Winter by the sea

Drop anchor in the beautiful harbor of Nahsholim.

By
February 23, 2016 16:59
3 minute read.
Nahsholim Hotel

Nahsholim Holiday Village Kibbutz Hotel. (photo credit: PR)

 
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Situated on the Mediterranean coast at the foot of the southern end of the Carmel Mountain range, Nahsholim Holiday Village Kibbutz Hotel offers a great escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. You don’t need a summer day to enjoy a walk along the Nahsholim beach, which is just as beautiful in winter as it during the hot season. Of course, there are other benefits to staying at this hotel, such as its proximity to the nature reserve, the Mizgaga Museum and an archeological excavation site.

Owned by Kibbutz Nahsholim, the hotel offers 157 rooms. These include double rooms, family rooms, country lodgings and boutique rooms. The 24 luxurious boutique rooms were designed by architects Yehuda and Yoel Feigin, who are renowned for their design of the Waldorf Astoria in Jerusalem and the Beresheet Hotel in Mitzpe Ramon.

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The hotel is within easy reach of the beach – the kibbutz has its own beach in a lovely semi-private bay. The bay is next to Dor Beach, which is open to the public (for an entrance fee).

Decorated with Murano glass and aquatic furnishings, the elegant boutique rooms come equipped with all the amenities one could ask for. The beds are a bit of heaven that you can sink into and wonder where the time went. I particularly liked the colors and decor of the bathroom. Soothing and spa-like, the bathroom includes a private outdoor shower built on a bed of pebbles.

The cozy design of the room and the attention to detail make you feel like you’re in your own beach house. There are lawns and lounge chairs outside each room on a small private patio, and 50 meters from one’s room the white sandy beach and gentle blue waters beckon. The combination of the view and the sea air made us feel more relaxed than we’d been in months.

One of the highlights of our stay was a tour with archeologist Kurt Raveh, a local kibbutznik who leads guests through the nature reserve above the beach. Founded 3,500 years ago, Dor was once the maritime capital of the Carmel coast. The best harbor between Jaffa and Acre, it was colonized repeatedly from the Sea Peoples and King Solomon, the Assyrians and Phoenicians and Greeks to the Romans and others, right down to the Crusaders. The hike up to the ruins is short, but it involves climbing up a steep hill. In between amusing stories and historical tidbits about Dor, our guide brought us to a breathtaking lookout point from which we got a glimpse of the Blue Grotto, as well as the ancient aqueducts.

Nearby, you can explore the old glass factory, a failed 19th-century enterprise of Baron Rothschild that now houses the fascinating Mizgaga nautical museum. The museum showcases the history of the factory, glassworks in general and a lovely collection of historical artifacts such as figurines, amulets, vases, weapons and ritual objects found in the area, both on land and at sea.

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Of particular interest is the bronze cannon that Napoleon’s vanquished troops dumped into the sea during their retreat from Acre to Egypt in 1799. The museum also houses temporary art exhibitions by students of the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design.

After a wonderfully relaxing afternoon, we were treated to a delicious buffet dinner (normally for catering purposes only) at the hotel restaurant. The restaurant has a beautiful view of the beach upon which the hotel is situated. Obviously sitting on the patio during summer is best, but the tables inside all have ocean views, so you really can’t go wrong. Run by chef Ofer Ben-Gigi, the restaurant offers flavorful dishes such as pea and mushroom risotto, polenta, fish shwarma, mushroom ravioli and an array of salads and cheeses.

We stumbled back to our room, happy and content. Sleeping to the sounds of the waves crashing on the rocks and the pitter-patter of rain was a beautiful experience.

Our breakfast (NIS 85 for adults; NIS 65 for children; open to the public) the next morning was excellent. The food was plentiful and consisted of a selection of fresh vegetables, pickled fish, cheeses, breads, cereals, yogurt, preserved fruit and some fresh fruit, egg dishes, pasta dishes, tea, coffee and fruit drinks. Plus we had a wonderful view of the beach.

Nahsholim Holiday Village Kibbutz Hotel exceeded my expectations. This hidden gem is long on charm and comfort. All in all, it was a very memorable stay. We will definitely be going back for more.

The writer was a guest of the hotel.

For more information, visit www.nahsholim.co.il or call (04) 639-9533.

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