Travel: Golan opportunities

The Ramot Resort Hotel offers a serene getaway within an activity-laden environment.

By RUTH BELOFF
July 11, 2011 09:20
4 minute read.
Ramot Resort Hotel

golan hotel 311. (photo credit: Courtesy Ramot Resort Hotel)

I recently revisited the Ramot Resort Hotel in the Golan, half an hour’s drive from Tiberias. As beautiful and idyllic as it was the last time I was there, parts of the complex have been remodeled, making the 42-dunam resort all the more attractive and inviting.

The privately owned Ramot Resort Hotel (called Kfar Nofesh Ramot in Hebrew), situated next to Moshav Ramot, is a stunning expanse of lush landscaped grounds and a complex of superb guest facilities and accommodations. The complex consists of a four-floor hotel, 25 deluxe cabins, 18 wood cabins, an outdoor pool area and the Chalet Bistro for events and conventions.

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The deluxe chalets are truly the height of luxury. Each spacious, tastefully designed cabin is equipped with a Jacuzzi in the center of the room, a king-size bed, a large LCD screen suspended from the ceiling, Internet, a kitchenette with an espresso machine, a living room, a garden terrace and a separate kids’ room with two beds and an LCD screen. In the bathroom, there’s a sauna and a hydro massage shower.

The wood cabins are equally luxurious but are smaller and don’t have a sauna.

The hotel building was recently refurbished, upgrading the lobby, the dining room and the 80 Asian-influenced guest rooms. There are 56 deluxe guest rooms and 24 standard rooms. The hotel also has a lobby bar, two extended terraces, a fitness room and a synagogue with two Torah scrolls. The dining room, which seats 200, serves excellent food (Golan Heights Rabbinate) and offers a commanding view of Lake Kinneret. Guests in the hotel or cabins can also avail themselves of 24-hour room service, as well as a massage in their rooms (for a fee). All this is enhanced by an extremely friendly and courteous staff.

According to resort manager Aviram Goren, a weekend package consists of a two-night minimum, while during the week one can stay for just one night. However, between August 11 and 28 you can’t book just one night.

While the interior of the resort is a delight to experience, the grounds are simply breathtaking. Walking along the wellmanicured paths is a sheer pleasure as the eye is treated to a panorama of colorful plants, shrubs and towering trees. The thought that kept going through my mind was that if one were to landscape paradise, this is what it would look like.

The pool area is comprised of an Olympic-size pool, a small kiddies’ pool and a snack bar, set amid soft green lawns overlooking the Kinneret.

What I found most intriguing about the resort is the overall sense of tranquility that it emanates. The weekend that I was there, the resort was filled to capacity and yet it never felt noisy or crowded. No matter where my friend and I walked or sat or ate, we never felt overwhelmed by other people. There is an air of serenity and refinement about the place that subdues the atmosphere to one of utter peace and contentment.

If you can tear yourself away from the resort, there is a lot to see and do in the area.

The neighboring moshav has horseback riding and bicycles, while just down the road is the fun-filled Luna Gal water park.

Because nothing is far by car, you can drive in any direction to find the kind of entertainment you enjoy in the Golan or Galilee. There are local restaurants and wineries, as well as museums, art galleries, shops and sporting activities, not to mention Katzrin and Tiberias.

For example, Jordan Park offers rubber rafting and kayaking along the Jordan River, while Kesem Hagolan in Katzrin offers a comprehensive film on the Golan, as well as restaurants and the opportunity to make your own beer. In Katzrin you can also visit Beit Habad, where they make olive oil and cosmetics. Or visit Katzrichai, where kids can see live animals and play on the swings and slides for free.

You can take a tour of the Golan Heights Winery or visit the Mei Eden factory where the popular mineral water is produced. Or you can go to the Galita factory, where kids can try their hand at making their own chocolate. And to give your feet a real treat, the Naot factory shop is nearby, where you can purchase some of the best sandals the country has to offer.

For my part, I visited Moshav Odem. A half hour’s drive from Katzrin, it is the highest moshav in Israel. Located just down from the Juba crater, its mineral-rich soil is ideal for growing fruit (054-260-0130 or www.katifodem.co.il). The moshav opens its gates to allow people to come from far and wide to pick the luscious cherries, berries, apples, peaches and figs straight off the trees.

For a NIS 25 entrance fee, you can pick all the fruit you want (in season) and take home baskets of fresh fruit, which you pay for by weight. I have to admit that I had never picked fruit before. I love cherries, and those red delights that I plucked off the branches never tasted so good.

“It feels like a dream working here,” says staff member Gal Youster. “Every day, I feel as if a fairy will come down from a tree and give me a hug.” That essentially encapsulates the entire Golan/Galilee experience – and I could not have said it better myself.

The writer was a guest of the Ramot Resort Hotel.

For more information about the Ramot Resort Hotel, call (04) 673-2636 or visit www.ramot-nofesh.co.il


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