Travelbiz E-Zine
17
July
2023

Travelbiz Israel experience with ATTS, Amiel Tours and ELAL Airlines.

#Traveltradetogether

Travelbiz recently travelled to Israel with Catherine Grennell Whyte (ATTS) along with fellow trade partners, Gerry Duggan (Trailfinders), Claire Doherty (The Travel Department), Philip Airey (Sunway), Robert Wilson (Travel Solutions), Dominic Burke (Travel Centres) Sharon Moore (Navan Travel). As guests of ATTS who represent EL AL Israel Airlines in Ireland and Amiel Tours the opportunity was one Travelbiz could not miss.

El Al fly direct from Dublin to Tel Aviv every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday on their all new B737 800 series with 2 service classes: Business & Economy. The aircraft seats 166 passengers, 16 Business Class Seats and 150 Economy Seats. The El AL full service includes a meal and drinks including access to their in-flight movies via your mobile device with El Al their wireless digital services. The platform offers El Al passengers a selection of movies, TV programmes, games, and a moving map, all streamed to their own devices. There is also a flip down facility on your tray top to position your mobile device for easy viewing.

Upon arrival in Tel Aviv, we made our way to Herods Hotel which is positioned right on the beach in a perfect location. The Hotel is part of the Fattal group of hotels with over 250 properties worldwide.

Tel Aviv is a vibrant, cosmopolitan hive of activity with a North American styled beachfront which stretches for 15km with endless bars, restaurants and shops for you to stop as you make your way to the Old Port City of Jaffa (Yafo), The Carmel Market, Nachalat Binyamin’s colourful, open-air market, Neve Tzedek, Tel Aviv’s hip neighbourhood and Rothschild Boulevard, the beating heart of Tel Aviv: home of The White City, Tel Aviv’s most prominent collection of Bauhaus (International Style) buildings.

As you wind your way through the streets in the old and new commercial districs of both Tel Aviv and Jaffa there is a distinct Mediterranean feel to many of the bars and restaurants which we had to stop and sample along the way. The service levels and staff were excellent and tipping is a must where the average is 10 to 15 %. You could literally spend hours walking and taking in all Tel Aviv and the old town of Jaffa has to offer. it is a perfect location for a long weekend stay or winter week as the flights with EL AL operating until November.

We continued our Israel experience heading south to the friendliest Desert in the World, Negev. The Negev Desert is rich in spectacular Genesis landscapes, which host an abundance of impressive geological formations and pristine vistas, both serene and majestic. According to the book of Genesis the desert was home to Abrahm after been banished from Egypt and Moses also spent some time here. The desert covers over half of Israel’s land area it is an area bristling with beauty. The desert is a fascinating and enchanting place, especially for those not familiar with desert landscapes. While there is a lot you can see yourself, the best way to discover the desert is for a day with a guide or on a tour. To the untrained eye the miles of desert may look the same. But if you dig a little deeper every rock formation, jagged hill, and mound of earth has its own unique story.

En route to the desert from Tel Aviv we stopped at a local vineyard, yes vineyard, where we sampled the local red, white and rose wines at the Carmey Avdet Farm Winery which also provides accommodation is really unique lodges which are used by artists and those who want to create some headspace in a very unique environment.

From sampling wines and fine foods in the desert to our next stop to the lowest point on planet Earth, The Dead Sea which is 423 metres below sea level.

Amiel tours ensured we got to see the very best before we “bobbed around” in the dead sea. We were based in the Herbert Samuel Hod Dead Sea Hotel which forms a strip of properties looking direclty out to the Dead Sea and the Jordanian coast. Some of us struggled, whilst others with washboard physiques, elegantly floated in the glorious sunshine before making our way to the legendary mountaintop plateau of Masada – the last stronghold of the Jewish Zealots in their struggle against the Romans in 73CE – overlooking the Dead Sea. Ascending by cable car to the ancient fortress, we explored the site, with its synagogue and bathhouse.

Our final stop and base for the next two days was Jerusalem where our experience began at Mt. of Olives for a panoramic view of this ancient city. This is an important site in both the Jewish and Christian traditions, before entering the gates of the old city and walking the Via Dolorosa and ends with a visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. This is in fact, a complex of various chapels built on what was called the Hill of Golgotha. The site is mentioned in all four canonical Gospels, and it contains, according to traditions dating back to at least the fourth century, the Calvary, where Jesus was crucified, and the Tomb of Christ, where he was buried and resurrected. We walked with our guide Elli through the Old City and visited some of its famous sites, including the Western Wall and the Cardo, an ancient commercial street where you can still shop today.

No visit to Jerusalem is complete without a visit the Tower of David Museum, which is in the restored ancient Citadel. Here you are taken through the ages, seeing the history of this unique city through displays and exhibits.  The museum also offers an exceptional panoramic view from its towers and ramparts. We then walked through Machane Yehuda Market – (Israeli Shook) where you get lost in the colours, smells and unique atmosphere of the alleys and stalls, as well as tasting of local products. Dinner that night was in the very impressive Dolphin Yam Restaurant, established in 1967, it has been satisfying the appetites of hungry diners for over four decades, making it the oldest fish, seafood, and meat restaurant in Jerusalem, the restaurant effortlessly combines Parisian chic with authentic Jerusalem.

Our home in Jerusalem was The American Colony Hotel which has been welcoming guests for over 100 years. The Hotel does exactly what it says on the can and offers you a truly unique hotel experience in Jerusalem. The beauty of this unique property has been home to a guest list that includes Lawrence of Arabia, Winston Churchill, Bob Dylan, Uma Thurman, Richard Gere, Giorgio Armani, Miuccia Prada, Tony Blair & Mikhail Gorbachev, to name a few. Now that list has been super enriched with the names of Catherine Grennell Whyte (ATTS) along with fellow trade partners, Gerry Duggan (Trailfinders), Claire Doherty (The Travel Department), Philip Airey (Sunway), Robert Wilson (Travel Solutions), Dominic Burke (Travel Centres) Sharon Moore (Navan Travel) and last but by no means least Don Shearer.

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