Chilling in the desert heat in the Negev

Being the Negev, surrounded by the desert, I thought that I would find the heat unbearable but fortunately the way the hotel is built, there are plenty of shaded areas with a cool breeze blowing.

 THE WORLD-FAMOUS Ramon Crater. (photo credit: SHIRA REMENY)
THE WORLD-FAMOUS Ramon Crater.
(photo credit: SHIRA REMENY)

If you fancy a couple of days away and you are looking for a relaxing vacation in the tranquil atmosphere of the Negev desert, then look no further than Ramon Suites in Mitzpe Ramon. Situated just a short walk from the famous Ramon Crater, this hotel is the perfect place for families or couples to come and enjoy the serene surroundings located near the hotel.

As a family, we usually spend time visiting the north of the country but when I had the chance to come and stay in Ramon Suites, I thought it would be a good opportunity to visit a different side of Israel with the family.

Check-in time

Check-in time was 3 p.m. and we were welcomed by a polite staff member who took our details and showed us to our room just a small walk from the reception area. As the hotel is a relatively modest size everything is easily accessible from the rooms, whether you want to go to the dining area, take a dip in the indoor pool or just sit in the reception area, you don’t have far to go and you won’t get lost.

We were given a family suit which consists of a main living area, kitchenette, bathroom, separate toilet and two bedrooms. Our eldest daughter wasn’t able to come with us but had she come, there was still plenty of space in the suit for her to stay. It was a nice touch to find a big bowl of fruit and a bottle of wine waiting for us as we entered the room.

The bedrooms are of a modest size and comfortable, with a TV in the living area and one in the main bedroom. The bathroom, although relatively small, is clean and well maintained with the usual selection of toiletries.

 ALTHOUGH NOT as big as other hotel breakfasts, there was plenty of food to keep us full for the two-hour ride home. (credit: RONNIE REMENY) ALTHOUGH NOT as big as other hotel breakfasts, there was plenty of food to keep us full for the two-hour ride home. (credit: RONNIE REMENY)

As we were only visiting for the day we decided that we were just going to take advantage of what the hotel had to offer and enjoy the scenic surroundings. Those who have more time on their hands and are staying for a longer visit can be more adventurous as there are more activities to do in the area, such as jeep tours, desert tours, abseiling, extreme sports, as well as trips to Bedouin encampments and more. There are leaflets at the reception with information and if you have any questions the laid-back staff are more than happy to help.

After settling in and getting the kids off their phones we headed to the indoor pool which was very conveniently located just down the few steps from our room. The pool is not huge but big enough to enjoy a swim or just to cool down and have fun with the family. The best part was that for most of the time that we were in the pool it was just us. After an hour of racing each other and throwing a ball around, another couple of families came to enjoy the pool. Luckily, we didn’t feel crowded like in some other hotels we have stayed in the past.

AFTER EXERTING ourselves with our water activities we relaxed outside on the deck chairs. Being the Negev, surrounded by the desert, I thought that I would find the heat unbearable but fortunately the way the hotel is built, there are plenty of shaded areas with a cool breeze blowing.

In the late afternoon when the weather cooled down and there was still light outside, we decided that it was the best time to go and check out the famous Ramon crater. Although the hotel is situated in a residential area, it is only a two-minute walk before you are overlooking the magnificent spectacle of the crater. There are footpaths and lookout posts along the way. The atmosphere is incredibly peaceful as there is a serene quiet and very few people in the area.

Once we marveled at the crater and its surroundings we headed to the center to find something to eat. Although the hotel wasn’t serving the guests dinner in the evening there are a number of eateries only a short distance away. Again, ask the hotel staff for any advice on where to find a good place to eat.

Back to the hotel

On the way back to the hotel we passed a Chabad house which is built to replicate the home of the Rebbe in Crown Heights. The building is made with red bricks as apposed to all the other buildings made from local white stone. As we walked past all the old apartment buildings, on the corner of the street we were suddenly transported into a New York state of mind. The Chabad house is also just two minutes away from the hotel.

 THE RAMON Suites pool. (credit: MARINA DUDAKO) THE RAMON Suites pool. (credit: MARINA DUDAKO)

Following our walk and supper, we were all tired and decided to chill for the rest of the night at our accommodations. In the morning, we made our way to the dining area where we enjoyed an appetizing breakfast consisting of salads, cheeses, pastries, hummus, eggs, coffee and cereals. Although not as big as other hotel breakfasts, there was plenty of food to keep us full for the two-hour ride home.

In case someone that needs wheelchair access is interested in a visit, the Smart Hotels Network Ramon Suites Hotel is fully accessible. The hotel has accessible rooms including a chair lift at the hotel pool and appropriate access to the dining room. Make sure you mention beforehand that you will need one of the accessible rooms.

There are various suits and rooms that can host couples or families with rates that vary between 600-1200 shekels per night including breakfast. Rates also vary depending on the season.

We all agreed that it was a pleasant and relaxing stay and we would definitely recommend it to anyone wanting a vacation in or around the Negev desert, whether you want to go on an adventurous trip or just to bask in the calming environment, Smart Hotels Network Ramon Suites is the hotel for you.

The writer was a guest of the hotel.