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Stay in Arad or Ein Bokek hotel or Ein Gedi Youth hostel?Feb

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Stay in Arad or Ein Bokek hotel or Ein Gedi Youth hostel?Feb

Hi, this is my first time posting here. Having browsed this forum it looks like the best place to get excellent advice.

I have lots of questions. Here goes. We are coming to Israel for the last 2 weeks of Feb. I have been plenty of times but this will be the first time for my kids. They are 12 and 8. We will also be traveling with grandma. She fortunately is in super health and has no restrictions.

Unfortunately, my kids have multiple food allergies and dog and cat allergies. Also, one child has eczema. So for our trip, having a kitchen facility is important. Also, the place needs to be pet free.

We are planning on staying in Jerusalem apt for six days. Then, we want to stay in the Dead Sea area around feb 24. I don't want to be rushed. We want to take our time to hike in Ein Gedi, and climb Masada, and float in Dead Sea. So I am thinking staying in the area for two or three days. We will have a rental car.

In terms of planning our time, given the weather in the end of Feb., what is there to do in Ein Gedi? Just hike? I imagine we can not take a dip in the waterfalls and pools. Also, will Dead Sea be too cold for us to enjoy?

Where to stay? I am inclined to stay in a comfortable suite sort of place with kitchenette in Arad. I know it is a lengthier drive to Dead sea, Ein gedi. And the cable car side of Masada. But the Ein Bokek hotels don't offer cooking facilities. However, some Ein Bokek hotels offer the heated pools which the kids would enjoy. I am just in a quandary where to stay. I mean we could stay one night in Ein Bokek and make do with preparing sandwiches for breakfast lunch and dinner. But that will get tired after a day or two of that.

So what I am asking is staying in an Ein Bokek hotel with heated pool and immediate proximity worth it? Or stay in arad at either the "desert view Cohen" house Or "zimmer mantur". They seem nice, family friendly and pet free, and have cooking facilities. I also assume supermarkets will be in Arad. Downside, no pool, and the drive to and from the sites.

If we stay in arad, should we hike up and down the Roman Path or drive the long way to the snake path? Also, if we stay in Arad, could our family buy a pass to use one of the hotel's heated pool?

I also see there are a couple of possible places with cooking facilites just south of the Dead Sea. They are Belfer's Dead sea cabins and Kibbutz Kalmia. Which is better? Staying there or Arad? I think Arad may offer more shops, right?

Lastly, we may want to go to Mitzpe Ramon. I have been there (20 years ago)and thought it was amazing. Could we tack on a day and travel and hike the crater as a day trip from Arad?

Thanks in advance!

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1. Re: Stay in Arad or Ein Bokek hotel or Ein Gedi Youth hostel?Feb

I think that staying at Ein Gedi might be problematic if your children are allergic to cats. Both at the kibbutz guesthouse and around the youth hostel, there are a lot of cats, not in the rooms, but out and about.

I really can't speak to staying in Arad as I haven't stayed there. However, for Mitzpeh Ramon, I would recommend the Ramon Inn which is apartments with full kitchens and 1 or 2 bedrooms. The hotel was originally an apartment building. The hotel has a heated indoor pool for the kids and it is only a few minutes walk to the lip of the crater and the visitor centre. http://www.isrotel.com/ramon_inn/ Note that the hotel is 4 floors and has no elevator but that shouldn't be a problem for your family. Staff will bring your luggage up and down.

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2. Re: Stay in Arad or Ein Bokek hotel or Ein Gedi Youth hostel?Feb

Thanks, anmejoshme, the Ramon Inn is very nice. Thanks for that recommendation. We will consider that Inn. As for our allergy to cats and dogs, as long as they are not shedding in our room, or leaving their dander, we are fine. It is ok if they are outside. The reason I threw in the possibility of staying in the Ein gedi youth hostel is because a) it is available (and that seems hard to come by) b) location, c) price (though price is not really an issue for us for this trip).

Israel
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3. Re: Stay in Arad or Ein Bokek hotel or Ein Gedi Youth hostel?Feb

To answer some more of your questions

You will be able to go into the Dead Sea - you only go in for a few minutes and it will be comfortable.

Ein Gedi - you might hit a warm day and your kids may want to go into the pools anyway - just have a change of clothing - many people do go in the water, even in the winter.

You could go up the Roman Ramp, it's not a strenuous hike - takes 15-20 minutes and visit Masada that way - you would miss the visitor's center, film and museum.

