By Danny DeVegan III

Why Kedma by Isrotel Design?

An intriguing blend of modern architecture and desert aesthetics drew me towards Kedma by Isrotel Design in Sde Boker, Israel. Its close proximity to Mitzpe Ramon and Beer Sheva also promised convenient exploration opportunities. As a vegan and budget-conscious traveler, the listed vegetarian, and vegan breakfast options caught my eye. I imagined an amalgamation of relaxation, local experiences, and delicious vegan food.

Prior Expectations

Expectations are like soft clay—easily molded by reviews, photos, and experiences. The relatively high rating and guest comments had me awaiting friendly staff, a clean and comfortable atmosphere, and a sumptuous breakfast buffet. A bit hesitant about the value for money, I hoped my stay would be justifiable in terms of comfort and experiences.

Danny DeVegan
Danny DeVegan

The Arrival and First Impressions

The moment I stepped in, the décor caught my eye—subtle, earthy tones mingling with flashes of modernity. The front desk, operating 24/7, welcomed me with a worthy smile and efficiency. I took notice of the key-card access, an added layer of security that eased my mind.

The Room

Stepping into my room at Kedma, it was as if I had entered a space where the rustic charm of the Negev Desert met the epitome of modern convenience. The room’s design paid homage to the surrounding arid landscape, featuring earthy tones and natural textures that felt seamlessly integrated. It was thoughtfully equipped with all the contemporary amenities one could wish for: a high-definition flat-screen TV for entertainment, highly efficient air conditioning to temper the desert climate, and a private bathroom stocked with eco-friendly toiletries that aligned with my own values on sustainability.

But what truly elevated the room from being just a comfortable space to a sanctuary was the balcony. This personal outdoor retreat offered a unique vantage point to observe the hotel’s meticulously tended garden. As day transitioned to twilight, I found myself entranced by the changing hues of the landscape. The way the setting sun played upon the flora, casting shifting shades of gold, amber, and eventually dusky purples, was a spectacle I could observe in quiet solitude. It was here, on this balcony, that I felt a profound sense of peace, the kind that makes travel such a transformative experience.

Kedma on Booking.com

Staff and Guests

Conversations with the staff revealed bits of local life and culture. Guests varied from couples to families, mostly courteous and aligned with the hotel’s relaxed vibe. There was an undeniable sense of shared respect for the property’s sustainability efforts.

One elderly couple from Tel Aviv revealed that they have been coming to Kedma for the third time now, captivated by the design aesthetics. Their words made me appreciate the architectural nuances of the place anew. I then crossed paths with a young Israeli woman, Levana, who raved about the food but cautioned about the room’s lock system.

kedma
Isrotel Kedma

Late at night, I joined Gila and Eran at the pool bar, where the soft lighting set the mood for a more earnest conversation. Gila was keen to discuss the spa, terming it an oasis of tranquility. Eran, on the other hand, found the dining room atmosphere too bustling for his taste but lauded the exterior and interior designs.

The day after, just before I headed to the hotel’s vegan-friendly breakfast, I happened to strike up a conversation with a French tourist named Claire, who was lounging in the lobby with a cappuccino in hand. She was utterly charmed by the hotel, yet she offered a unique European perspective that resonated with me. “You see, in France, the notion of luxury is more rigid, classical perhaps. Here, luxury is more… how do you say it… laid-back and integrated with the landscape,” she said, struggling for the right English words but perfectly capturing the essence.

Claire also shared her unexpected delight in discovering local vegan options in the hotel’s menu, a topic that immediately caught my interest. However, she wasn’t as impressed with the pool’s playlist. “The music, it is too… commercial? I’d have loved some indie or local tunes,” she mused. I found myself agreeing; the playlist could have been more carefully curated to fit the distinctiveness of Kedma.

During my stay at Kedma, I had the opportunity to engage in a fascinating conversation with the hotel manager, Yael. As we casually sipped on freshly brewed chamomile tea in the ethereal glow of the lobby, Yael shared a wealth of knowledge about the hotel and its surrounding environment.

From her, I learned that Kedma is a purposeful architectural tribute to the Negev Desert. “You’ll notice,” she said, “that the curved walls seem sculpted by the wind. That’s not just aesthetic. It’s an homage to the wind-sculpted rock formations found throughout the Negev.” I also found out that the hotel’s layout, centered around an open-air courtyard, was intentionally designed to echo the days of Nabatean khan-style living, blending seamlessly with the surrounding scenery and offering a tranquil base for local excursions.

