Thursday, 21 October 2010

Blue Bay Hotel in Netanya Blues

Three nights at the Blue Bay Hotel in Netanya, attending a friend's beach wedding. We chose the hotel at the friend's recommendation for convenience (a few minutes drive from where the weddding took place) rather than any impressive looking features or positive reviews.

Blue Bay Hotel Netanya Photo - borrowed without permission
The hotel actually has bearable architectural qualities, decorated with taste, or at least without any 'distaste'. The room we stayed in probably used to look good, like 6 years ago but it was well worn rather than in a state of disrepair. Unlike in many newer hotels, the shower worked, water fixtures worked, most lights worked.

We were annoyed with the narrow entrance space and overall the room was not well suited to having the extra bed added. Across the hall I got a peak of a room that seemed very different from ours - a hard-wood floor rather than our wall-to-wall hotel style carpet from a bygone era and more space - I would assume that's the 'superior' room.

We arrived in the dark and I was sceptical about sea view as much as to complain to the receptionist we were paying for it. He assured me all the rooms had seaview and his words turned out to be very accurate when we woke up next morning with perhaps the best view of the sea I've seen in a hotel.

On arrival I had to return to reception to mention the extra bed we had requested (and were paying a not so friendly extra amount for). It arrived carried by a man who pretended not to really speak English but he understood the request to bring an extra towel for the third guest.

Breakfast is a good Kosher breakfast. Depending on what those three words mean to you, you either know what I am talking about or it would simply take too long to explain. For connoisseurs, here is an overview: a sizable buffet with three or four warm dishes, cheeses, "salatim", some sweets, bread and three types of rolls. Coffee not to die for (or Israeli instant). Oh, and since the breakfast is milchig, no sausages or salami (but there is some fish). And the Kosher kids run amock bumping into your chair not only without apology but without as much as acknowledging your existence.

Kosher kids running amock were a recurring topic poolside but the cold water was a bigger problem.

The lobby bar service was far from impressive in terms of selection, attentiveness of staff, professionalism. But again, the decent Israeli service standards prevailed: with every order (even the misunderstood one) the linguistically challenged man brought us a bowl of pretzels and peanuts and dusted off our table. He even tried to prevent me from leaving him a tip at one point.

I would not call the staff friendly and we never had the impression anyone enjoyed serving us. A good word to describe most staff was smug (the reception staff), oblivious (wait staff), bored (security guard outside). The only friendly gestures came from the (I assume Ethiopian Israeli) cleaning staff.

But, like much of Israeli hospitality, the hotel turned out OK. Not great, not to rave about, with lots of annoying little details but OK to spend a few nights (although I would hesitate recommending it for a long vacation). The Scandinavian and Russian holy land bible trip groups seemed happy enough, as did the guests at multiple weddings and bar mitzvahs taking place.


lee said...

where was your friends wedding??

Andrej said...

Artik beach