A surprising quiet, with some birdsong as background, greeted us in the beautiful garden of the Lear Sense Hotel, in the heart of the idyllic small town of Gedera (a mere 30-minute drive from Tel Aviv), an adults-only concept hotel that turned out to be a surprising celebration for all senses.
It used to be a convalescence home, and you can say that it maintains its original purpose, only that now it provides the perfect cure for our hectic modern life. The historic building has undergone a stylish and meticulous restoration, and the project is the brainchild of Tzachi Tzuk, a local entrepreneur who told us the story over dinner. One day, as he stood in front of the abandoned property, thinking about the elderly patients who were cared for in this historic building in their twilight days, he decided to build a hotel that celebrates and glorifies life. It seems like he succeeded, big time.
The hotel covers almost an acre and has only 24 spacious, beautifully appointed, individually designed rooms, many of which have private balconies overlooking the beautiful garden. If you’re looking for some romance or celebrating a special occasion, there is also a gorgeous suite and some huge loft rooms, designed as an open space with a sitting area and even a double jacuzzi and a dry sauna on the balcony.
Back to ground level, you can have a drink at the impressive lounge bar, full of eclectic artwork and other fascinating items that lend the hotel a special touch. And speaking of special touches, the romantic garden boasts a pink rhinoceros that has become Lear’s hallmark, next to a European-looking fountain and some comfortable seating areas shaded by fruit trees. The whole place is especially magical come nighttime.
The roof of the building holds another special treat, with a stunning rooftop area that will almost transport you to a Greek island, with its vibrant colors, white parasols, and a pool that overlooks the rooftops of Gedera (the pool is even heated in the winter), not to mention a bar where you can order some tapas or a cocktail under a starry sky.
The five senses
The hotel is named after Tzachi’s daughter, Lir, and the addition of the word Sense hints at the sensory-enhancing experience that awaits you inside. It starts in the reception area, where you get a whiff of the private perfume line concocted explicitly for the hotel. Next comes the sense of sight, with numerous contemporary works of art that decorate almost every wall and nook.
The quiet background music playing in the rooms and, of course, in the spa contributes to the sense of hearing. And the sense of touch is represented by Shaya Spa, named after Tzachi’s second daughter. Located on the rooftop, it offers an array of treatments, a Turkish hammam, and a pampering relaxation room. All that is left is our sense of taste.
If you can tear yourselves away from this relaxing hotel, Gedera’s main street is just around the corner and offers several good restaurants, including Para Para (carnivore heaven). However, the hotel restaurant delivers the goods in spades, both in the morning and in the evening, when it turns into a bistro with an open kitchen, a beautifully decorated space with 200 new and antique crystal light fixtures forming a magnificent chandelier, and a menu boasting, among other things, delicious amberjack ceviche and tuna sashimi, an excellent Aberto burger, a butcher plate, and some vegans dishes as well.
Breakfast is also served in the bistro, combining a buffet – not the largest in Israel, but plentiful enough – with an a-la-carte menu and perennial favorites like eggs benedict.
Prices: from NIS 999 per night, with some special packages combining accommodation with spa treatments or meal vouchers at the bistro.
The writer was a guest of the hotel.