Dead Sea: The best season to reach the lowest place in the world

Just before Pesach and the congestion in hotels, B & Bs and tourist sites, many Israelis want to take a break from life and vacation in our tiny country. The last two years have been difficult for the world of tourism, but despite the uncertainty during the Corona, quite a few new initiatives have emerged from brave tourists and investors.

So after the sleepy Corona period, which unfortunately still refuses to end, the Dead Sea Hotel Strip has come to life again – and this time with the opening of the new hotel of the Nakash Group – “Herbert Samuel Hood of the Dead Sea”. This is the second hotel launched by the group at the Dead Sea, after about two years ago it opened the Milos Hotel inspired by the Greek holiday.

The new hotel, located near the Milos and also sitting on a beautiful strip of beach, was built on the foundations of the mythical Hood Hotel. The hotel has 211 rooms and suites, most with balconies overlooking the sea or the mountainous landscape that sets the area apart. Some rooms also have an adjoining pool, so for those looking for a bit of intimacy within the hotel experience – this is a wonderful solution for them.

The hotel has an excellent spa complex branded as “Herbert Samuel Spa”. The complex includes 16 treatment rooms, a dry sauna, a wet sauna, a hammam and a gym. In the complex you will also find a Dead Sea pool, a sulfur pool and a Jacuzzi. A few steps from the spa you will also find an outdoor pool, a bar and a restaurant. In addition, the hotel has a spacious dining room, which partially overlooks the Dead Sea and serves three buffet meals a day. If you are arriving towards sunset, or getting up in the morning, do not give up the tables overlooking the beautiful view.

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The new Herbert Samuel Hotel opened on the ruins of the old Hood Hotel. “Hood”, which was part of the local landscape, was opened sometime in 1998 in the northern Ein Bokek area and right on the shoreline. Over the past two years, the old hotel has undergone a real revolution (with an investment of NIS 50 million), and the old rooms have been replaced by modern and designed rooms with all the innovative facilities and luxury that the rest of the chain’s hotels transmit.

Apart from the treatment complex, the pool and the Dead Sea of ​​course, near the hotel there is access to a lovely promenade that passes through magical corners, leads to seating areas overlooking the landscape and also reaches a beautiful bay with a salt path on which you can walk right into the sea and see some of the area’s famous salt mushrooms.

If you fell in love with the mushrooms next to the hotel, about 500 meters south of the Ein Bokek public beach, a real surprise awaits you – 15 salt mushrooms that you can reach by walking in the water. The mushrooms, which have created a kind of path that is 400 meters long, reach about a meter above the bottom and can already be seen from the shore.

The first mushroom is about 30 meters from the shore, and to get there you will need to walk for about five minutes in water that reaches about the waist line.
Prices: From NIS 1,000 per night for a couple for accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis, and NIS 1,380 per night for a couple on a half-board basis.

What else are you doing in the area?
The Dead Sea is for many a place for endless relaxation and a transition from the dining room to the pool and the sea. But we are not here for a total stroll, and if you are already in the area – you should also take the time to take a trip on one of the recommended routes. And now that the weather is so comfortable for hiking in the southern region – I always recommend Ein Bokek – a beautiful nature reserve that combines everything the Dead Sea region has to offer: spectacular views, flowing water, shady corners and quite a few vantage points. Ein Bokek is actually part of a nature reserve in the Judean Desert, where the Bokek River flows.

Ein Bokek (Photo: Gazit Agassi Nature and Parks Authority)

The route of the stream is easy to walk, and it is suitable for the whole family – and at the end it leads to Ein Bokek – a magical oasis, which manages to excite me every time again. On the route you will enjoy a flowing stream, pools and waterfalls, rock steps and more.

Nahal Bokek is 15 kilometers long, making it the shortest stream in the Judean Desert. Despite its length, Nahal Bokek has actually created a canyon on the Replica Cliff where there is a large waterfall that descends to wading pools. In the mall also springs Ein Bokek – a spectacular spring that is visited by a variety of local animals.

In Ein Bokek there is a short route and a long route (suitable for the well-traveled).
How to get there: In Wise – Ein Bokek.

The Trail of the Scrolls
At the foot of the replica cliff you will find the Trail of the Scrolls – a relatively short route but full of surprises and observations of spectacular views and hidden caves where archaeologists have found the hidden scrolls. The trail publishes the story of the scrolls of the Judean Desert, and is suitable for the whole family. You can start the route, which is 1.6 kilometers long, at Kibbutz Kalia.

From there, with the help of the path marked in green, you can walk towards the national park. If you want to shorten the road, you can start the route near the grove in the kibbutz’s cemetery – there is a blue path that later connects with the green path and reaches Qumran National Park. If it is not short enough for you, and you do not feel like climbing at all, you can enter Qumran National Park directly, and from there descend for the scrolls.

The Scroll Trail (Photo: Dan Farkash - Nature and Parks Authority)The Scroll Trail (Photo: Dan Farkash – Nature and Parks Authority)

During the tour of the trail you will stop at observation sheds from where you will see some of the caves that are on the replica cliff. In these caves were found the famous scrolls – a total of 25 scrolls, some of which are amazingly preserved. Further on, the path will lead you to a wadi where you will find a stone bench overlooking the landscape. Here hikers usually choose to stop for a photo shoot and a break.

After a slight stop you can return to walking. Further along the trail you will come to a split road that leads to the drilling monument – a statue that looks like a drilling rig and was placed to tell the story of the water drilling that took place at the site even before the establishment of the state. The monument is also an observation point that points to the cave where the whole story of the excavations in the area began – and where the first jars and scrolls were found.

From here you can sign the visit for the scrolls. If you remain intrigued, you can learn more about the interesting discoveries found in the caves by visiting Qumran National Park. How to get there: Passengers on Route 90 (north of the Dead Sea) turn west at Kalia Junction. Continue on the road towards the kibbutz – and follow the signs outside Kalia.


Source: Maariv.co.il – תיירות by www.maariv.co.il.

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