Yes we are definitely all smiles and good will after our feel good stay at the stylish, luxurious and wildly hospitable Ritz-Carlton in Herzliya, Israel. My husband and I had but a scant 24 hours to ourselves (no kids, no dog and no in-laws) which made me very suspicious about our ability to get into vacation mode.
I don’t know if it was the view of the ocean at our feet as we entered the lobby or the super friendly receptionist – perhaps the cucumber water? Beats me. All I can say is that I was in vacation mode before you could say “where’s the spa?” IT WAS JUST SO NICE.
I guess I could talk about the lobby’s sophisticated design, the architectural expanse of the space, the spectacular local flower arrangements, art work and ambient fragrance (which we later happily discovered present throughout the hotel), but honestly sitting right in that enclave of the Marina and the Mediterranean; all I would have needed was a fold up chair and that delicious cucumber water to count my blessings. The location is simply drop dead stunning. I actually asked my husband “who could work here?” I was too happy and relaxed to contemplate my laptop.
Ritz-Carlton HerzliyaThe view from our room was just as inspiring. Vast floor to ceiling windows frame the Marina and sea from across the bed and as I lay there, cradled in the sublime comfort of my new 24 hour bed I felt truly nurtured. The bath and shower are whimsically arranged behind the bed with a large glass partition allowing a creative solution to enjoy a continuous view of the sea.
The joyful extravagance of a seaside location is felt in every corner of this property – the spa’s lounge imparts a sense of one with the ocean, the restaurant, bar, balconies and public spaces all connect you with the sense of peace and serenity instilled by the dramatic backdrop of waves and the deep blue.
Following a Turkish bath, dry sauna and some tea my husband and I ventured to the Hotel’s acclaimed Herbert Samuel restaurant and here my friends, this story gets interesting…I would like to preface by iterating HOW much I enjoy food when it’s good and well prepared whether it is a simple turkey sandwich on crusty bread or a fancy shmancy French concoction.
As long as the ingredients have culinary integrity and the chef doesn’t step in their way call me happy (actually call me for dinner). I can honestly say that this was one of my favorite meals. The bread and olive oil accompanied by the signature tomato salad made evident that this meal would be a striking success. I had a bit of a hard time pegging the cuisine in terms of labels: French fusion? Mediterranean French? WHO CARES!
The first course included the hands down best white fish confit I have had in years (and trust me I’ve had my share), an incredible Tuna sashimi which came in “a magic” black glaze which magically disappeared in seconds (drum roll please) a lettuce and smoked almond salad with a delicate vinaigrette that complemented the buttery quality of the lettuce which left me singing quietly to myself. We later indulged in some seared fillet and an oven roasted sea bass. Every dish was created to perfection in every possible way.
My sneaky husband informed our super caring and equally wonderful server that it was my birthday (ladies don’t leave your husbands at a restaurant to go powder your nose on your birthday). Upon my return an array of mouthwatering desserts made their way to the table. I tend to avoid this part of the meal for obvious and narcissistic reasons, but their physical presence at the table made it impossible to ignore them. They were light, bright and well worth wearing spandex for.
The following morning, still very full from last night’s epicurean adventures, we took a culinary walk of shame back into the dining area. We made a friendly pact to just have a cappuccino and some fruit in order to realign our grasp on reality but that pact lasted mere fragments of a second once we experienced the glory of the breakfast buffet. All I’ll say is WOW!
We read somewhere that the Ritz’s culture promotes a strong sense of equality and respect, their staff is referred to as Ladies & Gentlemen, a unique and much admired special touch, probably contributing to the special vibe we felt.
I usually have “ants in my pants” when it comes to travel. I like to explore my surrounding and tend to spend as little time as possible being holed up in my hotel but if the adage that “every rule has an exception” is true, this experience was definitely living proof of it. I enjoyed the facility, the wonderful staff, the impeccably warm and inviting hospitality and the incredible food so much that I never made it out the door till it was time to check out.