You will of course spend the majority of your Israel gap year staying in your apartment with your flatmates. However, there will be some times when you are free to travel for nights away. These are fantastic opportunities to explore the country independently. While on these trips, you will need accommodation, and if you want something a little out of the ordinary, then Israel has plenty of options.
For instance, there are many places across the country where you can stay in yurts. A yurt is a type of tent that has a tipi-like shape and a wooden frame. Some of them are truly luxurious. For example, Genghis Khan in the Golan has five air-conditioned yurts that come with private bathrooms attached. Four of them can hold up to ten people, so it is a great option when travelling with a group of friends. Then are many similar sites across the country, so you can repeat the experience in lots of different areas.
Staying with the idea of getting back to basics, at Kibbutz Neot Semadar you can stay in guest houses that are built of hay bales and homemade mud bricks. It may sound like you will be sleeping in a barn, but is actually extremely comfortable accommodation. While there, you can also explore the kibbutz’s organic winery, cheeses, vegetarian foods, and other organic products.
Those of you who enjoy making music will love The Prima Music in Eilat, it is like no other hotel you will have been to. Each floor of the hotel features a different genre of music that you can listen to in your room through an audio system that uses a smartphone connection. More impressively, the hotel has a recording studio where guests are free to record themselves singing to backing tracks and then take a CD home as a souvenir. There is even a music club for kids with activities such as karaoke, and a Retro Club, where guests can listen to old LPs. Even the hotel’s pool plays you music when you are underwater.
There are a number of other options for creative types. For example, in Tel Aviv you can stay at the Cinema hotel, located in an original Bauhaus building that was home to the Esther Cinema in the 1930s. You can still see some of the original projectors and film posters while classic films are shown in the hotel lobby.
If you have always wanted to live in a castle then you can do just that at the Dona Castle Boutique Hotel in Tiberius. The castle was built in 1745 and it was originally connected to the Ottoman-era city wall. The castle was damaged in 1837 by an earthquake but it underwent a full restoration and renovation in 2007 and it is now a beautiful hotel that holds artist workshops.
There are many more options for quirky accommodation in Israel. There are buses that have been converted into hotels, Ottoman and crusader era hotels, Bedouin tents, and so on. If you are going for a weekend away, then why not look into some of these options to make it an experience you will never forget.