There is a quiet, serene feeling near the Dead Sea, one that cannot be found anymore in Eilat or other popular vacation spots in Israel. It is secluded, there are no shopping malls, and nature is close by. When the sun goes down, the air is magical. The relaxed, peaceful feeling you get just floating on the water is incomparable. But for many years, the area lacked good accommodations. Many of the hotels, once considered first-class, deteriorated over time, and very few new good options opened. The idea that people who needed the healing powers of the special mud and water would stay in whatever room you offered them (and pay dearly for it) drove hotel owners to neglect the properties. So vacationers simply chose Eilat or the North for their holidays.

But a new spot that I visited recently is one that will draw families back to the area.

With an investment of more than NIS 30 million in renovation and upgrading, the Isrotel Dead Sea Ganim Hotel in Ein Bokek reopened this year, adding to the hotels in the area a much-needed accommodation option that is stylish and relaxing, modern and pampering.

The atmosphere is very much determined by the interior makeover, designed by London-based Harry Gregory, who also designed the makeovers of a number of Isrotel Eilat hotels recently.

The design is contemporary and welcoming, with retro touches. The golden-brown color scheme with touches of lime green, designed sofas and armchairs, and wooden bookcases that divide the lobby into small seating areas, give the place an immediate air of tranquility.

There are 203 rooms in the hotel, which include studio rooms, double rooms, family and garden suites, all of which have a sea view. The rooms are very spacious and comfortable, with the same color scheme and modern design.

They have large bathrooms, high-quality amenities – a safe, a hair dryer, flat-screen TV, coffee corner and mini-bar, as well as other comforts, depending on the room.

But who wants to stay in the room when you can do laps in either of two saltwater swimming pools or exercise in the well-equipped gym and get a massage at the spa? There are 12 treatment rooms in the spa, two Jacuzzis, a dry sauna and a sundeck for those who require the healing power of the sun. And the Dead Sea beach is within easy access.

Outside, the chill-out feeling is maintained thanks to the meticulous landscaping surrounding the pool, with flower beds and palm trees, a number of green lawns and an orchard, all providing the hotel with the feeling of a first-class resort.

The white-curtained cabanas situated by the semi-Olympic swimming pool, the mood music and the special night lighting all add to the romantic atmosphere.

The hotel offers a new culinary approach that is expressed in the cooking stations, where the chefs prepare the dishes in front of the guests; in the pool bar that is open at night; in the coffee station, which is open and free for guests at all times; and the contemporary menu that features a lot of fresh produce, offering a down-to-earth concept. The food is fresh and light, and the focus is on healthy eating and high-quality ingredients.

Families with children enjoy the kiddies’ pool, and an aviation-themed playroom is available for the guests.

Prices vary according to date and type of room. They range from NIS 880 to NIS 1,160 for bed and breakfast for two, and more with added meals and upgraded rooms.

The writer was a guest of the hotel.

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