The Best Luxury Hotels in Israel
Are you planning a vacation in Israel? If so, the country is waiting for you! After two long, exhausting years, people are desperate to travel abroad again and many of us are so worn down from the pandemic that we’re ready to splash some serious cash about, ensuring that we get a holiday that ticks all of our individual boxes. And, honestly, there’s never been a better time to treat yourself - let’s face it, you deserve it.
The Jaffa, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel. Photo from www.marriott.com
Treat Yourself - You Deserve It…
Luckily, Israel can oblige in this sense, that being because in the last decade it’s raised its ‘accommodation game’ substantially. Today, there are luxury hotels scattered across the country, all able to satisfy the most discerning traveller’s needs. Whether you want a city break (think historic Jerusalem and hipster Tel Aviv), a peaceful retreat (the tranquil Sea of Galilee and the empty, silent Negev desert) or cocktails and dance clubs at the Red Sea, you’re spoilt for choice. That’s because, in the last decade, Israel’s raised its game, with a series of sophisticated and stylish luxury hotels.
Why Stay at a Luxury Hotel in Israel?
We all need a vacation periodically - to rest our body and our mind, not to mention have a little fun. And whilst some people think that staying in a luxury hotel is a waste of money, we’d disagree…because it’s going to give you certain amenities and benefits that really make your time away that much more special, in terms of comfort, facilities and service.
Luxury hotels mean top-end mattresses, soft bed linen and fluffy pillows, not to mention 24-7 housekeeping services. They’re going above and beyond in their facilities - whether it’s infinity pools, high-end toiletries, afternoon teas, champagne and chocolate in your room on arrival or even a butler service. Within them are fine-dining restaurants, cocktail bars and coffee lounges designed with your enjoyment in mind.
And, of course, luxury hotels in Israel always put an emphasis on world-class service - from the General Manager to the bellboy, everyone is working to ensure your expectations are not just met but actually surpassed.
Today, we’re looking at luxury hotels in Israel that really have the ‘wow’ factor. And whilst we want to stress here that our opinions are entirely subjective, the ones we’re recommending here all come highly recommended - by our friends, colleagues and TripAdvisor! If you don’t believe us, book a private day tour in Israel and then add it on as a treat to yourself. After all, you only live once! Here we go…
The Scots Hotel Tiberias outside view, Sea of Galilee, Israel. Photo from www.scotshotels.com
1. The Inbal Hotel, Jerusalem
The Inbal is a luxury luxury hotel in Jerusalem, located in the heart of the city, a stone’s throw from the famous Montefiore Windmill and within walking distance of the Old City, and Emek Refaim (the German Colony). Catering to a wide variety of clients - tourists, business travellers, families and couples looking for a romantic getaway - Inbal offers its guests sophisticated elegance, combined with comfort and warmth - all provided by their knowledgeable staff.
With 335 beautifully-designed rooms (some with balconies and views overlooking the Old City), you can choose between deluxe doubles to spacious suites and some accommodations have connecting doors. The decor is decidedly minimalist, spacious and airy, with all the amenities you’d expect including a coffee machine, bathrobes, quality toiletries and little extras like chocolates left on your pillow.
Facilities include a fitness centre and huge pool, a top-level spa, artisan and boutique stores, executive lounge, concierge service and free underground parking. Their ‘Kids Club’ offers activities and workshops for toddlers and young children throughout the day, making this hotel an ideal choice for young families.
In terms of cuisine, the breakfast buffet is plentiful, with cheeses, yoghurts, eggs and freshly-baked bread and muffins. (You can actually sit in their garden, whilst eating). Inbal also offers a kosher meat fine dining experience at their ‘02’ restaurant, under the watchful eye of chef Nimrod Norman. With ribeye minute steaks, lamb shank and gourmet hamburgers, carnivores will be in their element. For vegetarians, there is ‘The Lounge’ serving salads, pizza and pasta, salmon and some local dishes besides. Our tip: try their baklava and black coffee if you need an afternoon ‘pick me up’ - it’s delectable.
