AT THE AGAMIM Hotel, there is no escaping the breathtaking view of the desert mountains that surround Eilat.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
If the idea of rolling out of bed straight into the pool sounds like the ideal getaway to you, you might want to check out Eilat’s recently-renovated Agamim Hotel.
The trademark “by the water” rooms offer guests poolside shaded terraces, meaning that they don’t have to leave their rooms to enjoy the lagoon-like pool. They can either lounge on their sunbed – a luxurious toweled and cushioned double bed – dangle their legs in the pool, take a dip in their almost-private portion of the pool, or swim out to the main area.
The on-the-water rooms are light, airy, pleasant and classy, featuring king-size bed and VIP extras including a Nespresso coffee machine, bottled mineral water in the room, bathrobes, flip flops in a straw bag, a daily newspaper and vouchers for the Jasper 08 bar.
The luxury of being poolside naturally comes with a price tag to match, ranging from starting from NIS 1,818 per night mid-week and NIS 1,878 on the weekend, including breakfast.
If you don’t mind walking to the pool, the prices for the other rooms – one of which I stayed in – are a little more modest starting from NIS 1,138 mid-week and NIS 1,198 on the weekend, including breakfast. These rooms have the same aesthetic design and all come with a sofa to relax on and smart 55-inch TVs.
All rooms have private balconies with a view of the pool, which is decorated with palm trees and there is of course, no escaping the breathtaking view of the desert mountains that surround Eilat.
If you get down to the pool in time, you can grab the same indulgent sunbeds found at the terraces of the poolside rooms. A boat bar makes its way around the pool, offering a convenient option for those who like to enjoy a drink or two in the pool.
If you’d like some respite from the sun, you can get some fabulous cocktails indoors at the Jasper 08 bar just opposite the lobby, a branch of the popular Jasper John’s bar in Tel Aviv. I went for the fruity Jasper Iced Tea – Tanqueray, cucumber, peach tea, pineapple, lemon and club soda (NIS 42). It was beautifully presented and delicious, but had such a strong kick that I couldn’t even finish it. The friendly bar staff poured it into a takeaway cup, adding fresh decorative garnishes, in case I got a second wind after leaving the bar.
Mealtimes are also a highlight at Agamim. At dinner, the buffet offered a wide spread of fish, meat, vegetables and sides. To my delight, there was also a clearly-marked vegan corner with a build-your-own Asian-style soup. At breakfast, there was an abundant stand of fresh vegetables, which are continuously chopped on the spot by staff, as well as bourekas, eggs-made-to-taste, fruit – although not so much of it fresh – pancakes and all the other plentiful options found at Israeli breakfast buffets.
At this meal there wasn’t a vegan corner, so I approached Ilan, the chef, who was chatting with another guest and asked if there were any other options other than the fruit and vegetables. He told me that their kitchen was fully stocked with an array of vegan products and he would make me whatever my heart desired. I opted for pancakes and he swiftly presented me with a stack of light, fluffy perfect pancakes which I drizzled with maple syrup. When I complimented him on them, contrasting them to my sub-par homemade attempts, he offered me tips to match his results.
The poolside cafe also catered to my dietary preferences; although the menu itself was rather simple, the cook custom-made a tasty salad with vegan cheese for me.
While the hotel primarily attracts young couples, there were plenty of families there during my stay. The hotel offers a play area for both children and youth, including a soft-play variety of computer games, XBox and Wii among others. There is also a small gym for fitness-conscious adults as well as a spa for some pampering.
I didn’t try out any of the latter facilities, but had a glorious time enjoying the pool, the luxurious sunbeds and the bar. I left Agamin feeling refreshed and relaxed after a break from the hustle and bustle of daily life in Tel Aviv – and there was no need to even leave the hotel. The writer was a guest of the hotel
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