I was amazed when writing a guide to Israel at how many people there are who think Israel is all camels and conflict, with a little Jesus-slept-here heritage thrown in for good measure. So in the spirit of cliche-busting here’s a little roundup of some of the hottest (er, coolest) swimming pools in the Holy Land:

ONE. The luxurious Scots Hotel in Tiberias was built by the Church of Scotland in the refurbished historical buildings of the Scottish Hospital. Here, you’ll find a very restful atmosphere, amid a fusion of 19th-century basalt stone buildings and a modern, innovative hotel facility with 50 guestrooms in the modern wing and 18 in the refurbished portion. Access to the swimming pool is by elevated walkway over exquisite gardens. From the pool itself, you can look out over the Sea of Galilee all the way to the Golan Heights. On a hot summer’s day, hauling yourself out of this sexy pool won’t be easy.

TWO. Many people think the Isrotel Tower in Tel Aviv is only for private residences, but that’s only partly true: the seventh to fifteenth floors comprise a “secret” hotel within the tower (from floor 16 and up it’s private apartments). The rooftop pool on the 30th floor is nothing short of spectacular. They’ve even got ice cream treats up there, bringing “chillax” to new heights.

 

Swimming pool at the David Intercontinental Hotel in Tel Aviv. Photo: AG

THREE. The ultramodern Hotel David Intercontinental in Tel Aviv is a hotel that leaves me a little indifferent, and it’s been a while since Madonna breezed through. But if the place as a whole seems a bit too much like a glass-and-concrete affront to the charming (and much less tall) Neve Tzedek neighborhood around it, one area where it achieves complete success is the pool zone. It’s big and sexily elevated above the street below, affording unobstructed sea views.
FOUR. The newest member of Isrotel’s Exclusive Collection, the Beresheet (Hebrew for “genesis”) resort is pretty much in the middle of nowhere. As you drive across the Negev Desert wondering why you are driving across the Negev Desert, remember that if your destination is this place, a spectacular swimming pool awaits your arrival. This shimmering plane of refreshment is perched over the Makhtesh Ramon, the world’s largest erosion crater.

What overheated camel wouldn’t love a dip in Beresheet’s refreshing liquid expanse?
Photo: Beresheet

SPECIAL MENTION.  The Gordon Pool in Tel Aviv is an urban legend in the pure sense of the term urban legend. Arguably more functional than sexy, there’s no denying it represents a singular city experience. The water is clean, cool and drained and refilled daily. Lesser known is that the pool’s new gym, also managed by the Tel Aviv municipality, is one of Tel Aviv’s best, replete with sleek Technogym fitness equipment from Italy. Natural light streams in from skylights and big windows and unlike in many gyms, the changing areas are immaculate.