We had spent a
lot of time in Jerusalem and even moreso in Tel Aviv.
Meeting more than 85 people, interviewing them for our new
oral history It Happened in Israel (2017) was rewarding but
hard work. The frenetic pace of Israel had become a way of
life for us hustling about from place to place.
It was time for
a time out, an overnighter. We flew on a very early flight
out of Tel Aviv in a small plane and were picked up at a
tiny airport and whisked in a Mercedes van to Mizpe Hayamim,
a 37 acre outpost between the Sea of Galilee and the Golan
checked our name off a security list, and the barrier was
lifted. Down a private, wooded, winding road we went.
Another adventure - -and we have had many in our long travel
and wonder of wondrous places is one of only two Relais &
Chateaux hotels in Israel. It is expensive by Israeli
standards, but well worth the price people pay who come from
all over and then return again and again. Repeat guests are
a way of life.
The lobby was a
most magical place. Long hanging vines, the fragrance of
blooming flowers the distinct and pleasing aromas of
chamomile and lavender, the serene sound of songbirds, water
trickling from fountains, all were part of the ethos.
Our schedule only permitted just one full
day in this over-nighter, but it seemed we were there for a
week – we did so many pleasing things. The Mizpe
Hayamim is a working organic farm, a soap factory, an
organic dairy, a coffee plantation. We attempted to
experience all the rewarding and usual aspects of the
property like the farmyards where puppies mingled with sheep
and goat and cows – all friends, all happy, all living
peaceful lives. We took in the orange groves, the vegetable
fields and the herb plantings in the sun.
about on the stone paths. We went into the bakery, a place
where daily organic breads were created. We were directed
into the cheese making facility, received samples, and took
in the giant wheels and the bulging varieties of cheese.
Mizpe Hayamim has more than 200 dedicated
employees and almost a hundred rooms. About half of them are
suites with their own whirlpool tubs. We had a suite that we
shall never forget – roomy, beautifully furnished, one that
had a panoramic view where we could see the lights of nearby
villages below in the distance glittering in the night and
still further out the Golan Heights and beyond that Syria.
We could also catch a glimpse of the Sea of Galilee. All our
senses were attuned to the wondrous world we experienced and
we still remember when we out on our private balcony -- the
sounds of birds singing, swooshing about.
Clientele at Mizpe Hayamim gets the up
close and very personal treatment but never –in-your-face
attention. The award winning spa showcases olive-branch
massage and rubdowns with oils taken from wildflowers. The
indoor swimming pool and two large Jacuzzis are free of
Dining is a special experience, and the
organic restaurant has bragging rights to being one of the
best in Israel. The Muscat (non-kosher) meat Restaurant
with its white linen draped tablecloth, its local wines, and
its dishes replete with ingredients from virtually on the
hotel’s doorstep is a prize winner.
There is a saying among the staff:
“Nothing smells of the refrigerator." That is simply as a
result of no time to refrigerate. Zero kilometer dining is
the norm. Olives, cracked and pickled in a nearby Bedouin
village, underscore this theme. There is also a mainly
vegetarian restaurant, where freshly caught fish is served
along with all kinds of pleasing fare.
To be at Mizpe Hayamim is to drink in the
marvelous mountain-fresh air of the Galilee. To be at Mizpe
Hayamim on the eastern slopes of Mount Kna'an, a bit east of
Safed and north of Lake Hula, is to be at peace.
farm, part sanctuary, part oasis, part retreat, part luxe
resort, all of a splendid piece - - Israel’s Mizpe Hayamim
is truly a most magical place.
For all those
who work there, for all those who go there, is the best o
One day we plan to return.
The Dining Room
Coffee Making Time
Serenity on Terrace
A smiling cheese maker
Golan Heights and Syria in the distance
Breakfast-time in dining room
Hotel Mizpe Hayamin
Safed Road 89
Rosh Pinna, Israel
Phone: +972 4-699-4555+972
courtesy of Harvey Frommer)