Israel’s equivalent of Naples is the city of Haifa, with its famous port and bay at the foot of historic Mount Carmel, where the prophet Elijah . By far the best place to stay and enjoy the superlative view, among other things, is the Dan Carmel — the flagship Galilee property of the venerable Dan Hotels chain, renowned for Jerusalem’s iconic King David Hotel.
Israel is not a country known for quality of service; but the staff of the Dan Carmel — from reception to the general manager, and every level in between — does not fail to impress. The stage was set by the doorman, who radiated a welcome notable in its sincerity, and rarely is there a let-down thereafter.
The standard of excellence extends to appearance and maintenance; the marble-floored entrance gives way to a spacious lobby that was renovated with new carpeting just in February of 2013. Guest rooms were also recently refurbished, and updated to incorporate brand new 42″ LCD TV’s with multimedia outlets; television programming is international, in a polyglot’s dream of choices of language, All rooms are equipped as well with hair dryers, minibars, work desks and 2-line telephones; suites come with bathrobes and slippers, safes and extra-large bathrooms. Beds throughout feature lush duvets and mattresses, while room temperatures are kept comfortable by efficient central air-conditioning and heating.
And since March 2014, the Dan Carmel — like all of the hotels in the Dan Hotel chain — offers free Wi-Fi in all guest rooms, as well as designated public areas (previous the complimentary access had been limited to the lobby). The expanded free Wi-Fi was introduced in response to feedback from guests, and now extends to three devices per room.
Another Dan Hotels feature that will undoubtedly appeal to families is Danyland, whose creative programs keep kids occupied and happy, while freeing up parents to relax or sightsee. Danyland operates in summer, during Jewish holidays, the Christmas period and other vacation times.
The Dan Carmel has three restaurants and a bar, offering casual and fine dining. As is the case in all Dan Hotels, a lavish breakfast buffet is complimentary. Moreover, the hotel is in walking distance to the commercial district of the upper Carmel, home to many restaurants serving Israeli and international cuisine. Also in the neighborhood are some fine museums, especially the one donated to the city by Emmanuel Mane-Katz, an artist — along with Marc Chagall — of the Paris school. In fact, a rare exhibition of Chagall paintings on Biblical themes is on display throughout the spring of 2013.
For recreation and relaxation, the pool back at the Dan Carmel is an oasis of calm, surrounded by trees, flowers and plants that separate it from its urban surroundings. There is also a spa; unfortunately, the subcontractor that manages the faciity charges even hotel guests an extra fee of NIS 50 per day to use the most basic of facilities, such as access to whirlpool baths and saunas. The pool and fitness room are still free to guests.
Travelers looking for more affordable accommodation options have a choice of two other Dan Hotels very close the Dan Carmel: the Dan Panorama and the Dan Gardens. Information about both of them can be found on the same website as the Dan Carmel.
The other good news is that all the Dan properties in Haifa provide the same stunning views of the Bahai Temple and Gardens (designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site), and the Holy Land’s Mediterranean coastline stretching northwards to the ancient city of Akko (Acre) and as far as Lebanon.
No. of rooms: 227, including 16 suites
Published rates: $146-$168 (per person in double room)
Text by Buzzy Gordon, who was a guest of the Dan Carmel for purposes of review.
Photos courtesy of the Dan Carmel.