Leaving buildings, noise, pollution and traffic behind, it was with great expectations and enthusiasm that I set off for a weekday mini-vacation at the newly rebranded and remodeled Herods Hotel at the Dead Sea. With a world-class spa, excellent dining options, large swimming pool and private seaside promenade, Herods Dead Sea is part of the exclusive Fattal chain of hotels that includes the Leonardo Plaza in Jerusalem.
I visited the hotel with a group of other journalists, and the moment we walked through the doors of the impressive building, we were greeted by the hotel manager, who emphasized the fact that he wanted us to enjoy ourselves. And that we did.
The first thing I noticed was the lobby, which features large curved sofas and beautifully detailed mosaics on the walls and even on the floor.
Fresh fruit juices, varied fruits, breads and jams were available buffet style and presented a good opportunity for us to mingle and get to know one another before the planned schedule.
Refreshed, it was time to unpack and explore my room. Spacious, clean, light, airy and comfortably furnished, The VIP room was more than satisfactory, complete with complimentary fruit and wine, as well as luxury spa products. And Big Brother
addicts can relax, there is a plasma TV in every room. A major plus was the large balcony from where I could enjoy the spectacular sea view. In all, there are 223 rooms in the hotel, including the Presidential Suite.
We were then taken on a tour of the hotel by its designer Andreas Neudham, who explained the main themes, which combine the vast desert, the Edom Mountains and the blue sea.
After a little nap, it was time to slip into the hotel’s white robe and slippers and head down to the luxury spa for some soothing Dead Sea treatments. The Turkish-style decorated spa boasts a heated Dead Sea water pool, Jacuzzi, wet and dry saunas and individual sulfur baths. Adjacent is a stateof- the-art fitness center.
A range of massage and body therapies is available, including special treatments for couples. An impressive feature is that each treatment room has a computer system that allows each guest to choose the music he/she loves and the scent of the oils with which he/she will be treated.
Although I thought the cost of the treatments was rather high, many of the other participants remarked that they were lower than at other hotels in the area. The hotel was full, but the spa never felt crowded.
Dedicated hours exclusively for spa club guests is probably the reason.
After the spa treatments, it was time to check out the large outdoor fresh-water pool area, complete with snack bar. In additionto the lovely pool grounds, the hotel has its own private beach area, which includes a wooden walkway out into the Dead Sea, as well as several umbrellas in the water.
After a wonderfully relaxing afternoon, we were treated to a delicious buffet dinner at the hotel’s La Primavera restaurant. Run by acclaimed chef Shalom Kadosh, the dining room was not full or noisy, there were no lines at the various stations, and the serving platters and chafing dishes were refilled on a regular basis, meaning that the food was always fresh and hot.
Some of the many other features the hotel offers are a library with two free Internet stations, yoga, a beauty salon, state-of-theart conference facilities, as well as music in the lobby.
Ultimately, the beauty of such a midweek breather is that you can do whatever you feel like doing. You can participate in the seminars or not, go to the spa, work out, sunbathe with a good book, swim in the outdoor pool or float in the Dead Sea. You can be as busy or as lazy as you like. The writer was a guest of the hotel.Neveh Zohar Hotel Compound, Reservations (03) 511-0050. Hotel (08) 659-1591. www.herods.co.il/herods_deadsea
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