It’s unusual to find a luxury hotel that is so self-sufficient, practically all the food it serves is produced on-site. Self sufficiency aside, Mizpe Hayamim Spa Hotel is perhaps one of the most enchanting hotels I’ve experienced.
Perched high on Mount Canaan between Rosh Pina and ancient Safed overlooking the Sea of Galilee and the Golan Heights, you can’t help but feel spiritual. It really is a breathtaking spot, surrounded by 150 acres of organic farmland, fruit groves, pools, streams and herb gardens. The only interruption you hear is birdsong.
There has been an organic farm here ever since Dr. Erich Yaroslavsky, a German immigrant homeopath, bought and cultivated the land in 1926. In the 60s he added the hotel as a luxury retreat for his patients, improving their health and well-being through a diet of organically grown food. The hotel operation was recently bought by Isrotel, a high-end brand not unfamiliar with providing high quality food and frankly with a dairy on the door step, you can’t get milk and cheese much fresher than this.
Even before the intended renovations begin in early 2018, this is still a remarkable property. Each one of the 97 spacious guestrooms is quite different with balconies facing the Sea of Galilee or leading out to the beautiful mature gardens below. That said, there is perhaps just as much flora inside, with abundant tropical fauna reaching up all 7 floors.
The focus at Mitzpe Hayamim is most certainly on rest and relaxation for the mind and body and it works. There is, after all, very little to get stressed about. The lavish dairy breakfast buffet is a perfect way to kick off the day. Israeli breakfasts are legendary of course, but factor in the fresh ingredients; milk just hours old, cheeses, yoghurts and breads made in-house, vegetables and herbs grown outside the door, (even the coffee is freshly roasted and ground), and you don’t just feel full, you feel righteous and healthy too.
Throughout the day there is free coffee and tea (a huge choice of fresh herbal and leaf teas) and a welcome cake at afternoon tea.
In-between all this righteous consuming, the spa offers respite with literally dozens of treatments, from holistic massage to skin care, using oils mixed from herbs collected from the garden. For the more energetic there are regular yoga, pilates, feldenkrais and body shaping classes and free early morning walks. There’s a large indoor pool, a steam and sauna and an outdoor sun terrace with a Jacuzzi. Speaking of terraces, there are so many I lost count. Some, discreetly hidden away in a shady corner, others offering up more spectacular views of Israel’s stunning biblical landscape.
Looking to explore more, I joined one of the daily guided walking tours of the farm and orchards. It’s a fascinating insight into the extraordinary thought and planning that went into Yaroslavsky’s original layout, much of it still used today. Guests are free to wander the orchards and sit awhile on wooden benches offering up more incredible views. We finished the tour by the cheeses; hundreds of wheels including Gouda, Emmenthal, Gruyère and Manchego style cheeses, turned by hand until they are matured enough to be used in the hotel or sold in the farm shop.
Most stays at Mizpe Hayamim include half board and with dinner comes a choice. The buffet provides another plentiful vegetarian culinary journey of discovery, while the Muscat Restaurant offers a non-kosher silver service meat option. It is an excellent three course menu with enough choices to satisfy any palate. I had an excellent zucchini soup followed by a tender veal filet and a pear tart with vanilla ice cream to finish. Of course, a quite magnificent Sangiovese rosso from highly respected Israeli wine producer Gamla washed it all down rather beautifully.
A stay at Mizpe Hayamim will do wonders for your well being. You rarely step out of your toweling robe until dinner, cell phones are not allowed in any public areas and you feel good about eating all this fantastic food because it’s so fresh and healthy. This is a serene spot, a perfect luxury retreat.
Tell me more about Mizpe Hayamim
Stays from $167 per person per night including half board. Dinner at Muscat instead of the vegetarian restaurant is additional NIS 75 per person (Sunday-Thursday and Saturday) or NIS 115 per guest (Friday).
Mizpe Hayamim Rosh Pinna, 12000, Israel
Tel: +972 4-699-4555
The Nimrod Lookout in Rosh Pina
Nimrod Segev, born and raised in Rosh Pina, was an IDF reservist who tragically lost his life during the Second Lebanon War in 2006. His father Hezi built this quite wonderful and moving memorial in the spot that was so dear to his son. A place he visited as much as possible to write and play music and be inspired through the wonderful views. Hezi conducts tours around old Rosh Pina and the orchards of Mizpe Hayamim as well as maintaining The Nimrod Lookout as a permanent place of peace in his son’s memory. For more information go to Nimrod Lookout.