(photo credit: DUDU MOSKOVITZ)
When we first got to Ben Ami zimmer and spa in the Western Galilee, we accidentally parked at the back, and were so happy to see three super-cute dogs running around in the sun, giving us a warm welcome.
That lovely greeting was a great start to the weekend, but definitely had a whole different vibe to it. As we entered the amazing villa, we saw an indoor warmed pool to our right, a fully equipped, brand new kitchen to our left, and a huge living room right in front of us.
The villa contains eight rooms, each with a private entrance and a door leading to the villa, and is either made for a couple who are there for some alone time, or a family there for some quality time. And it is quality time alright. Ben Ami is a great spot to relax in. It has it everything you need in one place: a spa, a whole house, a restaurant, a salon, a pool and a lot more. You don't have to leave for anything, especially if you come on a weekday.
The place is kosher, so if you're there on the weekend, you'd have to go out for your Friday night dinner. For NIS 1,000 for a weeknight and NIS 1,200 on a weekend night you get a room, a couple's massage and breakfast. And for NIS 5,000 for a weeknight and NIS 8,000 for a weekend night, you can get the whole villa to yourself (prices don't include July-August and holidays), which could be a better use of the place, since having to share a villa might not be so romantic and intimate.
Having to share the whole place with your family or friends, on the other hand, could be a great relaxing and bonding experience. It can also make a good place for events like weddings or parties.
It isn't your everyday Galilee zimmer. You don't go there to be alone and watch the Galilee view. You go there to indulge, relax, disconnect and have a high-end good time.
Outside the villa there is a wide green lawn, with hammocks and beach beds spread all over. These are next to a Jacuzzi and another pool, because we have to have an outdoor one too, don't we? We got into our bathing suits and enjoyed the sun while waiting for our massage, and it was well worth the wait. Right after the much indulgent, professional couples' massage, we were lead to the chef restaurant, also by the name of Ben Ami, for lunch. We discovered an intimate small space with no more than eight tables, great music and a lovely atmosphere.
The waitress led us to our table, and immediately offered us wine. Still uplifted from our massage, we were very happy to meet Chef Maor Malka, a very pleasant man, who later turned out to also be amazingly talented. As we got to talk to Maor, we told him all about our likes and dislikes in food, and he helped us pick out our food.
First, came the starters (NIS 56): the house bread with tasty home-made spreads, roasted shoshka pepper topped with olive tapenade – a simple yet brilliant appetizer, two great little salads, and an eggplant cream topped with nigella, creating a wonderful combination of flavors. For the next course, we got a perfect beef Carpaccio (NIS 46) and chicken liver stuffed mushrooms, on top of sweet chilly marmalade (NIS 48). We licked our fingers until the main course arrived at the table: garlic scented lamb chops )NIS 138) and chicken marinated in honey and white wine, Rosemary and garlic (NIS 98), both prepared just as we asked them to be made, and so delicious. When Maor came up to see what we wanted for dessert, we were smiling ear-to-ear, and couldn't think of eating another crumb. But we ended up taking his advice and finishing this great meal with the chocolate mousse (NIS 42). Yum.
Full, happy and satisfied we went back to our room. The villa was only built a few months ago, and we could feel everything in it was brand new. Each room has a lovely balcony looking out, a large comfortable bed, and the best part - the shower. A pebbled floor and a large rain shower-head is a whole new way to shower, I really should get one for my house, too.
After a nighttime dip in the warmed up indoor pool, which we had all to ourselves, and a good night sleep, a rich breakfast was served to our balcony in the morning. That meal was followed by a day in the sun, lying by the pool, and concluding our weekend at Ben Ami as the perfect getaway.
16 Hama'ayan st., moshav Ben Ami,
0527040290 / 073-7260556