Eco-friendly Green Zimmers
There’s a growing awareness that resources are not endless. We all have an environmental responsibility to the next generation, and that responsibility doesn’t go on vacation even when we do. Conscious of the need for eco-friendly accommodations, green lodgings are now available throughout Israel, including at the unique Israeli accommodation: the zimmer. Here we offer a few great choices for a green stay in the Holy Land.
In the Lower Galilee, just a 15-minute drive from the Sea of Galilee lies a zimmer on Moshav Ilaniya. The stone farmhouse dating back to the 1920s is now a breakfast room, while the other five buildings on the property have been turned into guestrooms. The original stone and wood from the site were used in the renovations undertaken by the proprietors.
Breakfast includes home-baked pastries and breads, all types of homegrown organic salads, and cheese and yogurt produced from the milk of the zimmer’s goat herd. Using what’s on hand is part of their sustainable-living ethos.
The zimmer uses biodegradable cleaning products and provides soap made from natural oils. Rainwater and recycled gray water are collected and used to water the organic garden. Guests are encouraged to pick from the available garden bounty. There’s also the host’s homemade wine, produced from organic grapes from the vineyard.
Photo: איל הירשפלד, ®
Next, head out to the Negev for a green stay at a zimmerbus. Perhaps the most unusual guestrooms in Israel, the zimmerbuses take the form of recycled retired buses. These green lodgings haven’t gone unnoticed. The French publication, Sejour-Insolite, lists zimmerbus among the 1001 most unique accommodations worldwide.
The two zimmerbuses are perched on the little Negev hilltop village known as Ezuz, overlooking expansive desert views. The story of the zimmerbuses begins with the proprietors who took an old city bus and turned it into a guestroom. Locals (and others) took note, and the zimmerbus became an architectural symbol of the village as an ecotourism center.
Plastered with adobe and sporting a palm-covered rooftop; the owners’ judicious use of soft fabrics, handcrafted ceramics, and natural wood serve as an inspiration to what imagination and elbow-grease can achieve in interior design. The air-conditioned zimmerbuses contain two bedrooms, a bathroom and fully equipped kitchen complete with refrigerator, sink, stove, toaster oven, pots, pans, and cutlery. The full bathrooms are filled with awe-inspiring mosaics and handcrafted ceramics. The driver’s seat remains in place and serves as a spot where children can pretend to be bus drivers and play to their hearts’ content.
Meals include organic produce and goats’ milk products from the owners’ goat herd. Dine in the shade of the outdoor pergola at a wooden table, then relax in a hammock provided and enjoy the calm desert atmosphere. Mobile: Email
Had enough of the heat? Head back to the Galilee to a zimmer where most rooms are Spartan but green, clean, and certainly comfortable, opening out onto gardens or balconies. A few luxury suites come with Jacuzzi and private gardens. At present, a new wing of 48 luxury suites is under construction, all overlooking the Nature Reserve at Koren Stream. The hotel has smoking and non-smoking sections, a surprising admission for a “green” lodging -so be forewarned and ask for the non-smoking area.
This zimmer offers the typical extensive Israeli breakfast complete with fresh salads, homemade preserves and locally produced cheeses. After breakfast, tour the sculpture garden created by local sculptor Arie Ashkenazi, who enjoys explaining his work to guests. Take advantage of the beautiful hiking trails at the Valley of the Hidden River, or make use of the hotel’s indoor and outdoor pools, squash courts, and gym – and then indulge in a massage or spa treatment. At night, enjoy Israeli sing-along sessions led by local singers.
This zimmer is in the process of going green. Thus far, the hotel has supplied receptacles for collecting recyclable plastics and batteries, installed low-flush toilets, placed notes with water and energy-saving tips in the guestrooms, begun using a hydroelectric turbine for generating electricity, installed a computerized irrigation system in the garden, changed over from plastic to recycled paper bags, and provided an herb garden where guests can pick herbs for free. It also supports local organizations and needy area residents.
Did You Know?
Israel’s international environmental agreements cover a vast number of topics including agreements on Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands and Marine Life Conservation.