Israel offers the ultimate mix of adventure, ancient history, desert wellness and lively city life—not to mention, a multitude of culinary gems in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. My husband and I recently took the trip of a lifetime here and herein are all of our Holy Land highlights.
Desert Reset at Six Senses Shaharut
We kicked off our trip at the newly opened Six Senses Shaharut, which Conde Nast Traveler deemed one of the best hotels in the world in 2022.
The Six Senses Shaharut lives up to its hype, and a trip to Israel is simply incomplete without visiting this desert oasis. The lavish resort is perched up on the hills of the Negev Desert and blends seamlessly into the natural landscape with no obstruction of views.
Every meal here was special and incredibly fresh; there are three restaurants onsite, each offering different experiences. The Six Senses Shaharut has its own garden where they grow organic ingredients—lavender, Thai basil, tomatoes, to name a few—which are all effortlessly infused into Chef David Bitton’s delightful dishes.
Beyond its glorious facilities, such as the pool and spa, the resort is a standout for its adventure and wellness offerings. Guests can ride camels from the hotel’s private stable, trek, bike or 4X4 into the Negev’s dunes.
Enjoying the resort’s focus on wellness and sustainability, we took advantage of complimentary yoga available every morning, as well as the alchemy bar to create our own aromatic scrubs made from fresh garden ingredients.
The Calm of David Kempinski Tel Aviv
Next, we visited the country’s beating heart, Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv Art Museum and a food tour through Shuk HaCarmel with Delicious Israel are must-dos, as is exploring Jaffa port, Neve Zedek and Rothschild Boulevard by foot. I also loved shopping Bleeker & Prince for fine jewelry and Elemento for homeware.
We stayed at The David Kempinski Tel Aviv’s Horizon floor, the exclusive 22nd floor where guests can enjoy access to round-the-clock food and drinks coupled with stunning views of the beach. Opened in 2022, The David Kempinski is nestled on Tel Aviv’s lively boardwalk walking distance from most of the attractions. Yet, thanks to the hotel’s calming ambiance you feel like you’re in a secluded enclave in the middle of bustling Tel Aviv. The pool is so relaxing and enjoyable that we didn’t want to leave, to the point that we stayed for lunch, dinner and piña coladas in between.
The service and staff here were truly exemplary. They go above and beyond to ensure that you’re experiencing both Tel Aviv and the David Kempinski in the best possible way.
HIBA Serves Up Culinary Perfection
Tel Aviv is becoming a major culinary capital and so we had to visit the newly opened HIBA, widely regarded as the best restaurant in Israel and headed by acclaimed chef Yossi Shitrit. Everything about this meal was perfection. We indulged in 10 precise dishes, each bursting with exotic flavors, while sipping superb Israeli wines in the most beautiful setting. The cuisine served is Michelin-level Mediterranean with a Middle Eastern touch.
A Historical Journey Through Jerusalem
Our trip concluded in Jerusalem with a stay at the iconic King David, which has hosted visiting dignitaries including almost every U.S. president since Nixon. To the left of the hotel’s lobby, there’s a runner with all of the signatures of some of the most important people in the world.
After visiting Jerusalem’s historical sites and attractions including the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and Shuk Machne Yehuda with our expert tour guide, Guide of Israel, we returned to the King David to enjoy the hotel’s luxe facilities.
What’s special about King David, apart from its luxury surroundings and incredible staff (many of whom have been working at the hotel for over 30 years) is its fascinating history. The hotel was established in the late 1930s, at which time food had to be sent on an overnight train from Cairo, and has served world leaders since its opening.
My experience truly surpassed my expectations. However, given the sheer magnitude of history and culture in this stunning country, there is still much more to do and see, so there’s no doubt that I will return.