On the lip of Israel's primeval ramon Crater, what's very old can be new again. Located a two-and-a-half hour drive south of Tel Aviv, the crater's edge is now home to the country's most luxurious contemporary resort, Isrotel Beresheet. Spread over 5 crater-front hectares, Beresheet (Hebrew for Genesis) has a pared-down aesthetic that elegantly evokes the surrounding landscape. The resort's 111 rooms are spread among 40 elegant stone and ipe-wood buildings, and all face the 460-m-deep crater, which runs for 40 km through the Negev desert.
It may be remote, but Beresheet is anything but placid. Thrill-seekers can embark on daily jeep tours along the crater floor to spy endangered mammals such as the vanished Arabian wild ass along with fossils and the remains of early human habitations. Beyond the crater are the remains of ancient settlements like Avdat once an important pit stop between Petra and Gaza and today a UNESCO World Heritage site with Roman-bathhouse ruins and remnants of a Nabataean temple. Far more recent are small-scale wineries like Carmey Avdat, which produces a robust range of reds ready for tasting.
Many of the best vintages can be found back at Beresheet, complementing a mod Middle Eastern menu by Israeli chef Amir Kalfon. His dishes are based on seasonal ingredients sourced from nearby farms. Local herbs also infuse the essential oils used in Beresheet's 2,500-sq-m spa, where signature body treatments range from lavender and salt peels to warm basalt and cold marble stone massages. The sleek, low-lit complex also includes two swimming pools one a stunning infinity pool that seemingly empties into the crater, linking the present and the primordial in a smooth and elegant flow.
Rooms start at $175 per person per night. Visit isrotelexclusivecollection.com for more information.