The Vert hotel chain recently held its second Wellness Festival at the Vert Lagoon Hotel in Netanya, which included three days of health classes and workshops, performances by leading musicians, fair of local artists and creators.
The festival that was produced by Sorento Health and Wellness is a celebration for the body and soul. The third festival will take place next year at the Vert Dead Sea Hotel and is worth looking forward to.
The festival performances showcased top artists Marina Maximilian, Alma Zohar and Nelly Tagar. The wellness workshops offered balancing body and mind, yoga classes, Pilates, sports, creative writing and more.
Among the festival facilitators were health-and-fitness guru Ira Dolfin; queen of Pilates Lea Schenirer; actor Shai Avivi who guided acting and relationship workshops; and Dana Berger who conducted circular breathing and intuitive writing sessions. All in all, there were more than 50 workshops in three complexes with some of the best facilitators and trainers in Israel. In addition, the hotel’s spa complex offered a special treatment menu for festival guests.
Sharon Alon, CEO of Africa Israel Hotels, owners of the Vert, Crowne Plaza and Indigo brands, explained that the Vert hotel chain was established three years ago “as a new brand of the Africa Israel Hotels.” The meaning of the word Vert is “green” in French, a name she said was chosen “out of an aspiration to create a brand that seeks sustainability, a topic that is very near and dear to my heart.”
The Vert wellness festival, which is taking place for the second year, “is based on a combination of fitness, nutrition and some treats also for the soul. The event has become a tradition and we are happy about the impressive response.”
The wellness festival was like a holiday camp for adults, an opportunity to set daily troubles aside and surrender oneself to 72 hours of retreat for body and soul.
Various types of activities
In addition, it was an opportunity to experience different types of activities. For example, it was our first time doing Nia, passive stretching, Wim Hof ice bath and various methods of yoga. The number and variety of exercises, workshops and classes was outstanding. At any given time, there were at least three activities – plus a few additional ones each day. These included lectures, classes and workshops, performances and parties with a DJ. And of course, all the hotel facilities were at our disposal.
Full of anticipation, we arrived at the Vert Lagoon Hotel in Netanya on Thursday late afternoon. A healthy welcome awaited us with fresh fruit and dates. In a second we forgot all the hardships of the day and entered a state of relaxation.
The hotel overlooks the magical shores of the Mediterranean and its design corresponds to the environment using elegant brown and blue colors. Its 15 floors house 272 suites and rooms with balconies overlooking the sea. On the fourth floor, there is a beautiful semi-Olympic infinity pool with a waterfall, a children’s pool and a wooden sunbathing deck overlooking the blue Mediterranean.
The hotel’s spa spans two floors and includes a Turkish bath, a wet and dry sauna, a fully equipped gym and several changing rooms.
Even before checking in, we deliberated between a Buddhism workshop, Ashtanga yoga, a circular breathing workshop, or intuitive writing. The program is so rich and the quality so high that choosing between the activities was difficult.
After we checked in, we started with the Buddhism workshop with Gita. She talked about the conflict between the brain and the heart and gave us tools to let our thoughts pass. She taught us how to listen to them and analyze why we react the way we do and how to deal with any unpleasant feelings involved, to restore balance between the two to become at peace with ourselves. At the end, everyone chose a note that contained a sentence for life to take along with us.
The next class I chose was Nia – an intuitive movement to the rhythm of music that helps to release negative energies and summon positive ones. It was exhilarating!
In between the workshops, we enjoyed a concert by Maximilian, one of my favorite singers. Thereafter we had a short lunch break. The meals served in the hotel restaurant are buffet style with uncompromising emphases on quantity and quality. The selection of food was huge, with lots of healthy options, a real culinary celebration of colors and flavors, with fresh fish and fine meats from local produce; everything we ate was delicious.
AFTER THE show and dinner we gathered again, this time for a passive stretching workshop that included deep tissue massage with Naga Weiss. This was a relaxing class that released all the muscles, useless after attending several activities in the afternoon. In the class, we used a yoga cube and hard balls for a strong and deep massage from head to toe. It came to a close with meditation to the sound of music, which was a perfect end to the day.
On Friday, we started with an invigorating Power yoga class to energize ourselves, which helped get the blood flowing and wake us up for the start of a long day full of activities. Then, we continued to Avivi’s lecture, “Crazy in a Suit” in which he talks about how to overcome fear while standing in front of an audience.
From there we made our way to Ilan Heitner’s lecture on “How to summon inspiration into our lives” which gave practical advice on courage and how to change life for the better. In the lecture, Ilan shared insights that we all empathized with; subsequently, we participated in writing activities that gave us a good understanding of the subject.
The highlight was Dolfin’s class – a powerful HIT class that combined strength and endurance exercises, with regular work and rest times. It was a pleasure. We talked with Ira after class and it was very exciting to meet her. Later in the afternoon, we enjoyed a concert by Zohar and in the evening a concert by Tager which was funny and fun to end the day with incredible energy.
Towards the end of the festival, we joined the Wim Hof workshop – the new trend of immersion in an ice bath. We went there with some concerns that calmed down quite quickly. We started with half an hour of breathing practices to put our body in a parasympathetic state of relaxation that assists the exposure to the expected cold. This by itself was an unusual sensation. Then, came the moment of immersion that we prepared for – we dipped in the frozen bath filled with ice cubes for two minutes. During the two entire minutes we surrendered to the experience. The feeling after dipping was unique and inexplicable – we felt refreshed and serene. Along with that came the sense of achievement, the understanding that nothing can defeat us – that we are capable of anything.
As the festival came to an end we digested all the experiences. It had been a weekend packed with fun and unique experiences that we will take with us.
We will certainly come back for more, with the next Wellness Festival taking place at the Vert Dead Sea Hotel in March 2024.
For more information https://www.afi-hotels.co.il/ The author was a guest of the very Wellness Festival.