The rather sleepy burgh of Nahariya is one of Israel’s oldest beach resort towns, known for small, family-owned hostelries and B&B’s. Recently, it has gained a spanking new hotel: Casa Boutique, an unusual combination of a boutique-cum-apartment hotel.
Nahariya is the closest beach resort to Israel’s border with Lebanon — a mere seven miles away. It is also the reason that Nahariya has become the favorite R&R destination for United Nations peacekeeping forces stationed in southern Lebanon.
From wherever you are traveling to reach Nahariya, Casa is an easy place to find. It is situated right atop the city’s interurban train station, and exactly on the intersection of the main coastal highway and the town’s main street. The hotel is easily accessible in another sense as well: two units are suitable for handicapped guests.
Casa is certainly different from competing lodging alternatives in the vicinity: for one, its guest policy is restricted to adults only — 17 years of age and older.
Secondly, all units are, in effect, small apartments, complete with living room and kitchenette, which comes equipped with appliances for cooking as well as a mini-refrigerator. In addition, kitchen cabinets are stocked with plates, glasses, cutlery and utensils.
Each of Cas hotel’s 59 suites, in three categories, sleeps 3-4 guests. Some bedrooms are furnished with king-sized beds and others with queens, while 10 units come with twin beds.
Similarly, some bathrooms have bathtubs rather than shower stalls. The towels, bathrobes and slippers are all hallmarks of a luxury hotel – as are some of the complimentary consumable extras: a bottle of wine, mineral water and cookies.
The entire hotel – both the common areas and the guest units – is decorated in retro style, with many items purchased in flea markets and restored. The lobby, in particular, is replete with noteworthy antique objects.
One innovation that many guests appreciate is the unique breakfast, which comes in an overflowing basket delivered to the room – at any hour you choose – and contains food that may be eaten both right away and/or packed as a picnic for lunch. Of course, there is also the option to have a warm breakfast of some of your delivered items in the hotel dining room, where dinner may be ordered as well.
The beach and boardwalk are only a short, 10-minute walk from the hotel, although it is worth walking north a bit to enjoy cleaner and quieter beaches, bordered by green lawns. Or, just take the elevator to the roof to enjoy the hotel’s heated salt-water pool – under a retractable roof, no less. The top floor is also where you will find the spa, a fitness room, sauna, and an open-air bar with panoramic views of the Galilee.
Nahariya is also a great takeoff point for exploring the western Galilee, which is home to a mosaic of ethnic populations — Jewish, Arab Christian and Muslim, Druze and Circassians — each with its own culinary specialties. The region abounds with natural attractions as well, such as the chalk-white grottoes of Rosh Hanikrah, formed by Mediterranean’s turquoise waters, which can be explored by cable car.
Text by Buzzy Gordon, who was a guest of the hotel for purposes of review. Photos by Diana Shahar and courtesy of Casa Boutique Hotel.