The Inbal Hotel, Jerusalem. Photo from www.inbalhotel.com
2. The Jaffa Hotel, Tel Aviv-Jaffa
The Jaffa is housed in a historic building, which was once both a French hospital and monastery, and its design is nothing short of a triumph. Combining stained glass windows, vaulted arches and remains of a 12th century-era wall with contemporary furniture, eclectic light fittings and Damien Hirst art, its location couldn’t be better - the beautiful Jaffa port, charming artists quarter and Levantine flea market are all just a stone’s throw away.
The Jaffa opened in 2018 and offers 120 rooms and suites, some within the historic structure and others within the modern new wing. The look is ‘high ceilings and neutral colours, and the restful effect is evident. Nice touches include bespoke mirrors, coffee capsule machines and backgammon boards.
The Jaffa Hotel offers a beautiful spa but for those who prefer the outside, there’s a shady courtyard and a restful pool, with a cocktail bar that sets up at midday. In terms of dining options, it’s less Middle Eastern and more North American/Mediterranean. As well as a classic buffet breakfast, there’s ‘Golda’s Deli’, where you can enjoy bagels with lox and tuna melts.
Their restaurant ‘Don Camillo’ (which is not kosher) is a tier above most Italian restaurants in Tel Aviv, which is reflected in the price, but the food is delicious - we’d recommend the Dover sole or wood-grilled lamb chops. With its personable staff and enviable location (close to the beach and a short cab ride from the heart of Tel Aviv), no wonder it’s taken the neighbourhood by storm!
The swimming pool in Jaffa, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel. Photo from www.marriott.com
3. The Queen of Sheba, Eilat
The Hilton Queen Of Sheba Hotel is an upmarket, luxury hotel located in Eilat. Just a two-minute walk to the beach and the glorious Red Sea, it boasts 480 rooms, a number of restaurants, a spa, gym, outdoor pool and - unbelievably - a shopping mall! Located on the north shore hotel area, close to the promenade it is, by far and away, one of the resort’s most comfortable and stylish hotels.
The decor of the hotel is very grand - domes and turrets with a wing that alone has more than 200 rooms. The high ceiling lobby boasts a mosaic floor, depicting all kinds of biblical animals. And if you like cats, you’ll be in your element because images of them are all over the hotel. The rooms are of a good size, many with marble bathrooms and balconies facing the sea. Some even have jacuzzis. As you ascend or descend in their see-through gold-edged elevators, enjoy the view of the atrium.
Breakfast is something visitors at the hotel rave about - they serve a wide selection of both sweet and savoury dishes, as well as an array of cheeses and high-quality coffee. ‘Ebony’ - the pool restaurant and bar - serves grilled meats, salads, shakes and cocktails. ‘Makeda’ offers a wide variety of international buffet dinners. The Chicago Grill services both appetisers and evening meals and on the 12th floor, Yakimon is for sushi lovers. And if you’re a night owl, you can grab light snacks at Axum, the hotel’s late-night bar.
For fun, you can take advantage of their fitness centre, spa, pool table, games room (with ping pong), pool, sauna and - of course - a very indulgent spa. Staying at the hotel also gives you access to the Neviot beach next door, with complimentary beach chairs and towels.
Queen of Sheba Eilat Hotel, Israel. Photo from www.queenofshebaeilat.com-israel.com
4. Six Senses Shaharut, Negev Desert
Situated on a dramatic cliff overlooking the Arava valley in the Negev desert, Six Senses Shaharut salutes and honours its wilderness setting. Just an hour’s drive from Eilat and two hours by car from the Dead Sea, it offers traditional desert hospitality in out-of-the-ordinary comfort.
The design of this luxury desert hotel was inspired by the Nabateans, nomads who lived here 2,000 years ago and were also responsible for building the ancient city of Petra. Six Senses was built in such a way that it might ‘blend’ into the surrounding desert landscape and the materials used reflect this - stone, wood, copper and teak all feature in the furnishings (which incidentally are all artisan).