Though the hotels don't offer cooking facilities they usually have a fridge and electric kettle in the rooms.

Not meaning to pry, but what type of food allergies are you dealing with - often you can work around them in the hotels.

If you decide to rent in Arad - yes, they have supermarkets and lots of shops.

In terms of the other options you mentioned I think you meant Kibbutz Kalia which is at the northern end of the Dead Sea - a nice place to stay but no markets, shops, etc.

Yes, you can purchase a day pass to many of the hotels to use their beach, pool, spa, etc.

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4. Re: Stay in Arad or Ein Bokek hotel or Ein Gedi Youth hostel?Feb

I would stay in one of the hotels at Ein Boqek which is conveniently located on the right side of the lake. If budget exists it would be the best place to stay, espeically with some having indoor swimming pools (check each hotel individually as some have indoor sea water and not fresh water -- you cannot swim in sea water, only float).

Ein Gedi is a nice place to stay, but you must take into consideration the possibility of flash floods in February which may prevent you from driving temporarily south to Masada and beyond on a given day. This does not happen frequently but when it does the road from Jerusalem to Ein Gedi is closed and the road south of Ein Gedi could also be closed.

Chana

Israel

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5. Re: Stay in Arad or Ein Bokek hotel or Ein Gedi Youth hostel?Feb

Thanks Oreets, definitely sounds like we can have some fun discovering the landscape of ein gedi. It is not prying, my child is allergic to soy, dairy, egg, nuts, peanut. Most food has one of those ingredients. Soy is in virtually everything. Even in bread. However, if an ein Bokek hotel is so worthwhile in terms of the pool and Dead Sea access we will stay there for a night or two, and forgo a kitchenette.

and we will nix the Kibbutz Kalia. Not worthwhile if no shops around.

Thanks

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6. Re: Stay in Arad or Ein Bokek hotel or Ein Gedi Youth hostel?Feb

Chana, thanks for the heads up about the flash floods. Hope that will not be in our forecast. But will be aware. If we stay in an Ein Bokek hotel, we will need two rooms I assume. It is five of us in all including two kids. Can you give me some advice on hotel pools? Of course we will need a heated indoor pool. One that the kids are allowed in. They are 12 and 8. I like the thought of the healing benefits of a salt water pool. But do you think the kids will find it extremely unpleasant? I have never been in one. Thanks.

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7. Re: Stay in Arad or Ein Bokek hotel or Ein Gedi Youth hostel?Feb

Granted, not as easy as preparing food on your own, but it can be manageable even when depending on cooked food - I can tell you that I've dealt with food allergies such as these (and more severe and complicated) on Birthright trips.

Obviously dairy and eggs would be a problem for breakfast but not all cereals include soy and many breakfast will have oatmeal which should be fine - if nothing else there is smoked fish, potatoes and loads of salads. You can always find someone to ask the chef regarding what kind of oil they used and you will often find raw vegetables for making your own salad.

When you come to meat meals you don't have to worry about dairy and you can always ask for them to prepare a plain grilled chicken breast etc. Again - speak to someone in the know and ask -- and always bring some back up with you.

It may be more of a hassle but workable.

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8. Re: Stay in Arad or Ein Bokek hotel or Ein Gedi Youth hostel?Feb

Thanks Oreets for your optimism. I appreciate it. So if we go with an Ein Bokek hotel, do you have one you recommend in which the chef was understanding and trustworthy when it comes to allergies? Also one that my kids would enjoy the pool? Budget is not really an issue. If it is an extra hundred it is ok. We can splurge. It is not everyday that we are at the Dead Sea!

Israel
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9. Re: Stay in Arad or Ein Bokek hotel or Ein Gedi Youth hostel?Feb

You mention Ein Gedi youth hostel. Just so you know, for reasons of kashrut the YHA hostels in Israel don't have kitchens where guests can prepare food.

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10. Re: Stay in Arad or Ein Bokek hotel or Ein Gedi Youth hostel?Feb

So it seems from your replies and other forum threads, for the purpose of the family 's floating, mudding, sunbathing (in end of feb.) we should stay a night at a ein Bokek hotel. Alternatively, spend an afternoon at Mineral beach.

We will have a rental car. We are driving down from Jerusalem so it seems like Mineral beach is on the way. Maybe we can even go for the afternoon during our one week stay in Jerusalem.

If we choose an Ein Bokek hotel, which one to choose? I would want the criteria to be based on my kids' (age 8 and 12) enjoyment of heated pools, and having both the salt water and fresh water? Thanks