The Ben Ami Spa was a very welcome unexpected break for two tired moms.
(photo credit: JERUSALEM POST)
24 hours without hearing the word Ima, or rather Immmmaaaaaa!!!! as it is commonly enunciated by the average Israeli young teen, always on the lookout for attention and maternal services. One day without the scent of fresh schnitzel and stale socks strewn around, without the sound of their favorite rappers blasting from their rooms, without the drudgery that we succumb to because we love them so much. This is all we – two weary mothers of four highly active youngsters – wanted for ourselves.
Is it too much to ask, we wondered as we farmed them out to friends and relations on a school night. Will they manage, we worried as we sped north on the way to Ben Ami. Ah... probably, we concluded with a smile as the gates of Ben Ami Spa opened and a tiny secluded bit of paradise beckoned us to come in and forget all about the joys and tribulations of motherhood.
Nestled inside the sleepy Moshav Ben- Ami just outside Nahariya, Ben Ami Spa is anything but the wooden hut we have learned to call a tzimmer
. Here you won’t find the faux farm atmosphere so commonly marketed as the “authentic and pastoral rural Galilee experience.”
A large, secluded enclosure that offers both an outdoor and indoor heated swimming pool, a well-appointed and brandnew spa, a chef’s restaurant and a brasserie, a hair salon and a beautician’s clinic – in the history of Galilean tourism, this must be a novel and exceptional experience, and just what the weary mothers needed: A place you don’t have to leave to get lunch or dinner or your nails done. A place where comfort and pampering rule, and one is not compelled to go hiking or sightseeing to justify the long ride from Tel Aviv. In short, paradise.
And we knew for certain we had reached paradise when our suites opened their doors to us and made us smile. Ben Ami Spa is actually a tiny boutique hotel offering eight elegant, brand new suites fit for couples or a family of four, all located around a central dining area and a comfortable, large den.
The decor will remind you more of an uptown New York trendy hotel than of a cluster of tzimmers anywhere in Israel, and this was a welcome surprise: so were the suites themselves. Large and elegant down to the satin sheets and light duvets and espresso machines, welcoming with jugs of freshly squeezed orange and carrot juice, sinfully pampering with plates of fruit and crunchy cookies delivered from the brasserie. Everything here whispers to you. Relax. You are being taken care of. Enjoy.
Right outside the suites’ complex one can enjoy the indoor, heated swimming pool that is large enough to make you think you are actually swimming, when what you really do is float in the water and giggle happily. For a more vigorous aquatic activity, a short walk – and I mean short, about 50 paces away from the suites’ private back gardens – the outdoor swimming pool will welcome you, but since it was only 20 paces way from Ben Ami Chef Restaurant, we opted for dinner first.
A colorful array of starters – inventive antipasti and homemade bread, a beautiful and yummy plate of ceviche and glasses of the house wine made us happy enough to sample the main courses – a tender, juicy entrecôte and an oven-baked salmon fillet pleased both the carnivore and the piscatarian.
It was only when the fanciful, tiny jewels of petits fours and chocolate concoctions arrived that my friend realized the restaurant was kosher. Kashrut here is not an obstacle, but rather a welcome challenge to the chef.
And suddenly, it became too late for anything but a long, uninterrupted night’s sleep. Followed by a lavish breakfast delivered from the brasserie to the veranda. Followed by a vigorous but gentle massage for one of us and a welcome slumber in the morning sun for the other. And yes, we would have stayed another day, or week or eternity, were it not for the text messages that kept appearing on our screens: “Immmmmaaaaaaa! when are you coming home already?????? We miss u!!!!!!”
Soon, we texted, more relaxed and care free than we had been for months. Soon.The writer was a guest of the spa.