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Reviewed June 28, 2010

Kibbutz Lotan is a fascinating experiment in ecological living. Visiting is interesting to see how the members are truly dedicated to preserving and enhancing the environment. The rooms are small and poorly equipped. The room itself had two beds pushed together to form a queen, a third bed that became our dresser, a bookshelf and a desk. There is air conditioning, thankfully. No tv, phone, or clock (but we didn't miss them). The bathroom is incredibly small, like an old cruise ship. A small kitchen has a sink and a refrigerator. BUT == the floors are covered with a fine sand, which makes them feel dirty, and the bed felt the same. The food in the dining hall is very limited in variety, and simply prepared. Campers would probably do fine here. Anyone wanting a hotel should look elsewhere.

  • Stayed: June 2010
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Thank Mutyi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed June 21, 2010

Firstly, the previous reviewerss need to remember that this is a kibbutz, not a 5 star hotel and it certainly does not profess to be one. It is a small oasis in the centre of a very dry, hot area and it is just delightful to spend some time in a place that is a bit out of the way. The accomodation is perfectly fine as a kibbutz experience - cute self contained rooms. Mine was clean, comfortable and most importantly the air conditioner was very effective in the heat. The food in the kibbutz dining room was basic but tasty and it was lovely to eat with the kibbutz families. The special meal we had in the lovely tea room was outstanding - wonderful, delicious and inspiring. Thank you to the chefs! We had a very interesting tour of the kibbutz and heard all about its journey - past, present and future (Thanks Mark). For a great kibbutz experience stay here and in doing so you are also supporting the kibbutz.

  • Stayed: May 2010
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1  Thank Robyn3127
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed June 13, 2010

KIBBUTZ LOTAN ECO TOURIST VILLAGE: A DISAPPOINTMENT

Kibbutz Lotan is an ecologically oriented Reform Jewish kibbutz in the southern Aravah about 30 miles north of Eilat. Although perfectly situated for exploring the area while not staying in the kitschy tourist mecca of Eilat, for us, Lotan was something of a disappointment.

On the plus side, the room was very nice (plain, nothing fancy) and would have been perfect had we been a family of three instead of four; to sleep four, we had to put a mattress on the floor at night and put it back on top of the bed during the day. The mattresses were comfortable, and having a refrigerator and air conditioner meant we could have cold drinks and avoid the desert heat. They have an amazing swimming pool that is perfect for beating the late afternoon heat, comfortable outdoor hammocks, and their ecological village, which is separate from the hospitality business, was quite impressive. The tour of the eco village is fascinating, and we left with ideas that we want to try at home.

That said, overall, we were disappointed on several points:

(1) We arrived late in the day, famished and looking forward to dinner, which turned out to be light and bland in the extreme – fruit, bread, skimpy salad (the salad was actually gone by the time we walked in), and boiled corn on the cob. Even so, all would have been fine, except the food was crawling with flies. This may be standard by the kibbutz standards but was unpalatable to guests concerned about hygiene who were charged $10 apiece for this meal.

(2) We asked about other restaurants and were told there was no other dining in the area, except at other kibbutzim. In fact, we later learned that there are two decent roadside inns/pundaks within 5 miles: (a) the 24-hour regional hub at Kibbutz Yotvata serves adequate hot meals and has take-out burekas and salads and (b) the utterly charming Ne’ot Samadar Inn has fine casual dining (www.neot-semadar.com).

(3) We also asked about the nearby world-famous wildlife conservation center (Yotvata Hai Bar Reserve) and were surprised that no one at the kibbutz knew anything about it. We went the following day and it was a highlight of our trip. It surprised us that people so concerned with the environment had no consciousness of the local fauna.

(4) We wanted to hire a kibbutz guide to take us on a desert tour to show us things we could not see on our own. We set a time for him to come talk to us the first evening to see what he could offer. He never showed up, and never called to apologize or follow-up. Nevertheless, we felt pressured the next day by the hospitality office staff to hire him anyway, sight unseen. They could sense we were ticked off but kept pushing anyway until we said no thanks and went off on our own.

(5) We had hoped to learn about kibbutz life, but during our 3-day visit, we met no one who evinced any interest in talking to us, and the only ones who were truly friendly were fellow travelers. Reading other reviews after our return home, we can see now that our expectations were misplaced. With a constant stream of short-term visitors, the residents don’t care much about interacting with the tourists. Understandable but disappointing nonetheless.

In short, our hosts appeared not to know anything about the world just outside their gate and appeared uninterested in encouraging the exploration of their region or the economic success of their nearest neighbors. If you don’t mind the insular consciousness of the community, the rooms are quite comfortable for two or three people (for more than three people, get two rooms), the pool is heavenly, and the eco village is of great interest. If you want to take time to see Timna National Park and Hai Bar, this area is a good location (maybe the other kibbutzim also have rooms; we had not checked them out because Lotan looked so appealing). If you do stay at Lotan, you are better off dining elsewhere even though breakfast is included in the cost of the room.

  • Stayed: June 2010, travelled with family
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4  Thank heavenlyjane
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed March 31, 2010

We visited the Kibbutz Lotan as part of a group tour. The Kibbutz itself is definitely worth a daytime visit, since they are doing extraordinary things to be "green". However, the overnight accommodations were awful. Our room was supposedly "newly renovated"!! We had severe water leaks in both the kitchenette and bathroom. We killed at least 40 flies in the room. And the room was extremely dusty. Others in our group complained about mold in their bathrooms, and unacceptable smells in their rooms. Our included dinner was shared with the kibbutz families and was simple but fine. Breakfast was served to us in the tea room, in a charming area of the kibbutz that features incredible recycling and ecology. In sum, we'd suggest arranging a tour of the kibbutz, but sleeping elsewhere.

  • Stayed: March 2010
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1  Thank MusicMajor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 week ago
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  • Stayed: August 2018, travelled with family
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tamar B, General Manager at Kibbutz Lotan Desert Inn, responded to this reviewResponded 6 days ago
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