Intimate Luxury in a Galilean Mystical City

For centuries, the Holy Land’s capital of Kabbala — Jewish mysticism — has been the eastern Galilee hilltop city of Zefat (Safed). A newer addition to the city, meanwhile, is the beautifully refurbished Ruth Hotel — although the property, too, boasts an equally impressive long history, since it is located on a site that was a khan, overnight lodging for caravans passing through from ancient Mediterranean ports to Damascus.

In particular, the hotel is located at the edge of the Old City, which is the main attraction for visitors. It is here where you wander the cobblestone streets to discover the studios of the Artists’ Colony, as well as picturesque synagogues of sage rabbis who wrote tomes of Jewish mysticism.

The property itself, formerly the venerable Rimonim Inn, is worthy of a meander. Its stone buildings, enhanced by arches and stained glass, are framed by manicured lawns and gardens, and semi-secluded nooks and crannies offer moments for intimate conversation and reflection.

The guest units, meanwhile, are all worthy of a Dan, arguably Israel’s foremost luxury hotel chain. Each room features a comfortable king-size bed, a user-friendly temperature control system, large-screen smart TV’s, and espresso machines. Complimentary high-speed WiFi extends to all rooms and public spaces. 

The spacious marble bathrooms as well are inviting, with the Dan’s own brand of amenities. The huge towels and fluffy bathrobes are as pampering as they can be.

The bathrooms in the suites especially are equipped with both whirlpool bathtubs and shower stalls with massaging handheld showerheads and an overhead raindrop shower.  Another nice touch is the generous welcome gift that greets guests as they enter the room: a spread of goodies that includes wine, liqueur, snacks and colorful fresh fruit. 

A Pool with a View

When you are not out sightseeing or in your room, it is worth spending some time in the half-Olympic pool in the summer season. It is enjoyable even just sitting on the steps and cooling off, since there is an amazing vista of the Galilee mountains.

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Swimming and sightseeing can work up a real appetite, and the hotel offers three kosher meals a day, served as a modified buffet while Covid 19 restrictions are in effect. Breakfast in particular reflects typical Dan quality, with more than adequate selections of cold and hot dishes, in spite of the relatively small size of the hotel. Both alfresco and indoor seating — with the usual stunning views of the opposite mountain range — are available. 

When the weather is not conducive to swimming, you can exercise in the atmospheric, compact fitness room. Or, relax totally with a sumptuous treatment at the on-site spa. 

Ruth Zefat Hotel 

Number of rooms: 76 (including two suites)

Published rates: From $213 per night, $405 for suites; higher during major Jewish holidays. Breakfast is included. You can also book your stay through on online booking site such as Hotels.com or Expedia

Test and photos by Buzzy Gordon, who was a guest of the Ruth Hotel Zfat for purposes of a review. Additional photos courtesy of Dan Hotels.

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