Vacations For Body And Soul
Tue, 11/23/2010
Special To The Jewish Week
Facial treatment at the Inbal Jerusalem Hotel spa.
Facial treatment at the Inbal Jerusalem Hotel spa.

Agrowing demand for
vacation activities that revitalize the body and stimulate the soul is spurring a revolution across Israel’s hotel and spa industry. While the Dead Sea continues to lure tourists to its natural wonders, hotel spas in the region and across Israel have tweaked their services to address the changing lifestyles of local and foreign tourists.

“Today, people are searching for vacations that include stimulating activities. Our guests actually prompted us to update our health-oriented services, so we designed a fully integrated health club, swimming pool and spa complex,” said Ran Bibi, manager of the Inbal Jerusalem Hotel’s Health Club & Spa. “Our guests want to work out their stress by doing something for their body and soul. The fact that tourists are attracted to Jerusalem’s spiritual energy acts as a magnet to our pampering spa packages, which include 20 different body and facial treatments.”

Ronit Copeland, a hotel marketing expert and consultant who helped conceptualize and develop upscale hotel spas in Eilat (Herod’s Vitalis) and Herzliya (Tamares Shizen), agreed. “Gone are the days when spa-goers and foreign tourists sought out standard ‘destination spas’ for mineral treatments, such as the Dead Sea region. Dead Sea hotels are obviously still a major attraction but today, there are hotels that offer an ‘urban’ or ‘day’ spa experience. These weren’t available a few years ago in Israel.

“Urban spas (such as the Inbal or Shizen) will highlight a spa, health club and fitness orientation, where there are pampering packages for both the body and face, using premium-branded cosmetics.” Day spas, Copeland said, are becoming popular in places like metro Tel Aviv, “where hotel guests might treat themselves to a quick treatment or massage and then indulge in shopping or dining at a great restaurant or bar. You’d be surprised how many foreign tourists are calling the hotels in advance to see what treatments they have to offer. The reasons for some visits to Israel have changed.”

Lior Haimovitz, general manager of the posh Daniel Dead Sea Hotel, agreed that local and foreign tourists are looking for more than just a quick dip in the mineral-laden waters. “Most of the American tourists come to our hotel for one or two days as part of an overall tour of Israel. We’ve discovered that they are looking to indulge themselves — whether it’s therapeutic mud baths for the men or high-quality cosmetics treatments for the ladies. People are looking to invest in order to feel and look healthy.”

What follows is an abridged list of hotel spas in Israel:

Jerusalem Inbal Hotel. In winter, couples can enjoy a one-hour treatment with ingredients based on aromatic candles made from cocoa beans and Shea butter. The spa treatment package also includes a foam bath, hot and cold beverages, as well as free entry to the wet/dry sauna, fitness room and heated indoor swimming pool. Facial treatments are highlighted by the use of Dead Sea mineral mud and premium cosmetics from Yonka of Paris. The hotel’s spa is the only facility in Israel that is certified by the International Spa Association. www.inbalhotel.com/chanukah-candles

Daniel Dead Sea Hotel. The five-star “resort spa” hotel has been completely remodeled and is the only hotel in the area that boasts an American-style bowling alley and Scottish pub. In addition, the spa and swimming pool area is spread over two floors. On the first floor, there is half-indoor and half-outdoor salt-water swimming pool, Turkish hamam (bath) and a sulfur pool. The second floor boasts 23 treatment rooms with a menu of personalized massages, as well as body peeling, mud baths and high-end cosmetic facials featuring products from American skin-care company, Dermologica. www.tamareshotels.co.il

Carmel Forest Spa Resort. Revered as the country’s ultimate spa resort, it is tucked away in a green forest on Mt. Carmel, near the city of Haifa. While there are dozens of pampering treatments to choose from, including an innovative facial yoga treatment, the resort’s staff also encourages guests to partake in their diet and nutrition workshops, which include choosing your own healthy gourmet cuisine. www.Isrotel.co.il

Herod’s Vitalis. The luxury-class “boutique spa hotel” is part of the Herod’s Castles complex in Eilat. The Vitalis, which only caters to adults, features a health club and gym, waterfall pools, saunas and Jacuzzis. The spa’s exclusive menu of treatments and exercises includes peach-based oil and milk baths, as well as hydrotherapy fitness. Meals are served in the Laurence restaurant adjacent to the facility. www.Fattal.co.il