Time Out: A place by the water

A stay at what looked like an ideal Moroccan-style resort near the Dead Sea left one family disappointed and angry.

August 19, 2012 14:44
2 minute read.
dead sea

dead sea. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

Picturesque sunsets over the Dead Sea, enjoyed during time spent in a well-appointed cabin a stone’s throw from the holiday village’s private beach, seems ideal.

The Moroccan-style Biankini in Siesta Holiday Village has an impressive website featuring enticing photographs and a computer model flyover of its extensive facilities. They certainly invest in marketing and do a good job. Delivering on what the website promises is where the problem lies.

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On a recent visit to Biankini, all that was missing from this enticing image was a staff (and an owner) that cared and a clean cabin – ours felt like it hadn’t had a good scouring in quite some time. Other problems included insufficient towels and pillows and a sheet that didn’t fit the soiled mattress. A sink that wasn’t semi-clogged, leaving a film of muck the entire stay, would have been nice.

The disappointment began when we arrived at our room to find only two towels and three pillows for a family of five. Moreover, despite the fact that we said we were bringing a baby with us, there was no crib in the room. We reported this to the reception desk. The person at the desk wrote down our concerns and assured us they would be addressed.

While we were at the desk, we asked for towels for the pool and were told that they don’t provide them – we were supposed to bring them from home.

Back in the room, still no crib.

They dutifully wrote this fact down a second time. Only later did we learn that they don’t even have cribs. It meant an uncomfortable night with the baby sleeping with us in the master bed.

Once in bed, we discovered that the sheet barely covered the mattress. This complaint was received by the owner Dina Dagan herself. “Not now,” was her response, but she dutifully wrote it down to get to later when she wasn’t too busy. I later asked another worker for a sheet, who kindly agreed to bring one.

No sheet ever arrived.

Biankini village’s location at the northern tip of the Dead Sea, just past Lido Junction, conveniently close to Jerusalem, is a huge plus.

The village offers a large freshwater swimming pool, our room had a great shower, and I loved the Moroccan food (kosher) in the restaurant – where the owner holds court while smoking cigarettes as small dogs run about.

Breakfasts – which we enjoyed on the delightful giant covered terrace overlooking the Dead Sea – were also good, except for the coffee (all they had was powdered instant coffee rather than at least granulated, never mind cappuccino). But breakfast was served only after 9 a.m., which is late for hungry children.

Biankini village offers a range of accommodation options, from camping and Moroccan-style tents to wooden bed-and-breakfast cabins, for a range of prices.

Guests are expected to wear a colored bracelet (like at an amusement park), each color identifying a different type of accommodation.

I wish the level of service had been the distinguishing mark.

With all the problems we encountered – and there were more than the ones mentioned here – my group felt we were roughing it.

Next time around, I’ll drive the extra distance to Ein Bokek and give Biankini a miss.

Note: Several attempts to get a response from the management of the Biankini Village were not answered.

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