Decided at the last minute to go to Israel for the first time over the New Year. We booked via Expedia, Hotel Inbar, in Arad. It was the only hotel we could book on the system as all of the others appeared fully booked.
We wanted to visit the Dead Sea and some of the regional tourist attractions and it stated on the Expedia text that the Dead Sea was about 30 minutes from Arad. Mostly true.
Before I even go into my review, I want to warn any tourist travelling to Israel or at least to this hotel; don't do a trip on the internet!!! Go with a package tour where you have a guide.
Even though I was very impressed with the infrastructure that Israel has which definitely places it on my list of civilized tourist destinations, if English is you’re communicating language, expect lots of problems.
Combining this review of the hotel with our general experience;
On arrival we took the shuttle bus from Tel Aviv airport. We demonstrated the itinerary, but they can't read English because Hebrew is a totally different structure. We were dropped off at Hotel INBAL in Jerusalem and not Hotel INBAR in Arad. 2 Hours in the opposite direction.
The driver dumped us saying it was not his fault and we had to find our way to Arad at a taxi cost of $150. So much for the Israeli attitude to tourists.
We arrived at Inbar Hotel, Arad, to find that we did not have a reservation via Expedia. We had to pay a holding deposit of $100 to be allowed the last available room in the hotel - and the worst worn out room.
I then spent over 1 hour on the phone to Connecticut (rerouted to the far east call center) to hear Expedia say that the hotel was at fault because they can't contact them and the hotel contested that it was not the first time that they had problems with Expedia. As a bottom line on this saga, Expedia were probably right, the hotel had such primitive systems and themselves went through an agent that was not a 24 hour agent. Meanwhile, I, the customer, of both Expedia and Inbar had to give the telephone number of the hotel so they could communicate with each other.
Failing all of that we then tried to make the best of it and get on with our break.
Inbar hotel has no balconies and by law is smoke free. The breakfast is free but pathetic. Dinner is OK but expensive for what it is.
Reception staff are semi-conscious and do only the minimum.
We asked for a bus schedule to go to the Dead Sea daily. We missed the bus on the last day because we later realized that the schedule was for one day only. Nothing happens in Arad so it is important to have clear communications from the hotel to get out of there - but alas no.
When you check into your room the television won't work, so don't spend half an hour trying to test the leads. The problem is you have to deposit money to take a remote control from reception that they did not mention to us. Another stupid inconvenience.
The hotel reception is a dirty looking place but the only place to receive Wi Fi, nevertheless free.
On a positive note, everything worked in the room, with a little improvisation.
Good heating when required, hot water, no electricity problems, small bathroom with a shower and a real bath (no plug but put a sock in place and you have a good daily bath), fridge, coffee facilities and safe. All the basics in a depressing environment for survival. Maid service was very efficient.
If anything goes wrong, the hero of a maintenance man turns up almost immediately to fix anything.
If you stay here, introduce yourself to the Restaurant manager and the Security man/doorman. They look after you and give you tourist advice. Forget reception.
All in all, a dismal badly managed hotel that serves as a transit stop mostly in a town where nothing happens and the only way to have a holiday is to get a bus or taxi out to other parts.
Try to get a bus as the taxis drive so dangerously between Arad and the Dead Sea on the mountainous roads. Two near accidents during our stay. No police monitoring for dangerous driving.
Finally, skip Arad if you go to Israel and definitely skip Inbar unless you are just in transit.
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- Also Known As:
- Inbar Hotel Arad