A green-white vacation at the Vert Dead Sea Hotel

The Vert Dead Sea is situated in the best settings around – right on the Ein Bokek beach.

 THE CONTRAST of white salt ‘mushrooms’ against the turquoise background of the Dead Sea creates an apocalyptic landscape.  (photo credit: TALY SHARON)
THE CONTRAST of white salt ‘mushrooms’ against the turquoise background of the Dead Sea creates an apocalyptic landscape.
(photo credit: TALY SHARON)

As the Dead Sea gets lower and lower, we found some new white salt attractions and a green initiative at the Vert Hotel. The Vert Hotels chain aims to be environmentally friendly by 2025. Meanwhile, it provides a way to enjoy a vacation without having to take the car, instead walking to nearby attractions created by the changes in the Dead Sea – the salt formations (mushrooms) and the Salt Path.

The Vert Dead Sea is situated in the best settings around – right on the Ein Bokek beach. While this may sound trivial, beach access for many of the Dead Sea hotels requires crossing a street. At the Vert, the beach is immediately accessible from the hotel grounds without the need even to descend a single stair! The beach is public (all are) but it is so well-kept that it feels like a private beach with sunshades, sunbeds and beach showers.

The hotel (formerly Crowne Plaza Dead Sea) has 304 renovated rooms with fabulous sea views. It’s worth investing and upgrading to a room on a high floor – as you go up – the view becomes breathtaking! We stayed in a very impressive suite, completely modern with all the pampering one can imagine, but all rooms and most of the hotel grounds went through a complete facelift recently and are up-to-date.

Vert means green

The name of the hotel chain – Vert, meaning “green,” comes from the emphasis on preserving the environment. It is a theme that is very relevant to the Dead Sea region. This includes reduced use of paper products by providing information and digital check-in processes, recycling, increased use of natural and biodegradable materials, reducing the use of plastic, and utilizing sunlight and saving energy. The chain’s aim is to be a completely environmentally friendly chain by 2025. 

 THE CONTRAST of white salt ‘mushrooms’ against the turquoise background of the Dead Sea creates an apocalyptic landscape. (credit: TALY SHARON) THE CONTRAST of white salt ‘mushrooms’ against the turquoise background of the Dead Sea creates an apocalyptic landscape. (credit: TALY SHARON)

Hotel facilities

The Vert has all the necessary facilities for an R&R – an adjacent beach, a seasonal swimming pool, an indoor-heated Dead Sea water pool, Jacuzzi, sulfur pools (for an additional fee), a small gym and, most importantly – professional therapists at the spa. It also offers activities and entertainment for the entire family, including a children’s club.

The seasonal swimming pool at the hotel is huge. It is a fresh water pool built in a circle around an island, thus, it does not feel crowded even when the hotel is full. It also has a square section with marked routes that allows for lap swimming. 

The spa is the only part of the hotel that has not yet been renovated; I was informed that it will be refurbished soon.

The selection of massages is interesting, and includes, in addition to Dead Sea mineral treatments, fruit, coffee, seaweed, chocolate and aloe vera treatments. Definitely intriguing.

I chose a one-hour combination massage that includes a Swedish massage, reflexology and hot stones. The massage therapist was professional and showed high expertise in reflexology and excellent use of the hot stones to release muscle tension.

The hotel has limited parking, but offers a shuttle to an additional parking lot. However, there’s plenty to do within walking distance, so unless you are planning distant trips – say goodbye to the car for the rest of the vacation!

Food

The hotel has several dining facilities: Rosemary restaurant, a lobby bar, a snack bar by the pool and a dairy business lounge. The meals are served buffet-style at the Rosemary; the food is varied and rich, and includes children’s, vegan and diet dishes. At dinner, I especially enjoyed the variety of raw food vegetable carpaccio dishes and my partner enjoyed a soft and tender roast. At breakfast, I was surprised by the outstanding variety of cheeses.

For those who have access to the business lounge, it serves salads, cheeses, pastas, desserts and hot and cold drinks including wine and beer during the day. Entrance to the lounge is free to guests staying at club rooms and suites. 

In the area

The Vert is located right on the Dead Sea promenade. The entry to the hotel from the promenade is available 24 hours a day using the room card via an automatic gate. The Dead Sea Mall and the famous 3D Dead Sea sign are approximately 200 meters from the hotel via the promenade.

Another attraction nearby is the Salt Path, about 1 km. north from the hotel. It is a walking path covered with white salt that goes east, directly into the Dead Sea. Because it is white, it creates a beautiful contrast with the surroundings and thus a very good place for a unique photo. If you go farther south from the hotel – you’ll hit the intriguing Dead Sea salt formations. 

Dead Sea salt ‘mushrooms’

The hotel area is in the southern part of the Dead Sea; in fact, it is located on the Dead Sea Works’ evaporation ponds. In terms of bathing, this is an advantage, because it is very calm, while the northern Dead Sea tends to be stormy. However, the minerals accumulate on the floors and surfaces of the evaporation ponds, which tend to be sharp. It also forms small islands of salt; in the local jargon they are called salt “mushrooms.” 

At the south end of Ein Bokek, after the last parking lot, there is an area where there are several such salt mushrooms right next to the beach. The contrast of white mushrooms against the turquoise background of the Dead Sea creates an apocalyptic landscape. This location has become very popular, and more and more people come here to take photos. Sometimes it is even crowded.

You can reach the mushroom area on foot from the hotel or drive there and park in the southernmost parking lot in Ein Bokek and walk a couple of minutes from there. Access to the salt formations is by walking in the water from the beach. The water goes up to the waist. You need shoes to walk there, otherwise the salt’s sharp pricks will hurt your feet. There is no fresh water service or showers there, so bring water to wash your face and for drinking.

Vert Dead Sea Hotel, Ein Bokek, vert-hotels.co.il, 03-539-0829.The writer was a guest of the hotel.