Today, our ‘My Favourite Hotel’ review is a unique mountain resort in Israel.
We are currently running this reader-written feature to provide some positivity and inspiration to Head for Points. You can find all of the ‘My Favourite Hotel’ reviews so far by clicking here. This was scheduled to be a series of about 25 hotels, but a good response from readers means that we have commissioned another batch and are continuing the series.
Today’s hotel is the Carmel Forest Spa Resort, part of the Isrotel chain. It is reader Ruth’s favourite hotel and here is her review:
When most people think of taking a holiday in Israel, their first point of call is usually Jerusalem or Tel Aviv. However, the third most populated city in Israel is Haifa, and just a 20-minute drive away from this bustling city sits the Carmel Forest Spa Hotel located on the Carmel Mountain.
This quiet spa hotel does not allow children under 16, or mobile telephones in public spaces, and provides an extremely relaxing break. A minimum of two nights is recommended.
Save with a hotel membership
The Carmel Forest Spa is one of five Exclusive Collection hotels run by the hotel chain Isrotel. They also have 11 other hotels in the country.
Isrotel has a membership scheme called the Sun Club which costs tourists 350 NIS (around £80) for a 2-year membership. If you plan on visiting multiple Isrotel hotels, it is well worth becoming a member. Membership includes 10% off all rooms booked via the Isrotel website, and 10% discount on all expenses during your hotel stay. The club also offers birthday and anniversary treats including a bottle of wine and a free meal in the hotel restaurants.
The cheapest way to book your stay is directly via the Isrotel website. Usually the best deals you can find come with at least one free spa treatment so it is worthwhile checking out the “deals” section of the site before booking your stay. The cheapest days to arrive are usually Saturdays due to the Jewish Sabbath.
Guests can arrive at the hotel from 1pm onwards and rooms are guaranteed to be available from 3pm (these times are slightly later on a Saturday). On arrival you will find a welcome stand with healthy treats such as fresh juices, tea and oatmeal cookies.
I highly recommend arriving at the hotel as early as possible if your stay will be short. Upon arrival you are greeted by a porter who will take your luggage, and you will receive a text message once your room is ready, allowing you to benefit from the hotel’s facilities as much as possible.
All bookings include half board meals. Being a spa hotel, the food tries to remain healthy, and all meals include a vast salad bar together with whole-wheat, low fat, low sugar and low carb options. You will get a call from the hotel ahead of your stay asking if you have any other dietary requirements and the hotel is always happy to accommodate any special diets .
You can also opt for full board dining. However, the breakfast room remains open until 11am and even if you do feel hungry ahead of dinner, there is a lounge café with reasonably priced snacks and salads. Dinner is served a la carte and a secret that only the regulars are aware of is that you can request multiple main dishes from the waiters without any extra charges.
Rooms at Carmel Forest Spa
The hotel offers many different types of rooms. The cheaper rooms are on the higher floors (6/7), and as you get lower down the rooms get larger and feature balconies or even small gardens. There are also a number of suites available. Your room choice, however, is not so important as the majority of your stay will be spent using the hotel’s spa facilities.
The hotel has an indoor and outdoor swimming pools, jacuzzi, dry sauna, wet sauna, Turkish baths and a solarium.
There is also a outdoor tennis court – rackets and balls are provided. Being a Spa hotel there is also a large fitness room which is open 24/7 and multiple work-out rooms offering activities from kick boxing over mediation, to couples’ yoga. There are multiple individual and couple treatment rooms and the hotel offers various types of massages, dermatological treatments or dietician consultations.
The hotel also has a large reading room containing all the latest magazines, a large cinema where films are shown most evenings, multiple conference rooms, a cosy bar that usually offers an evening happy hour and a large lounge area.
My tips for your visit
- If you are celebrating a special occasion, tell the staff at check-in, they will be happy to spoil you. We had rose petals on our bed, together with a fruit platter and a bottle of wine awaiting us in our room when we told the hotel we had recently got married.
- During the day there are a range of teas and fruits available in the waiting room of the spa
- The reading room is filled with all the latest magazines and books so be sure to pick up your fill of literature for your stay
- On your day of departure, even once you check out, you can stay in the facilities until 6pm, and the hotel offers a locker service for guests to use
- Be aware that most guests will wear their robes for the duration of the stay, however these are not allowed at dinner
- Dinner usually gets very busy, so make sure you book a time slot with the concierge upon arrival
The Carmel Forest Spa Resort is a warm, friendly hotel, and is perfect for a getaway. The staff are very friendly, and if you need anything they will go out of their way to accommodate. This is a hidden gem in Israel. Once you have tried this hotel, the other Isrotel Exclusive hotels are also a must.
If you want to find out more, the hotel’s website is here.
Hotel offers update – April 2021:
Want to earn more hotel points? Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.
Want to buy hotel points? There are currently special offers running with Hilton Honors (100% bonus to 11th May), IHG Rewards (mystery bonus to 3rd May) and World of Hyatt (25% discount to 30th April).