Located between Akko and the Sea of Galilee, this working kibbutz and spa hotel is the perfect recharge. I know that sounds cliché, but bear with me. First off, the backstory goes like this: a German-born homeopathic doctor stumbled upon the hillside site in 1923 and decided it was his dream parcel; forty years later, he managed to build a clinic there.
The sloping refuge into which he poured his heart and soul is now a 97-room health resort, one that is an institution of sorts in Israel. Among Israelis, Mizpe Hiyamim is (understandably) seen as a splurge. That said, it is not all that fancy by today’s rapidly escalating high-end standards, and therein lies its charm. Where else can you go straight from feeding goats to getting a facial or hot-stone massage?
The farm’s bounty enhances the experience. It puts out 50 types of cheese and pretty much all the produce that ends up on the menus for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s not necessarily a California-style approach to holistic living—the restaurant caters to meat-eaters, and I found myself deliberating between goat neck, lamb shoulder, and veal tongue for the main course. The spa makes use of olive oil from trees that are grown on-site. This, then, is not just another modern temple to individual well-being, but one that combines land and history—human and natural—in a way that truly makes you truly appreciate your surroundings. That, to me, is the ultimate traveler’s recharge.