Dramatically located on a hill overlooking The Dead Sea, this kibbutz and its low-rise accommodations are set amid the exotic plantings of the only internationally registered botanical garden in which people live. For visitors to this Eden, it’s hard to believe that before 1949 there was nothing but barren rock here. This location, a 20-minute drive from Masada, makes a good base for those who want to climb Masada at dawn, explore the region at their own leisure, or just enjoy the beauty of the place with its gorgeous swimming pools. There are four kinds of accommodations at a wide range of prices. Standard rooms are basic, but set amid wonderful gardens and air-conditioned. Upgraded rooms and new mini-suites and deluxe-plus rooms are more luxurious; some offer decks that overlook dramatic vistas. Guests are offered free admission to the Spa at the Dead Sea and optional desert excursions as well as occasional Bedouin evening cookouts. A kiosk for food supplies opens twice daily. It’s possible to arrive here using public transport, as the kibbutz provides a shuttle down to the Ein Gedi Dead Sea Spa and to the public beach, but a car is essential in order explore the area. Ein Gedi is heavily booked by groups, so reserve far in advance. This is a “green” hotel, and also a kibbutz community—service is basic and practical.