create a health resort adapted to the needs of modern man. A place where one could escape the pressures of everyday life and experience a process of physical and mental rejuvenation.”

The world-class resort has 126 rooms, built to the highest standards. That includes 18 suites, most of which face the forest and have a view of the sea. The main level of the resort includes the hotel lobby, auditorium, music room, game room (card games, billiards, etc.) and fitness room that is equipped with the latest state-of-the-art equipment.

Grundman explains that the “health resort” concept is emphasized in the ratio of green spaces to built-up areas and the large number of treatment rooms in relation to the number of guest rooms. The Carmel Forest Spa Resort spans an area of some 14 acres of woodland and grassland, hiking trails and lush gardens. The spa covers an area of 2,500 square meters. It includes 26 treatment rooms, dry and wet saunas, immersion baths, etc. The spa also features a glassed-in indoor swimming pool surrounded by scenic woodland.

One of the essential elements of relaxation is a tranquil environment. This includes such features as spacious grounds with an abundance of flowers and trees, chirping birds and the soothing sound of water.

Mizpe Hayamim has a lot of this, as well as spectacular scenery. Its name, Mizpe Hayamim, or sea views, reflects the hotel’s breathtaking panoramas of the Golan Heights, the Hula Lake and the Sea of Galilee.

The hotel comprises 150 dunams (37.5 acres) of spacious lawns, manicured gardens, lofty trees and one of the most comprehensive organic farms in the world. The hotel can accommodate approximately 200 guests.

Galit Lifshits Melamed, marketing manager of Mitzpe Hayamimm, says, “Our hotel offers professional relaxation. We have a highly trained team that provides treatment s such as massage to relieve physical stress. We conduct physical exercise programs to help our guests keep physically fit, and we offer yoga sessions that help relieve both physical and mental stress.”

The hotel’s vegetarian restaurant serves food prepared with the produce of the organic farm, such as fresh milk and fruits and vegetables picked straight from the garden.

Meals at a health resort like the Carmel and Mizpe are based on the principles of good nutrition. Proper nutrition is the key to a state of equilibrium between body and soul, which is why such hotels place special emphasis on serving healthful, tasty food.

Urban oases
The Carmel Forest Resort and Mizpe Hayamim are rural health spas, but Israel has a number of urban health spas as well, such as the Shizen in Herzliya Pituah and the Canaan Spa in Safed.

The Shizen, located opposite the beach in Herzliya, is a relatively small spa hotel. It has 40 rooms decorated in Japanese minimalist style. The hotel is small, but it prides itself on the treatment it offers its guests and the high caliber of the spa. According to Liat Oberman, spa manager at the Shizen, “We are different from the Carmel Forest and Mitzpe Hayamim, so we are not in competition with them. They have large open spaces, lawns, trees and flowers, while we have the sea. Another important difference is that we, as an urban hotel, can offer our clients treatments on a daily basis without the need to stay overnight.”

As such, the Shizan is divided into the spa area and the hotel. The hotel is decorated in traditional Oriental style, with light furniture and extensive use of wood. All rooms have sea views and terraces, and some are equipped with a Jacuzzi.

The Canaan Spa is also an urban spa hotel. It is located in the Canaan Mountains in Safed, situated 940 meters above sea level. The climate there is excellent, especially in the summer when Safed is one of the coolest places in Israel. The hotel has 120 guest rooms and 15 treatment rooms.


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