Hidden charm in Gedera

A hotel in Gedera offers a relaxing and lovely weekend retreat.

 THE NEWLY renovated 24-room Lear Sense Boutique Hotel opened in 2019. (photo credit: Courtesy)
THE NEWLY renovated 24-room Lear Sense Boutique Hotel opened in 2019.
(photo credit: Courtesy)

Gedera? You’re going to a hotel in Gedera? asked my friends.

Gedera? Who goes on vacation to Gedera? asked my husband when I told him I had a surprise for him.

Well, I do, and the hotel is lovely with amazing service. Here is just one example.

In the morning, my husband fired up his computer, and I went out to the rooftop pool to enjoy a warm morning. I was by myself except for the bartender at the rooftop bar and it was way too early for a cocktail, even if I was on vacation.

I chose a chaise longue and opened my book – David Grossman’s new novel More Than I Love My Life. In seconds I looked up to see the bartender holding a glass of water with ice and lemon and a straw. He handed it to me with a smile and said, “This way you won’t have to get up when you’re thirsty.”

 THE NEWLY renovated 24-room Lear Sense Boutique Hotel opened in 2019. (credit: Courtesy) THE NEWLY renovated 24-room Lear Sense Boutique Hotel opened in 2019. (credit: Courtesy)

That gesture says a lot about how the hotel treats its guests and it’s that kind of service that makes Lear Sense special.

Gedera, by the way, is a small town of about 30,000 about 10 km. south of Rehovot. It is a perfectly nice place with wide streets and single-family homes with red roofs, but it’s not a tourist destination. Yet it is the home of the newly renovated 24-room Lear Sense Boutique Hotel, which opened in 2019.

The rooms are very large. My corner room had its own sauna and jacuzzi out on the porch, which was a real luxury. The bathroom had huge very fluffy towels and robes, as well as rubber flip-flops and high-end toiletries.

The Shaya Spa, right next to the rooftop pool, is run by Inbar Vaknin and has four treatment rooms. They offer all kinds of treatments, including my favorite, a hot stone massage. Coral, my masseuse, gave me an excellent massage.

Afterwards there is a relaxation area with tea and green apples and comfortable chaises longues with a view over Gedera. Vaknin says the spa attracts clients from throughout the area and on weekends it is necessary to reserve in advance.

Then it came time for dinner at the Aberto restaurant, which is in the hotel, although guests from outside are also welcome. The restaurant is not kosher, although most of the menu is fish and vegetarian. For appetizers I chose the artichoke in a warm yogurt sauce (NIS 52), and my husband chose the sashimi tuna (NIS 76). All of the fish is delivered fresh each day and both appetizers were delicious.

For the main course, I chose the sea bream fillet with homemade gnocchi (NIS 145) and my husband the whole sea bream with roasted potatoes and vegetables (NIS 132). Both fish were cooked perfectly and we finished every bite.

We had a bit of a disagreement over dessert. We wanted to share one, and my husband is a chocoholic. Our server Sivan made a strong case for the bread pudding, and I was in her corner. In the end, of course, my husband went along with my choice. Sivan brought both desserts and while both were good, the bread pudding was outstanding.

Breakfast in the morning is a combination of a menu and a buffet. The buffet, while relatively small compared with some other hotels, emphasized quality over quantity. There was a basket of fresh breads on each table, which paired well with the smoked salmon and goat cheeses offered. From the menu I chose the French toast, served with mascarpone cheese, and my husband went for the croque madame, a slice of brioche with a fried egg and mushrooms. Both were delicious.

All too soon, it was time to leave and head back to Jerusalem. So yes, if anyone offers you a vacation in Gedera, don’t hesitate for a minute.

The writer was a guest of the hotel.