by Yael Adar
In March, 2000, when this section was originally written, we told our readers that Kibbutz Ein Harod Ihud was in the process of building a new Bed & Breakfast (B&B). The kibbutz's Country Guest House opened in June 2000 and includes 10 log cabins and 26 rooms and six suites (for couples only). Since opening, the cabins, replete with a loft (for kids), Jacuzzi, stunning views and a variety of alternative treatments have consistently ranked among the country's Top-10 cabins.
In recent years, the number of Bed & Breakfasts (B&Bs) in Israel has increased tremendously. In Hebrew, these are referred to as Tzimmerim (borrowing from the German word for room, Tzimmer). The B&B industry is flourishing in Israel, primarily due to domestic tourism. For many Israelis, Tzimmerim are the preferred destination for quiet relaxation out in the country, away from the hustle and bustle.
However, B&Bs in Israel, are quite different from those that many of you may be accustomed to. In the U.S. for instance, a B&B often means a room in someone's home, or in a small inn that may have anywhere from five to twenty rooms. In Israel, the majority of Tzimmerim offer quite a different experience.
Like the cabins in Ein Harod, many of the Tzimmerim (which are typically located in beautiful outlying areas) are stand-alone units, equipped with a small kitchenette. Most Tzimmerim do not offer full-board (although a limited number do). More often than not, breakfast will entail an additional charge, but in some cases it is included in the price.
Ein Haord's Country Guest House sits atop a hill that commands an amazing view of the eastern Jezreel Valley and Gilboa ridge. If you visit here in winter or spring, you would be hard-pressed to believe you were in Israel. Whether, standing in your cabin's balcony, or climbing up the hill (for an even better view) - as far as the eye can see, green will surround you, in addition to water (from the fish ponds) and a beautiful mountain. Spring has the added advantage of offering a multitude of wildflowers and the blooming almond trees which dot the valley below.
The log cabins, which were imported from South Africa, are made of pine (both inside and out). Inside you'll find a small sitting area with a couch that opens and can sleep two, a bedroom with a double bed and a loft that kids love, which can sleep up to three. The are also cabins just couples, (no kids allowed), these are called the Iris Suites, and they especially pampering.
The kitchenette has a sink, small refrigerator, microwave, some utensils etc. Coffee and milk are supplied on the house and your stay at Ein Harod includes a rich Kosher Israeli breakfast that is delivered to your door in a wicker basket, at the time you specify. Those who prefer may have breakfast at the kibbutz dinning hall instead. On weekends breakfasts are not delivered to the cabins/rooms and all guests eat in the dinning hall. The kibbutz also offers its guests the option of eating lunch and dinner in the communal dinning as well.
The cabins are air-conditioned, have a TV and a nice lawn just below the balcony. The Jacuzzi has a huge picture window with a wonderful view of Mt. Gilboa (it's clear that in designing these cabins much thought was given to small details). During the summer, guests may also take advantage of the kibbutz's Olympic size pool.
In the future, those of you who like to travel with horses may be able to stay at the Tzimmer and have your horses stay at the kibbutz's stable.
If you want the advantage of the great location, but are looking for something more affordable, you can enjoy the rooms, which sleep between three to four people. They also have a small kitchenette, are air-conditioned, have a TV, but lack the luxury that can be found in the log-cabins. While simple, they too are nice.
The kibbutz offers its guests a variety of alternative treatments such as, Shiatsu, Reflexology, and Hydro-therapy; in addition to Swedish massages etc. (treatments should preferably be ordered in advance).
Any season of the year, this is a great strategic location for visiting numerous sites previously mentioned in Gems, as well as many others. The following list will give you an idea of how close you'll be to some of the sites in the area: Mt. Tabor 20 minutes, Nazareth 30 minutes, Ma'ayan Haord 5 minutes,Mt. Gilboa 10 minutes, Gan Ha'shlosha Stockade and Tower and Gan Garoo 10 minutes, Beit Shean 15 minutes, Tiberias 30 minutes.
Ein Harod Country Guesthouse and Suites is a place where a personal touch is the byword, you'll have wonderful scenery and be able to enjoy the country atmosphere. It's a place to relax if you want, or take in the many sites in the area (those of you who enjoy hiking will find this area particularly appealing).
It's no wonder that holidays are sometimes booked here a year in advance and weekends are also often fully booked well in advance.
This is a true Gem that most tourists simply don't know about!