She further explained that the hotel was built near Sde Boker to acknowledge its historical importance and the desert home of David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister. The hotel itself is situated along the ancient route once used by Nabatean merchants, making it an ideal location for exploring the rich history and magnificent natural landscapes of the area. “We want to be more than a hotel. We aim to be a starting point for the exploration of the Negev’s hidden gems,” Yael enthused.

Isrotel Kedma
Isrotel Kedma

Hearing all this from Yael not only made me appreciate the architectural finesse and the thoughtfulness in the services offered but also made me realize that Kedma is more than just a hotel; it’s a love letter to the Negev Desert.

Activities and Locale

One of the joys of staying at Kedma is that you don’t have to stray far to find a sanctuary of peace. The outdoor swimming pool became my immediate go-to, serving as a refreshing haven amid the sweltering desert high temperature. I felt like I was cradled in a liquid oasis, a stark contrast to the dry, expansive terrain beyond the hotel walls. The gentle ripples of water and the muted tones of relaxation that floated in the air created a harmonious blend, allowing me to momentarily forget about everything else and just be present.

The fitness center was another delightful surprise. While not the most advanced setup, it was well-equipped, accommodating, and exceptionally clean—meeting my needs for daily physical exercise. My fitness session faced a window that overlooked the serene courtyard, and I found myself lost in thought as my body mechanically pedaled away. It’s not every day you get to break a sweat while soaking in such enchanting views, a luxury that made my exercise routine far from mundane.

Local activities also added an enriching layer to my experience. The night jeep safari through the Negev was like no other experience I’ve ever had—a surreal journey through an ocean of stars and sand. The air was filled with whispers of ancient trade routes and desert secrets, as our headlights revealed fleeting glimpses of nocturnal wildlife.

Kedma on Booking.com

The Food

Now, let’s talk about the gastronomic journey. The breakfast buffet was an absolute delight, offering vegan, gluten-free, and kosher options that far exceeded my expectations. It was as if I was navigating through a labyrinth of flavors, textures, and scents. From crisp salads adorned with local herbs to hot oatmeal enriched with desert honey, each dish seemed to sing its own culinary poem. The dinner, though a bit on the pricier side, still managed to capture my interest. While it didn’t completely blow my mind, it was a satisfactory assortment of dishes that appealed to my vegan sensibilities and my ever-curious palate. I left the dining hall feeling nourished, both physically and experientially.

What I Learned

Local lingo always offers a fascinating glimpse into the culture of a place. During my stay at Kedma, terms like “Basari” and “Halavi” found their way into my conversations, enriching my understanding of Jewish dietary laws and traditions. “Basari” refers to meat dishes, while “Halavi” is related to dairy; such distinctions speak to deeper cultural rituals and beliefs that I found intriguing.

Isrotel Kedma
Isrotel Kedma

But language was just the tip of the iceberg. Engaging with the staff and locals, I delved into the multifaceted aspects of desert life. I learned about the sustainable practices the community employs to adapt to the harsh environment, like efficient water usage and renewable energy sources. I was particularly struck by how these practices are intertwined with a deep respect for the natural world, an ethos that permeates every aspect of life here.

Lastly, the universal language of hospitality was something that stood out. Whether it was the graciousness of the hotel staff or the kindness in the smiles of the local artisans, hospitality seemed to be a common dialect that everyone spoke fluently. It reminded me that, beyond words and languages, human connection and kindness are the most meaningful forms of communication.

Overall Impressions

Overall, Kedma by Isrotel Design met and slightly exceeded my expectations. I couldn’t ignore the slightly steep pricing, especially for dinner, but it was a trade-off for the ambiance and the experiences that the place offered.

Kedma on Booking.com

A Poem to Sum It All Up

The Oasis

In a desert sea, a ship of stone,
Where winds whisper and suns have flown.
A dance of shades, a splash of green,
In Kedma’s heart, a tranquil scene.
I tread its halls, I sip its air,
Each moment stitched with crafted care.
The desert’s tale, in bricks encased,
In Kedma’s arms, I found my space.

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