Caesarea: Ancient Roman City, Modern Luxury Resort

Dan Hotels, arguably the most prestigious chain in Israel, have been featured a number of times on this site, by more than one writer. Its iconic properties extend from Haifa in the north to Eilat in the far south, in all the major cities of the country and on the sea in Tel Aviv. But none are quite like its new Dan Caesarea Resort.  

In a truly dramatic overhaul, the stately Dan Ceasarea Hotel, a fixture for decades in this community known for its high concentration of millionaires, has been transformed into the new Dan Caesarea Resort. To accomplish this feat, the luxury property was closed down for nine months, and more than $20 million invested in remaking the guest accommodations, public areas, and sprawling grounds. 

No sooner had the refurbished resort opened to the public than it was closed down for more than two months because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The result is that vacationers checking in for summer fun this year will enjoy facilities even newer than they had bargained for.

The modern history of the resort began in the 1960s, when the Baron Rothschild built a luxury hotel for the contemporary jet-set — the same trendsetters who also founded Israel’s first and only golf course and club nearby. The city’s primary attraction, however, has been around a lot longer — the Roman-era ruins of the ancient harbor and city; the remnant of an ancient marble Corinthian column even greets guests as they enter the hotel’s reception area. The Rothschild family of this generation has continued its philanthropy benefiting the preservation of history: the Rothschild Visitor Center in the national archaeological park offers a fascinating glimpse into the engineering wonders that built the most advanced commercial port of its era.     

The current resort comprises 116 guest rooms in three categories, plus four suites, all of which boast balconies overlooking Caesarea and the Mediterranean. Each guest unit is furnished with giant screen LCD televisions broadcasting multi-lingual cable programming, user-friendly temperature control, laptop-sized safes, minibars, and espresso machines that grind premium fresh coffee. Free Wi-Fi extends to every room and all public areas. 

The spacious bathrooms are equipped with full-sized bathtubs and/or shower stalls with raindrop showerheads, plenty of fluffy towels, and pampering amenities. Comfortable bathrobes hang in the walk-in closet. 

The entire property is both non-smoking and accessible, with two guest units specially designed to accommodate wheelchairs.  

With all the sophistication and creature comforts that characterize the rooms, the resort was designed for the whole family to enjoy the time spent beyond its confines. The sprawling grounds extend over 20 acres and encompass basketball courts, soccer fields, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, and even elaborate treehouses. There is a well-stocked poolside refreshment stand and an adjacent patio where daily barbecue dinners are served in the summer months. All the food served in the Dan chain of hotels is kosher. 

The main dining room — where the daily complimentary lavish breakfast buffet is served, along with the similarly bounteous buffet lunches and dinners — also overlooks the pool and grounds, for those who elect to dine al fresco on the expansive terrace. (Note: Due to Ministry of Health regulations in effect during the pandemic, buffet service is temporarily suspended; food will be plated and served to you at your table. Other social distancing rules may apply elsewhere in the hotel as well.)

Another specialty restaurant is planned for the property, slated to open at the end of the summer. Meanwhile, it is also possible to order a picnic to enjoy while lounging on the green lawns of the vast grounds, in a treehouse, or at one of the white sand beaches with which Caesarea is blessed. 

Lighter meals, along with specialty cocktails, are served in the Salon Bocca lobby lounge — which is unlike any other you are likely to encounter in Israel. In it you will find, for example, an old-fashioned skee ball machine, and board games for the entire family. These are in addition to outdoor fun: poolside foosball games and even a snooker table in the pool itself. Or, for a more active pastime, take one of the unique orange canopied bicycles for four for a spin (powered by pedals).

One of the best perks for young families here is the Daniland club, where parents may leave their children in a supervised setting while they enjoy adult time to relax. There is both an outdoor playground and an indoor facility equipped with the most sophisticated  interactive educational games technology can provide. 

Finally, it is hard to imagine a better way for parents to spend their private time than treating themselves to one of the myriad pampering treatments offered by the sumptuous Jah Spa. Or, order up the resort’s VIP transportation — a distinctive canary yellow Jeep — to be transported to one of the city’s major attractions, such as a gourmet restaurant overlooking the harbor or a local museum.  

Published rates, from low season to high season: Rooms (3 categories), $340-$830; Suites, $1390-$1510. Breakfast is included. Book direct at Dan Hotels here or through a booking site such as Expedia or Hotels.com.

Text and photos by Buzzy Gordon, who was a guest of the Dan Caesarea Resort for purposes of review. See also reviews of other Dan Hotels on Hotel-Scoop, in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa

 

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