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Packing it in with a 36-hour jaunt up North

CM 04/09/2021

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Even a short vacation can hit the spot of taking a break from the routine. My husband and I recently had a chance for a quick northern getaway, specifically to the Sea Life Hotel in Nahariya, and we jumped at the chance.
It was at the height of the summer heatwave, and I really wanted a hike in water. I originally thought of Majrasa, near Kiryat Shmona, but saw that it was polluted as it frequently is. I kept seeing Facebook posts for a place called Ein Hardalit, not far from Nahariya, so without knowing much about it, we set off.
The posts on Tripping in Israel recommended arriving early as it can get very crowded, but as we were coming directly from Jerusalem, we didn’t arrive until about 11 am. It was crowded, but in true Israeli fashion we parked on the street like everyone else.

Once we reached the river, we joined a crowd that included Israeli soldiers on a “yom kef,” lots of families with young children, Arab couples and a few haredim walking in the very cold water. The large number of people spread out and it didn’t feel too crowded.

 THE GROTTOS of Rosh Hanikra. (credit: MENDY HECHTMAN/FLASH90) THE GROTTOS of Rosh Hanikra. (credit: MENDY HECHTMAN/FLASH90)

We were grateful for our water shoes as some of the rocks on the floor of the riverbed were slippery. Most of the time the water was below our knees, although a few times it reached my chest. After about an hour, we reached a nice pool. The river continued but we chose to head back.
We stayed at the lovely Sea Life Hotel in Nahariya, one of five new or renovated Jacob Hotels that have opened since 2016. The Sea Life is on the beach just north of Nahariya and opened in March, 2021 at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.
The hotel is lovely, with suites instead of rooms. Each suite has a sitting room (which can double as a bedroom for kids, who are only allowed at the hotel during the summer) with a refrigerator and an espresso machine, a bedroom with an insanely comfortable bed and a balcony with a view of either the pool or the sea. In our case, we were given a corner room that had two porches, so if my husband and I had an argument we would each have a porch to retreat to! There were bathrobes and slippers in the closet, a perk I always enjoy.
“For such a small boutique hotel with just 64 rooms we have all the facilities of a resort,” Ohad Kelmpert, the chief marketing officer for Jacob Hotels, said in an interview. “We have two kinds of buildings – the large building with five floors (where I stayed) and small buildings with ground floor rooms that have access to the garden. It feels like Greece and many of our guests like it.”
The outdoor pool is quite large and has a nice snack bar. The lobby is full of comfortable leather chairs and couches that are perfect for curling up with a good book.
The hotel does not offer dinner, but gives you a list of nearby restaurants. We tried a kosher grill restaurant called 300 gram in nearby Moshav Betzet. The food was good, but it was crowded and the staff was overwhelmed. Welcome to Israel in late August.
The breakfast at the Sea Life Hotel the next morning was very good. A hotel breakfast is one thing we know how to do well in Israel, and this was no exception. There was an “omelet woman” as well as a selection of very good goat cheeses, one of my weaknesses. There were also a series of cooked dishes like a stuffed giant pumpkin and pasta.
I refrained from stuffing myself because right after breakfast I was invited to the spa for a treatment. The walls of the spa are made of a special salt imported from Romania. In addition, there is a salt room where you can sit and just breathe in the salt. It is supposed to help with difficult breathing, especially for someone with asthma.
The massage with hot oil was professional and left me wanting more, which is always the sign of a good massage.
After sadly checking out, we drove to the grottos at Rosh Hanikra, where I haven’t visited for at least 10 years, arriving around 11:30 am. Once again it was crowded, but the wait to get on a cable car was only about a half hour. Although it was very hot and humid, I had forgotten how beautiful these grottos were. We rented an audio guide which had well-done explanations of how these grottos were created.
We spent about an hour at the site, before embarking on the trip back to Jerusalem. Altogether, we were gone just 36 hours. But we came back relaxed, and already planning our next trip.
The writer was a guest of the hotel.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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