A desert resort in southern Israel and the cities of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem were recognized as some of the best travel destinations in separate categories in the August 2018 issue of travel magazine Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards, a yearly travel program run by the high-end, New York-based publication.
The program is based on an annual survey where readers can rate “airlines, airports, car-rental agencies, cities, cruise ships, destination spas, hotels, hotel brands, islands, tour operators, and safari outfitters,” according to the magazine.
This year, the Beresheet Hotel in Mitzpe Ramon in southern Israel ranked third in the magazine’s “Top Resort Hotels in Africa and the Middle East” category.
“The Negev Desert, a massive swath of arid red rocks and wadis that covers much of southern Israel and parts of the Palestinian Territories, is the setting for our No. 3 resort: the Beresheet Hotel in Mitzpe Ramon, Israel,” Travel+Leisure wrote.
“The infinity pool and many of the resort’s 111 private villas look out onto the crater — arguably the region’s finest example of a makhtesh, a deep, wide valley surrounded by cliffs — while the rest look over the property’s 12.5 private acres of golden desert.”
The resort boasts “an unforgettable hospitality experience – great service, a gourmet restaurant, a luxury spa, elegant and comfortable rooms and of course, the second to none desert view.”
The second spot in the category went to the Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa in Muscat, Oman and the top ranking went to the La Residence in Franschhoek, South Africa for its “produce-driven fine dining and opulent rooms.”
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In the “5 best cities in Africa and the Middle East” category, Jerusalem took the 3rd spot and Tel Aviv ranked fourth, while Cape Town, South Africa and Beirut, Lebanon ranked first and second spots, respectively. Marrakesh, Morocco came in fifth.
In the survey, Travel+Leisure asked readers to rate cities “sights and landmarks, culture, cuisine, friendliness, shopping, and overall value.”
The magazine said the Israeli cities’ high ranking is “a reflection of the fact that tourism is booming; hotels in both cities report record occupancy rates. In and around Tel Aviv’s historic Jaffa neighborhood, the Setai Tel Aviv, the Jaffa hotel, and the Drisco hotel are breathing new life into the scene.”
“Tel Aviv has everything a visitor should want and more — open-air markets, clubs, walkable areas with bars, and the beach,” the magazine cited one respondent as saying.
Earlier this year, Travel+Leisure named Tel Aviv-Jaffa among the magazine’s “50 best places to travel” in 2018. T+L focused on a number of new hotels and attractions in Jaffa, the ancient port city that is part of the Tel Aviv Municipality with its own distinct feel. It noted the opening of the Setai Tel Aviv, the new luxury hotel on the Jaffa coast, built on the site of a former Ottoman prison, and the opening of the W Hotel and Residences in Tel Aviv.
Meanwhile, another travel magazine picked an Israeli destination as one to visit this year. The German magazine TravelBook chose the Acadia Beach in Herzliya, right outside Tel Aviv as one of 15 winners of its Beach Awards 2018 in the “Classic Holiday” category.
The magazine hired professional beach inspectors who traveled to 1,595 beaches in 52 holiday destinations worldwide to rate a number of factors including the infrastructure, the view, the sanitary conditions, child-friendliness, “flirtation factor,” and visual beauty.
Among the 15 winners were five beaches in Greece, four in Spain, two in Germany and one each in Turkey, Italy, and Bulgaria.