Haifa excitement

More and more boutique hotels are popping up, while veteran institutions are renovating and undergoing major face-lifts.

Kishon Park (photo credit: MEITAL SHARABI)
Kishon Park
(photo credit: MEITAL SHARABI)
In recent years, Israelis have begun rediscovering the charms of Haifa and its environs, and the area is rapidly becoming one of the most popular tourist destinations for romantic getaways in the middle of the week. More and more boutique hotels are popping up, while veteran institutions are renovating and undergoing major face-lifts.
Templers Boutique Hotel
One area that has attracted particular attention recently is Haifa’s Germany Colony, in which a number of modern boutique hotels have taken over historic buildings built by the Templers. The Templers Boutique Hotel, for example, was built on the remains of a structure from the 1870s. This hotel is quite popular among couples looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of the daily grind.
Its newly renovated wing features stones that were plucked from the original structure, and the guest rooms were designed in the original Templers style.
Each room was crafted with a unique design – some of the rooms are art deco, while others are Provence or retro styles.
The quaint hotel is small and the staff are pleasant and extremely helpful. While the hotel does not offer its guests breakfast, it does provide them with vouchers to eat in the numerous restaurants nearby, some of which overlook the gorgeous Bahá’í gardens. And if you are staying in this area, I highly recommend taking a tour of the Bahá’í gardens, which are incredibly interesting.
Location: 36 Ben-Gurion Boulevard, Haifa.
Details: (04) 629-7777.
The Duke – Irish Bar & Kitchen
After walking around the German Colony, we decided to take our car and drive a little bit out of the city. Our first stop was at The Duke, which functions during the day as a pub-style restaurant and as a bar in the evening. The Duke opened its doors in 2003 and is considered one of the most popular pubs in northern Israel. Located at the top of Mount Carmel, along one of its major streets (Moriah), The Duke opens daily at noon and offers a wider-than-usual menu for a pubstyle restaurant The Duke is full of Irish pub-style décor, such as wooden furnishings, dark colors and, of course, offers a wide array of beers (13 of which are on tap), cocktails and wine.
The pub was recently renovated with new lighting fixtures, luxurious leather chairs, quiet corners for private get-togethers, modern bathrooms and a high ceiling.
We spent a few hours there, eating fabulous salads, tasting the delicious cocktails and enjoying the great music, which wasn’t too loud, as many other bars are.
In other words, we were easily able to have long, fun conversations. We were especially impressed by the wide range of ages of the clientele.
Location: 107 Moriah Boulevard, Haifa.
Details: (04) 834-7282.
Kishon Park
Our next stop was the Kishon Park, which surrounds the Kishon River, one of the region’s largest rivers, which flows into the Mediterranean Sea. Although this river has been mentioned in the media in recent years in less than positive circumstances, it is still an important river, and the city has gone to great lengths to create the Kishon Park, which is a wonderful place to take a stroll or go for a picnic.
The park is located next to the fishermen’s wharf, and it’s fun to stop and watch the veteran fishermen hoping to hook their catches of the day.
Directions: Drive on Route 22 toward Haifa’s bayside suburbs. Exit at the Mevo Carmel intersection toward Yigael Yadin. Then, turn left at the first traffic light, and left again at the second light, toward the wharf. After passing through the gate, turn left and park in the dirt parking lot at the entrance of the park.
If you’re traveling with children over the age of three, iJump, a trampoline park, is the perfect place to visit. The park includes areas for free jumping, distance jumping, a climbing wall, tightrope walking, and basketball.
The park (there are five branches, with two more coming soon) is located in the 220-square-meter BIG Krayot shopping center, which offers many stores to shop at, once you’re all done jumping.
If you’re feeling young at heart, you can join your progeny on the trampolines. Just realize that although it looks easy, many adults find out very quickly that their bodies are not as strong and agile as they once were.
Location: 8 Hasolel Street, Haifa’s bayside suburbs.
Details: (03) 552-2022.
Burger Salon
After all this activity, you’re probably starving. But you’re in luck because, just 80 meters from there, you’ll find Burger Salon, a real cowboy joint.
Run by father-and-son duo Roey and Amir Postelnek, the place looks like an authentic American diner. They opened the restaurant in Kiryat Ata two years ago as part of the Limousine Franchise, which boasts nine restaurants in Israel.
The franchise’s flagship burger is the 220-gram Wild Burger. Roey says that their burgers are 100% beef from cows that are raised at the Limousine Farm in the Jezreel Valley.
Location: Burger Salon in Big Krayot.
Details: 1-700-705-715.
Translated by Hannah Hochner.