Best of both worlds

Amirei Hagalil, a boutique spa hotel in Upper Galilee, combines the advantages of both a fancy 'tzimmer' and a country-style hotel.

Amirei Hagalil 224.88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Amirei Hagalil 224.88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
When planning a weekend getaway, be it romantic or with the whole family in tow, the Galilee is the first place that comes to mind. This picturesque northern region is dotted with hundreds of tzimmerim (country lodges). Typically shaped as Swiss wooden cabins furnished with king-size beds, bigger-than-your-bedroom Jacuzzis and other elements to complete a romantic escape, these little cabins usually offer ambiance and beautiful surroundings. As both Galilee and the Golan lack major chain hotels and motels, the B&B industry of the region is rapidly growing, turning agricultural plots that used to boast avocados, mangos and olives into stylish love nests that provide not only a room to sleep in, but a place where owners treat you as if you're their favorite family guest. But while they may be wonderful, their price tag is often hefty, and you can't always enjoy the facilities found at hotels such as room service, Internet access or laundry. Amirei Hagalil, a boutique spa hotel located next to Moshav Amirim in Upper Galilee, combines the advantages of both a fancy tzimmer and a country-style hotel. Originally built as a Turkish khan, the stone house went through a major reconstruction a few years back to become an elegant 17-room hotel, eight of which are suites. A short path leading from the driveway to the spacious lobby passes through a beautifully landscaped garden with all types of herbs and colorful flowers. An old olive tree forms the centerpiece of an entrance hall furnished with comfortable armchairs, which make a cozy sitting area next to the reception desk. At the other side of the hall is the establishment's modern spa where guest can choose from a variety of body treatments. An inviting coffee corner with yummy cookies located next to the back garden exit makes a pleasant place to chat with other guests and enjoy a breath of fresh air. If you're the type who prefers on-line chatting, or just can't let go of your laptop, wireless Internet is available throughout the hotel. All bedrooms have a large sitting area with beautiful furnishings, double Jacuzzi, and a private balcony overlooking the Kinneret, the Golan Heights and Lower Galilee. The rooms also have a kitchenette equipped with refrigerator, microwave oven and kettle. But you don't need to get the ready-made meals out. The establishment boasts a fine kosher restaurant, Gili, where guests can enjoy rich breakfasts offering a wide variety of dishes including fresh fruits, salads, bread, marmalades and homemade quiches and pies. The gourmet restaurant also features an attractive evening menu. Gili, the new chef of six months, dishes up some of his creations in which he combines seasonal vegetables with delicately cooked meat and fish. (Even on Friday night, the food here rises to the challenge of reheating.) Dinners at Gili are not included in the price, but for NIS 250 per couple, this is a four-course meal (including wine) not to be missed. The attentive staff wants you to have a good time and will make your stay an enjoyable one. They can tell you about places to visit in the area, special events, or even help you find a minyan at the shul in Amirim which is within walking distance. A "relaxation & pampering" day at Amirei Hagalil costs NIS 300 per person and includes breakfast at the hotel's restaurant, free use of all the spa facilities - Jacuzzi, sauna, rest area, hot and cold drinks at the refreshment area, plus a 50 minute spa treatment. The writer was a guest of Amirei Hagalil.