This was my first visit to Israel and I could have never dreamt of how wonderful our journey turned out to be as we made our way from Tel Aviv, Jaffa to Masada, Jerusalem The Dead Sea, Bethlehem, Jericho, Eilat, Wadi Rum, Jordan, Petra, Mizpe Ramon, then off to Mykonos, Santorini and last stop Athens. Yep…that’s a lot of locations in 21 days and it was action packed! First stop was the Jaffa hotel and what a perfect spot to recover from jet lag and kick off our travels. Welcome to the Jaffa Hotel. This blog post is the first of five and I’ve combined the Jaffa in old Jaffa and the Beresheet Hotel in Mizpe Ramon, two 5 star luxury properties surrounded by incredible history.
The Jaffa Hotel is part of Marriott’s Luxury Collection Hotels & Resorts. The property is the passion project of Aby Rosen, founder of the New York RFR Holding, the hotel and real estate company. His other hotels are 11 Howard, the Seagram Building, The Lever House and The Gramercy Park Hotel in New York and Miami. The Jaffa is his first hotel in Israel and it took a decade to restore this landmark 19th-century former French hospital and monastery. There are 127 rooms and 38 luxury apartments in a separate residential wing. Back in the day the Jaffa provided medical care free of charge, it closed in 1969 and was sold in 2006.
Located on the second floor is the chapel which is now the lounge- bar. It was a stunner to say the least.
Take a walk to the port, just five minutes from the Jaffa’s front door. You’ll find cute shops, mostly art galleries with works from local artist.
There are two restaurants; the Golda Delicatessen, an old school deli and the Don Camillo, delicious Italian. Jaffa is the hottest area in Tel Aviv, you have the very old mixed with today’s culture and it’s buzzing, let’s just say elegant and cool with lot’s of creativity, oh and the food… amazing.
Welcome to The Bersheet Hotel - In Mitzpe Ramon
This Bersheet Hotel was our last stop before leaving Israel. We drove from Eilat after returning from Petra to Mitze Ramon. It was around a two hour drive through a winding huge crater. Located in the Negev desert of southern Israel, it’s on the northern ridge at an elevation of 2,800 feet and overlooks the world largest erosion known as the Maktesh Ramon. It’s pretty magnificent when you enter the property located in the middle of nowhere. The view is out of this world. This luxury property is built directly into a cliff overlooking Israel’s Negev Desert. Built by Yehuda Feigin and his sons, they used natural rocks and stones from the local town of Mitzpe Ramon. When you’re walking the property it feels like you’re connected to the earths rhythm.
Beresheet Hotel opened in 2011 and covers approximately 12.5 acres with 111 private villas of one - or two stories. Thirty-nine of the ground floor rooms open to personal pools, the top floor rooms open to balconies with desert views , we had a view of the crater and a sky lite with stars above and beyond. Even though the days can be hot we were in light jackets after the sun set.
Soon as you drive up you’ll see wild Nubian ibex, and they’re harmless and happy to eat right out of your hand. Unfortunately they are increasingly considered extinct. Our stay was short, only one night before heading to Greece.
A view that dates back to over 200 million years and is the largest nature reserve in Israel. As you watch the sun set and the sky turns the most vibrant colors, we literally said to each other…where are we?? I would recommend another night or two to take it all in. *Not to be missed, the sunrise and sunset.
Next Stop - Jerusalem The Old City
Up next is Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Jericho.
Thank you for reading, enjoy the rest of your summer!