What you should know when checking into hotels in Israel
Most hotels in Israel use the same specific terminology, provide similar services and facilities yet, under different levels.
Here are some terms and habits to help you start your stay.
Further information I shall provide during the tour.
Checking in procedure at Reception desk
A photocopy of your passport and immigration slip will be taken at hotel reception.
You will get some information about hotel facilities and Breakfast time. Don’t forget to ask about internet services, and how to dial from your room to the reception desk, or to another room (in case you have more than one room).
The terms used are: single bed or double bed (one big bed).
Two single beds in the room are called “Twin Bed Room”. Sometimes the “Single” bed is Queen-size, sometimes smaller. Sometimes the “Double Bed” is King-size, sometimes the size is of two “Single Beds” that are connected.
Hotel extra services payment and VAT (Value Added Tax)
Always charge your room for extra services at hotel, room service, meals, drinks, Gym, Spa treatments etc. This way you save 17% VAT (value added tax). Tourists in Israel, are exempted from this tax at hotels they stay in.
Tips for hotel staff
It is customary to tip bellmen for luggage services, upon arrival and departure. Same with waiters at the bar or hotel restaurants. If you enjoyed a good service from other hotel staff, they will appreciate a tip.
The Famous Israeli Buffet Breakfast is served in most hotels. In most cases, breakfast is included in room price. The Israeli Breakfast is dairy, sometimes includes cold fish dishes, cheese, eggs, salads, vegetables, bread, pastries, juices, coffee, tea.
Give yourself some time in the morning, before the tour starts, to enjoy this sumptuous breakfast.
Kosher food rules at Israel hotels
Almost all hotels in Israel (95%) keep Kosher rules in food and beverage facilities. That means, restaurants, bars and coffee shops in the hotel will serve either dairy a menu (including fish), or meet menu. Hotel restaurants never mix dairy and meet products in the same hotel restaurant.
Shabbat (Saturday) at Israel hotels
Shabbat is observed by all hotels that keep Kosher rules (about 95% of hotels in Israel). Shabbat starts Friday at sunset and ends Saturday evening.
Due to Kosher rules, hotels will refrain from certain dishes that need to be cooked or prepared on the spot, hotels will not use coffee machines (you can still get hot coffee), one or two of the elevators will operate as a “Shabbat Elevator” – preset to stop on every floor. The rest of the elevators will keep working as usual. If you stay at a hotel on Shabbat, and do not observe strict Shabbat rules, try to avoid using a Shabbat elevator on Saturdays.
Wake up call
Call reception or operator if you need a morning wake up call.
Ask the hotel reception for electricity adaptor if you need to charge cellphones, cameras, etc.
I can also provide an adaptor.
Drinking Water from taps
It is perfectly all right to drink tap water anywhere in Israel. If you want to be extra careful, drink bottled water, called in Israel: “Mineral Water”.
At the Dead Sea and Eilat (and Jordan), it is recommended to be extra cautious, and drink bottled water.