The accommodation consists of 60 suites and villas, all wonderfully designed in a rustic style and either situated around a communal pool or boasting their own private pool (the three-bedroomed Private Reserve comes not just with its own pool but also a pizza oven and chef service!). Bedroom amenities are thoughtful - complimentary snacks, a yoga mat, walking sticks and bath products made especially for the hotel, using camel and goat milk.
The fine dining experience at this luxury desert hotel means that food is both refined and healthy, with many seasonal and organic products used in the dishes (purchased from local farmers). Drawing on the culinary traditions of the Middle East and the Mediterranean, diners have a number of options. Midian offers the very best of traditional Israeli cuisine, Edom View offers mezes, the poolside grill services both butcher’s cuts and homemade ice cream and the Jamillah bar is the perfect place to enjoy a cocktail at sunset.
Six Senses Shaharut also offers a number of original activities and experiences, including sunrise yoga, hikes, star gazing outings, 4x4 off-road jeep tours and camel treks. The emphasis is on the guest’s experience being integrated with nature - entertainment is often in the form of local musicians, at the on-site amphitheatre. And since the setting here is so tranquil, it’s no surprise that this luxury hotel also offers a Wellness Programme, including retreats, a hammam and aerial yoga. Our verdict - simplicity and luxury combined!
Six Senses Shaharut, Israel Resort & Luxury Spa in Negev Desert. Photo from www.sixsenses.com
5. The Scots Hotel, Sea of Galilee
Situated in Tiberias and overlooking both the peaceful, beautiful Sea of Galilee (‘the Kinneret’ in Hebrew) and the Golan Heights, Scots Hotel is situated in a beautifully-preserved old building, formerly known as the Scots Mission Hospital. Today it welcomes visitors with plenty of ‘Highland Hospitality’, from the arrival drinks it serves to live music performances in their whisky-themed bar.
This luxury hotel and spa boasts sixteen renovated rooms, all constructed out of basalt rock and with high ceilings. The decor is traditional but all the extras you need are in your room, including high-end toiletries, plasma tv, ‘coffee corner’ with a chaise lounge and a Nespresso machine. The rooms are suitable just for two, which is why this hotel is frequented more by couples and older people, than families with young children.
The Scots Hotel oozes refinement and grandeur and whilst just a stone’s throw from the promenade, has a large and lush, three-tiered garden, giving visitors a chance to enjoy hours of tranquillity. It boasts a gym, pool and excellent spa with a range of ‘wellness’ treatments and their famed Scottish-themed Ceilidh bar serves 80 different kinds of whisky!
For many visitors, the highlight of the stay is the cuisine. The Scots Hotel serves sumptuous gourmet buffets, both at breakfast and dinner. The Torrance restaurant draws on gourmet traditions from around the globe with a hint of Galilee flavour. Dishes are made with local produce, using herbs from the hotel garden and fruits, vegetables, preserves and wines all from local farms. The hotel also offers culinary workshops, where chefs from across the world come to show off their skills and impart their skills and knowledge.
One thing to note is that the Scots Hotel does not operate a kosher kitchen (which is somewhat uncommon in top Israeli hotels) so expect an array of dishes both in the morning and evening that include dairy products, fresh fish and seafood and prime meat cuts. The desserts are also fabulous so leave room for the end of your meal! Our tip: if you feel like being alone, retreat to the library/reading room upstairs. It’s a fine place to settle down with a good book…
We hope this article has intrigued and inspired you to pamper yourself and make a trip to one of the above. Finally, if you book a private tour or an Israel tour package with Bein Harim and wish to add some of these luxury hotels in Israel to it, for an overnight stay, don't hesitate to contact us.
The Scots Hotel Tiberias, Sea of Galilee, Israel. Photo from www.scotshotels.com