Life

The Glam Guide To Caesarea: The Middle East’s Newest Hot Spot

Less than an hour from the bustling city of Tel Aviv, lies Caesarea, a luxurious port town built by Herod the Great in 25 B.C. It’s a one-of-a-kind destination since many ancient remains can still be seen – you can even bathe and lounge by the ruins! The Old Port of Caesarea is home to restaurants, shops and galleries and roaming the town feels like walking in the newest, oldest hot spot.

It’s already known among the local glitterati since the recent revamping of the Dan Caesarea Hotel, a luxury 5-star hotel that’s part of the Dan Hotel chain, famed for attracting A-listers ranging from Bill and Hillary Clinton, Paul McCartney, and The Rolling Stones, to U2,Michael Jackson, Madonna and Lady Gaga. Literally when anyone well known comes to Israel, they’re almost guaranteed to stay at one of the Dan Hotels. Now their Caesarea location – which has already attracted the likes of Gal Gadot – is poised to turn the northern area into what the Hamptons are to New York City… you heard it here first! And if there’s any doubt, Mick Jagger swung by Caesarea on his last trip to Israel.

In the same way that the opening of Whole Foods and The Bowery Hotel turned that slice of the LES from a sleepy area known for lamp stores to a bustling downtown fashion hub, the Dan Caesarea is transforming that particular picturesque area, and it has only begun. Not only do they plan on adding 50 rooms to their resort – some with private pools – but they’re opening a restaurant and bakery (the hotel manager’s pedigree includes many years at R2M, the hospitality group that runs some of Israel’s most well known and trendy restaurants).

The Dan’s tagline is “Happiness Is Around,” and after spending a recent weekend there, I couldn’t agree more.

While a trip into town is nice – and they have a free yellow Jeep to shuttle you back and forth into town- you really don’t need to leave the child-friendly resort while you’re there. That said, many people do choose to go into town as there are many notable restaurants that attract foodies from across the globe, including Hellena. Israel’s only golf course is also located in Caesarea, so if you’re looking to golf coming here is another big draw (note: book in advance as it can get very warm so you’ll want an early tee time).

If you stay on premise at the Dan you’ll also find basketball, room for soccer which many hotel guests seem to spontaneously start playing, as well as tennis courts. There are also multiple playrooms for kids, a kids pool, two playground area, two big tree houses, go-carts, and even a pool table inside one of the pools! Plus art is weaved throughout the entire hotel in modern, fun, and Instagram-friendly ways (see the fussball lunch tables above).

They’ve also got a gym, a spa, and there are breakfast-only as well as half-board options. For lunch you can swing by their pool bar – run by the team behind Imperial Cocktail Bar  (on many lists of the “world’s best restaurants“) – or restaurant, which plays host to a rotating roaster of celebrity chefs.

As for the dress code, you can be as dressed up or as dressed down as you like – think Montauk and East Hampton wrapped into one.

When most people travel to Israel they beeline for Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, both of which are certainly musts, but it’s undoubtedly worth tagging on an extra two days to swing by this picturesque, totally relaxing area whether you’re looking to do a bit of sightseeing or simply relax with local in-the-know Israelis in a resort atmosphere.

All images taken at the Dan Caesarea