Leaving the crowded streets, noise, pollution and traffic of Tel Aviv behind, it was with great expectations and enthusiasm that I set off with my wife for a weekday mini-vacation at the Ritz-Carlton in Herzliya.The first thing we noticed about the hotel is its superb location. It’s right on the ocean and the views are pretty astonishing.The lobby is beautiful, and while there were dozens of people milling around, the noise level was still very low. Definitely a peaceful place to nosh and relax for an hour or two after a busy day at the beach.When we arrived, the clerk at the reception desk was very friendly and quickly checked us in.In all, there are 115 guest rooms and 82 suites in the hotel. With room rates starting at around $700 per night, this is a place to indulge and enjoy.We had the pleasure of experiencing one of the executive suites. When we first entered, I was blown away with how spacious (70 sq.m.), immaculate and tastefully luxurious it was.I’m not usually a fan of modernist decor, but in this case the design was clean but not cold. Large windows revealed spectacular views of the sea and marina promenade. And the suite was outfitted with central air conditioning, a king-size bed, matching bathrobes and slippers, plenty of fluffy white towels and soaps. There was also a separate living room/dining area equipped with a large couch, flat-screen TV, mini-bar, a kettle with tea and coffee, espresso machine and even a built-in microwave.The suite also featured a small balcony that was big enough to sit and enjoy a bottle of wine (thoughtfully provided) while gazing out at the sea.If you’re looking to check out from the stresses of your daily life and get in some much-needed R&R, I strongly suggest you make an early appointment for a treatment – any treatment – at the on-site spa.After settling into our room, we donned the provided bathrobes and slippers and headed down to the lair of magic fingers.Upon arrival at the spa, one gets the feeling one is about to be addressed as “sir” and politely requested to confirm the number of guests at one’s table before being whisked inside by the maitre d’ into a high-class restaurant.The spa features an impressive selection of massages and treatments. One of its rooms is specifically designed for couples, with two beds side by side.There is also a dry sauna/steam room, a Hammam (Turkish steam bath) and a relaxation lounge.My wife and I were met by two masseuses who led us to the treatment rooms, where we were left to slip out of our robes and lie face down on the massage tables. As I closed my eyes and let the soothing music fill my ears, my masseuse began gently massaging my shoulders. She was very professional and clearly very experienced. I was very impressed with how thorough and deep the massage was with just the right amount of gentleness that left me feeling like I had gotten an authentic treatment, and not just a “feel nice” back rub. I felt pampered and completely relaxed. It was one of the best massages I’ve ever received.There is a clean and spacious shower room adjacent to the treatment rooms, where you can wash off the massage oil and change back into your clothes.Satisfied yet famished, we decided to turn in our robes and slippers for more formal attire and teeter downstairs to take our evening meal at the hotel’s restaurant.Located in the lobby, Herbert Samuel takes kosher dining to a whole new level. It’s easy to understand why locals and tourists alike have taken to the place, given the variety and excellence of its offerings.The restaurant itself is beautiful, and I loved the modern decor. The interior design masterfully combines a long and narrow space with airy partitions to give diners a sense of privacy. And once seated, the first thing you’re likely to notice is that the Herzliya Marina is in view from every table.An especially nice touch is the accessible view of chef Mor Cohen and his sous chefs creating their culinary magic in a very large open kitchen that feels like a natural extension of the restaurant.The service was first class. We were immediately greeted by our waiter, who animatedly talked us through the wine list and the menu.After a slew of delicious appetizers, including the tomato salad, which is considered one of Herbert Samuel’s signature dishes, our waiter recommended his two personal favorites – the potato gnocchi and lamb chops. Both were done to perfection, tender and full of flavor, with the side dishes an excellent accompaniment.After the meal, we decided to call it a night. I‘m very picky about mattresses and was pleasantly surprised to discover that this mattress was a perfect balance of firm and feathery. The sheets were what you would expect, crisp and soft, and of course, piles of fluffy pillows.In the morning, we headed downstairs for the buffet breakfast, which featured a variety of tasty offerings and came in such copious amounts, my wife and I couldn’t finish everything – and we’re both hearty eaters. There were separate areas for omelets and eggs, salads, smoked fish, cheese, cereals and pastries. Plus we had a fantastic view of the marina from where we sat.All in all, we had a wonderful experience. This hotel is truly a home away from home. Every single employee was super personable, nice and genuinely wanted to help make our stay the best it possibly could be. We can’t wait to stay here again.The writer was a guest of the Ritz-Carlton. For more information, visit www.ritzcarlton.com or call (09) 373-5555.