As a regular visitor to the Dead Sea for some much-needed sanity, rejuvenation, and relaxation from tempestuous daily life, the experience there over the years has been consistently enjoyable.
While taking an overnight break at an Ein Bokek Dead Sea resort area hotel is never going to pass unnoticed in the monthly bank statement, anybody willing to part with a tidy sum will expect good value for their hard-earned shekels or bucks.
The main selling points of all Dead Sea hotels are their location, the legendary body of water that lies a short walk from all of them, and the largely serene and therapeutic properties the mineral-rich area has to offer.
The recently renovated and re-branded Isrotel Noga is not the most conspicuous among the hotels at Ein Boqeq, but knowing that Isrotel can be relied upon to deliver high-quality hospitality, the Noga – in its former guise the Isrotel Ganim – had piqued my curiosity, although I had never ventured forth to check it out.
Being a bit hesitant, and given the understated external appearance of the hotel, the all-too-familiar adage “don’t judge a book by its cover” certainly held true in this case.
The hotel received massive upgrades
When the hotel reopened as the rebranded Noga following a two-year NIS 25 million renovation and upgrade of all its 203 guest rooms, the offer to check out the hotel was a welcome opportunity.
Bright designs, serenity, and calm: Named in Hebrew for Venus, which after the moon, is the brightest object in the night sky, the name Noga was chosen to reflect its light and modern design by architect Ari Sheltiel.
The hotel is located across the road from the Dead Sea’s main public beach and lies just a short walk from the new indoor mall so that even when the outdoor temperature is almost as searing as it is on Venus, you can still make it there, no sweat.
What strikes you first upon arrival in the hotel is the serenity in the lobby area. Guests are greeted with a stand of naturally flavored water jugs and a complimentary ice cream bar with a free choice of toppings.
When I arrived with my partner at the lobby to wait for our room, I was immediately impressed with the amount of comfortable, custom-styled furniture in the elongated hall that offers a panoramic view of the hotel pool and the Dead Sea. This soothing and roomy experience set the tone for our stay.
On the floors, the corridors are modern and lined with fresh carpet and all the rooms face east toward the pool and the sea. Bereft of balconies, the only way to take in the vista is to peer through your room window, although the hotel management says that plans have been submitted to add balconies to the rooms.
Despite that limitation, the reveal of the revamped rooms certainly did not disappoint. Furnishings are all bright and individually styled, and the big and comfortable bed and designer tiled flooring create a boutique hotel ambiance. Although the hotel is rated at four stars, it deserves an even higher grading for the rooms.
An innovative piece of furniture specially designed for the placement of suitcases, with drawers below, was a welcome eye-catcher to help us quickly settle in. The room was big enough for a desk, a couch, and a table and the shower room was spotless and amply spacious.
After unpacking, the first stop was the spa. The two indoor pools using Dead Sea water pumped in from across the road and warmed to a comfortable temperature were empty or sparsely occupied. It was the same for the adjoining whirlpools.
Venturing to the adjacent outdoor swimming pool, we found the area amply decked out with chairs, sun loungers, and soft beds, ideal for some more R&R. The area was notably quiet with no loud music blaring to spoil the serene ambiance.
A massage booked in advance with the spa did not disappoint. Notably, the hotel employs refugees from Ukraine, and my partner reported that she felt she was (literally) in good hands for the treatment she received from a masseuse who fled war-torn Kherson and had to abandon her profession as a medical doctor.
After working up an appetite by doing very little except re-charging the batteries (more about real, electrical ones in a moment), the dinner buffet exceeded expectations with a large and varied offering including premium varieties of fish and meat, all undoubtedly at five-star standard.
Breakfast the following (weekday) morning afforded an opportunity for full fare with coffee and the omelet bar. All was tasty, but the buffet and dining area was more crowded than we had anticipated – better to come down for an early breakfast.
The Noga has its own supervised outdoor parking lot, not something to be sniffed at in an area where the Tamar Regional Council’s municipal officers are very swift to issue tickets to unwitting drivers who have failed to pay the mandatory parking tariff.
The hotel’s lot has a small number of spaces with charging points for electric vehicles and anybody traveling in an electric vehicle to the area would be foolish to ignore the option of reserving a spot for overnight charging to ensure you don’t run out of juice on the way back home. With the resort a fair distance from the nearest towns, it’s a good idea to charge up with enough vehicle range to get to your destination without fear of grinding to a halt on the way.
Combining a relaxing, uncrowded atmosphere and top-notch bedrooms, the Isrotel Noga is a hidden gem in the Dead Sea that I would definitely return to and recommend to others.
The writer was a guest of the Isrotel Noga hotel.