Magdala Hotel: A Harmonious Trinity of Nature, Faith and Comfort
I was invited to stay and review the new Magdala Hotel that was opened less than a year ago, in Nov 2019. Alon Winter, CEO and his team extend their welcome to you!
The excellence of the hotel is due not only to its location on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, but also to its unique historic and spiritual offering complemented by superb pampering facilities.
Originally, the hotel was scheduled to open in 2012, but a significant delay occurred when preliminary surveys by archeologists came across a construction of stone formations that led to the uncovering of a first-century synagogue. The hotel's development and construction were put on hold while the exploration of the property continued. The owners, a Catholic congregation called the 'Legionaries of Christ' were more than rewarded for their efforts when excavations revealed the ancient city of Magdala, a thriving fishing village from the first century A.D., home of Maria Magdalena, one of Jesus's most celebrated disciples. Even though I'm Jewish, I had a pilgrim's moment in which I thought 'I am actually walking on ground where Jesus himself probably preached. How incredible!'. The Magdala Synagogue itself, is one of the seven synagogues found throughout Israel from this period and the most preserved of all. A unique stone was discovered with all the temple's markings including the Menorah, oil jug and more within its compound.
The hotel offers tours of the ruins of the Old City and Magdala synagogue both as part of the hospitality to its guests, but also as a separate offering that you can join even if you aren't staying overnight. The tour brings to light village life presenting the complete city remnants including the market, homes and mikvahs of the wealthier residents.
However, I am getting ahead of myself. When you enter, the first thing you take in is the spectacular hotel lobby. Its large glass walls overlook amazing views of the Arbel Cliff, the remains of the ancient synagogue and excavations and the manicured gardens and water fountains that lead to the Sea of Galilee. Another highlight of the lobby is a copy of an original 1st century saltwater fish pool taken from the center of the Magdala's ancient market.
The hotel has 150 spacious rooms, an outdoor swimming pool, a gym and an onsite church entitled 'DUC IN ALTUM' (i.e. 'Cast Out Into the Deep', part of Luke 5:4). The hotel also has conference and event halls and ultra-fast internet (Wi-Fi) perfect for family gatherings or business conventions.
Breakfast is served within the hotel's 'Tarichaea Restaurant'. In accordance with the ministry of health guidelines, the meal is served to the table with only portioned items like yoghurt or fruit cups served on a side buffet.
Guests booking half-board accommodation will be given the choice of dinner at one of the best restaurants in the north as part of the hospitality (Magdalena, Tibi's, 1910, Rutenberg, Tzel Tamar). We enjoyed a meal at 'Magdalena', a Mediterranean style chef's restaurant located within 5 minute's walking distance away from the hotel.
During the remainder of July, the hotel will hold cheese and wine evenings presenting the best dairies and Galilee wineries, including wine workshops from leading industry parties, along with fine cheese tastings from the Galilee producers.
The tour of the ruins of the Old City and the Magdala Synagogue are both part of the hotel's hospitality and are open to external visitors.
Guided tour hours: Sunday to Saturday from 8:00 to 18:00. Tour price - 17 NIS per person. Adults over 65 and children under 12 are free. (Special prices for groups of over 10 people and students)
18.6.2020-31.7.2020 Starting from 1225 NIS per couple in midweek, and 1435 NIS per couple during the weekend.
From 1/7/2020 - 31/8/2020 a third night at 50% off.
For details and reservations: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 074-7003204.
You are also welcome to read my Tiberias birthday trip post for more ideas on sites in the region.
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