One reason we chose Ramat Rachel for our digging experience was the quarters. Many digs want the volunteers to stay in hostels or four in a room. Here the dig is next to a four star hotel, owned by the kibbutz, and we got a discount.
Well, it isn't what we would call a four star hotel. Terri called it a four star hostel. Maybe two stars in the states, maybe a bit more. But it does have the best outdoor pool in the region, a spa, and Terri was impressed by the gym, although she had to pay about eight bucks to use it.
A gym story. Terri was lifting weights and found the equipment set up for people with longer arms, which made it difficult to put the bars back safely. The attendent noticed and kindly offered to spot for her. She asked where Terri was from and explained: "Women in Israel don't lift weights. They are afraid they will get big muscles."
"Not unless they take steroids," said Terri.
The food is buffet style a thte hotel and is included in our fee. There is a lot of it and some of it is good but it is repetitive - I cheer on the rare occasions when their excellent couscous appears. The meals are fleische (meat as opposed to dairy) which brings up my big complaint.: dessert. Since they can't have milk with the meals why are desserts imitation cheesecake, imitation cream pie, imitation ice cream, dairyless pudding, etc? Why not fruit pie, cookies, nut bars, jello, or other things that need no milk? (To be fair, fruit pies showed up occasionally, but the imitation milk was a constant.)
One thing I need to say about the hotel: we forgot to ask for a smokefree room until a few days before we arrived. They managed to round one up and that was much appreciated.
On the other hand, whenever the maid cleaned our room we smelled smoke. One day we came in and the TV was on and one of the waterglasses in the bathroom contained an unfamiliar toothbrush. Now, THAT was creepy.
Inevitably some of the staff speak better English than others (They all speak it better than I speak Hebrew.) One day I called and asked that something be brought up to our room, 668. The woman at the desk assured me that they had no room 668.