Saturday, August 13, 2011

My favourite Zimmers

Zimmer is the word Israelis use for a guesthouse/cabin/B&B type of accommodation. There is a lot of it in Israel, and most Zimmers have jacuzzis. There must have been a very good jacuzzi salesperson here that made jacuzzis the standard for Zimmers. Very odd, but I'm not complaining. Who doesn't like bubbling baths!

I fortunately have a very romantic husband who has taken me to a few Zimmers in Israel. Most of them have been amazing, as you will see.

Kadita - quirky cabins on a hill
2.5 hours from Tel Aviv, near Rosh Pina

When I was visiting Israel for the first time, Amit and I spent a night at Kadita at the end of July. Kadita is perched on a hill overlooking pine forests near Rosh Pina, just north of the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee). Each cabin has unique features, and the cabin we stayed in had a porch with a hammock, a record player and records, and a loft bedroom (and a jacuzzi of course). There are lots of windows for the lovely view, and a little kitchen for preparing food. There is also a small swimming pool for the guests.

We visited again when my parents visited in October, this time to stay in a large cabin with two bedrooms and two bathrooms. This cabin has an amazing view of the forest, with huge windows. We spent the evening chatting on the balcony, and playing the classic Israeli card game Taki (which is actually almost identical to Uno).

I'd recommend Kadita for a relaxing weekend away. It is not fancy, but it is quirky, as the cabins are built from recycled materials, and are a tad ramshackled, but that adds to their charm. It is close to the forests where you can go hiking.

Kadita - cute cabins, forest views, swimming pool

Eretz Bereshit - romance in the forest
(website only in Hebrew, but the owners have great English)
Matat, 3 hours north of Tel Aviv

When we arrived at Eretz Bereshit, the owner said that we'd better get our things from the car before we went down the 100 uneven steps, because we wouldn't want to come back up afterwards. And he was so right. After descending the 100 steps we arrived at the most romantic, secluded cabin I had ever experienced, built right into the forest, surrounded by trees, with only a glimpse of the hills in the distance (and Lebanon). I felt like I was in another country - it could have been in the hills behind Byron Bay in Australia. The log cabin had a lovely big veranda with a hammock and table and chairs, an outdoor jacuzzi, and an indoor jacuzzi, a kitchen with a loaf of freshly baked bread, fresh herbs in a jar to use for your tea, a log fire, and so many gorgeous touches I went around taking photos of the pot plants and china figurines. I was completely enchanted by the place.

Eretz Bereshit - Super romantic wood cabins built in the trees. The owners are on the right of this picture, lovely people!

Hemdatia - organic luxury
Ilania, not far from Nazareth, and the Kinneret, 2 hours from Tel Aviv.

After our wedding we wanted to spend the weekend with both sets of parents not too far from Nazareth and Beit Sha'an, places that we were yet to visit. We did a search on a Zimmer website and watched video for Hemdatia and were hooked. We just had to stay there - and we weren't disappointed. It is quite expensive, but it is pure luxury, and because the place is built on ecological principles, it is luxury you can feel good about.

The rooms are built where the old stables were located, with the original bricks and mud finishes. In the courtyard is a lovely stone pool for dipping and cooling off. There is a large jacuzzi in another well appointed room. There is even a tree house in an old olive tree out the back, where you can climb up and look at the view of the village.

The beds are extremely comfortable, there is air conditioning and a wood fired heater in each cabin, and they are all thoughtfully presented.

But probably the most amazing thing about this place is the divine breakfast. The owner and a helper were in the kitchen from 6am preparing breakfast for us a 9.30am, which was made only from produce from their organic farm. There were amazing salads, burekas, omelettes, goats cheese (from their goats), herb tea, antipasti, bread... so much delicious, organic, healthy food! Far more than we could eat.

Around the rooms there are vegetables and herbs growing. And each room has the choice of both a regular toilet and a composting toilet. The owners say that even if someone has no interest in ecology and sustainability, just by seeing vegetables growing and what a composting toilet looks like will be an education for them in someway.

It is the kind of place you never want to leave...

Hemdatia - sustainable luxury....