The Wife and I have been debating – what was our favorite part of staying at the Kinar Resort over Pesach?
Was it the overabundance of good food? The great service? That most of the guests were Americans (some very strangely holding 2 Sederim and keeping 8 days of Chag while in Eretz Yisrael)? That we were right on the Kinneret lake? Free wi-fi. That it’s a great jumping off point for all the Tiyulim (day trips) we were doing?
Nope. All that was good and fine, but that wasn’t the best part.
The best part was that we didn’t see our kids (except for trips and meals) for the entire week. I don’t think we heard “we’re bored” even once (well maybe once).
I know the hotel likes to market itself as the resort for religious people and Hareidim, and they think that this is their biggest selling point (and it is important), but it’s not just that. They had Pesach programs and activities for the kids that kept them so busy all the time, that it gave us adults time to actually relax and actually enjoy our vacation – and I think that’s an even better selling point.
How often does that happen?
The hotel has a massive lawn, huge. It reminded me of the Catskills (except for the palm trees and exotic green birds flying around).
The hotel brought in an entire mini-carnival with rides and jumping balloons that kept the kids busy for hours. And when the kids weren’t at the carnival, they were on the swings and slides.
If that wasn’t enough, there was an arts and crafts camp, organized basketball games, ping pong and soccer tournaments, not to mention story telling, ice cream, and God knows what else.
So what did that mean for us adults?
First of all, it meant we were able to enjoy our meals. Because you can never eat enough on Pesach.
Though I will admit I found one aspect of the meals quite amusing.
The hotel caters to a wide range of religious people (this particular crowd ranged from typical Young Israel to Yeshivish black hat, with a Chossid and Hiloni or two thrown in for good luck).
The dining room’s buffet provided different meat stands with clearly marked Kashrut certifications (Machfud, Rubin, Beit Yosef, etc.), so everyone could select which Rabbi’s Hashgacha they were happiest with (I have absolutely no idea who’s Hashgacha it was, but trust me, the steak and hamburgers were excellent).
They even had a stand with Matzah Brei (Oy Gebrochts!).
A piece of advice, if you can, talk to the Maitre D about getting a window seat, it’s such a pleasure to sit and eat while watching the lawn and the lake.
Our rooms were nice, and relatively big for Israeli rooms. Not ultra-fancy, but certainly clean and well appointed. They also have bungalows right on the grass, as well as ground floor rooms that lead right onto the main lawn. I didn’t get to see what the bungalows look like from the inside.
The hotel has a basketball and tennis court, a small workout room, and an outdoor swimming pool.
My advice, the pool is cool, but instead, go to the pool area, grab a few towels, walk across the lawn, and jump into the Kinneret. Well, don’t jump, walk down the path into the super-clear water, and then jump in. (And don’t forget to bring the towels back).
The water is much warmer, and it’s a lot more fun.
The hotel has a separate beach for men and women, and off to the side, past the fishing pier is a (shhh) mixed beach.
By the way, the Wife was worried that the little ones would be able to get to the beach and the lake without supervision. Not a problem. There’s a fence and a guard between the two.
By the way, I think that’s the other thing I liked about the hotel.
Religiously, everyone was covered (I mean spiritually), if you want a mixed beach there’s one next door, you want separate, they have that too.
There was a fast minyan, a slow minyan, a Sephardi minyan, and the minyan you won’t go to. All the options were there, and you could pick what you were most comfortable with, and no one was uncomfortable with anyone else.
The hotel offered entertainment every night, including the singing of Tzemed Re’im, Yosef Chaim Shwekey (the brother), as well as Shiurim and speakers every day.
Also, no electronic card keys and automatic sliding doors. The hotel is designed for Shomer Shabbos people. There’s a Shabbos clock in the room. All that stuff is not an afterthought, as it is in so many other hotels.
As for location, besides being right on the lake, it’s a great jumping off point for trips up to the Golan. Just drive across the highway, and start climbing up. There’s also far less traffic on this side of the Kinneret than the Tiberias side.
We had a great time. The Kinar is a great hotel for a family trip up north.
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