When people think of traveling to Israel, they imagine roughing it in the desert, waiting for the famous Israeli Egged bus, and eating lots of falafel and shwarma. Those days are over. Sure, you cans still go to Israel, stay in a hostel, float around a kibbutz, and use walking as your basic method of transportation. But the Israel of today is full of cutting edge technology, innovative, creative cuisine and some seriously swanky shopping. Planning a trip to Israel, and want to do it in style? We have picked 3 places to Stay, 3 fabulous restaurants, and 3 activities for the discerning traveler.
- Beresheet Hotel – You won’t find a view like the one from one of the fabulous suites at the Beresheet hotel anywhere else in the world. Perched on the edge of the Ramon Crater, the largest erosion crater on earth, the vista is extraordinary. The towering cliffs and stark surroundings are unique on the planet. The hotel itself is almost a part of the desert landscape – albeit a luxurious part. To really make an entrance on your arrival: Beresheet offers a helicopter service from Ben Gurion Airport that will take you to the hotel via an aerial tour of the Negev Desert.
- Mitzpe Hayamim – If you want to vacation in a totally different way, Mitzpe Hayamim, located right near the ancient northern city of Safed, is a luxury hotel, spa and organic farm all rolled into one. You can indulge in some primo spa treatments and then have a meal that was sourced from the 37 acres of organic farm that is part of this hotel. The chef prepares food based on what is fresh in the garden that day. Dairy products come from the farm’s free range pastures and are harvested naturally, giving you an experience that is great for the mind and also the body.
- Market House – With an altogether different vibe, the Market House boutique hotel is in Tel Aviv – the cool part. Market House is not located directly on the Med, like some of the fantastic beach hotels, but right in the middle of the dynamic Jaffa neighborhood. This hotel puts you right next to the bustling markets and winding alleyways of a vibrant middle eastern city. You are definitely not in Kansas anymore. Oh – and it’s also right near the beach, because after all, this is Tel Aviv. The staff is top rated – as is the happy hour.
- Liliyot – On Dafna Street in Tel Aviv, Liliyot sits, waiting to serve their guests true Mediterranean cuisine. Meaning it’s fresh, colorful and most of all – delicious. Liliyot makes food that is almost homemade – if your mother was a top rated middle eastern chef – and cranks it up a notch or twelve.
- Blue Sky – World famous chef Meir Adoni launched Blue Sky atop the Carlton Hotel. Diners look out at the blue mediterranean on one side and the Tel Aviv sky-line on the other. The chef cuisine offers light meals with fabulous cocktails or a full-on dinner experience accompanied by superb wines. The menu at Blue Sky changes seasonally.
- Eucalyptus – It used to be that Tel Aviv was the place in Israel for fine dining. No more. Located in the heart of Jerusalem, Eucalyptus serves up a fantastic meal with a bit of a twist. Chef Moshe Basson creates traditional Jerusalem fare with a focus on foods found in the bible. Something that will intrigue any visitor to Israel. Chef Moshe will likely stop by your table during the meal and you can ask him about the biblical connection to whatever incredible food you are eating off the menu. The combination of location – just outside the Old City walls – atmosphere, and upscale biblical fare, foster an even deeper connection to the land and its heritage.
- Private Jeep Tour – Whatever it was that piqued your interest about Israel, you can tour the country in an exclusive, luxurious vehicle with a private tour guide who will customize your tour. Do you want to explore the Christian sites? The Jewish ones? Or are you more of a rappel down a mountain, hike through a stream, and have some drinks waiting for you on ice when you finish? It’s all here in Israel.
- Private Winery tour – Forget Napa. Israel has over 300 wineries. Israeli wines compete on an international stage and have won the most prestigious wine awards out there. Israel has all different kinds of terroir and the wines from each region reflect the diversity of Israeli topography. A customized wine tour will take your from a large winery and vineyard where you can do a tasting and pairing while gazing out at the hills of the Galilee. After that, you can head on over to a small, family owned, boutique winery that nevertheless makes wicked good, award winning, wine.
- Yacht Charters in Eilat – There is a reason why Europeans flock to the shores of Eilat. The weather is fabulous, the beach is incredible, and the coral is unique in the world, attracting divers from all over. Don’t want to sit with the crowds? You can charter a private luxury yacht of any size to enjoy the blue waters and the hot mediterranean sun in style.
Although they didn’t make it to our list, there are so many more places to see and experience in the Holy Land. Israel is full of endless possibilities. It’s full of meaning, it’s beautiful, It’s diverse, it’s people are creative and ever changing. To plan your own itemized trip visit ExploreIsrael.com for insider recommendations and great package deals.