Invited to a party in northern Israel for the day, we decided that if we could find one of those last-minute deals for accommodation we’d stay the night as well. So, days before we set out to the Galilee, I refreshed the Hulyo tourism app on my smartphone and started scanning our options.

Hulyo is one of Israel’s popular last-minute deal apps, offering hotels, flights, holiday packages and transportation at cut-rate prices. The app is in Hebrew but uses similar booking online sites including Booking.com, Amadeus and cityride to help find super deals for its Israeli customers.

Although I have shopped online in the past, I have always been hesitant about booking accommodation through a third-party site even if they’re offering a better deal.

But our friends swear by these sites and so we decided to try our luck this weekend and find that elusive family room for a one-night stay somewhere close to the location where the party is being held.

A room for two adults and three children is not that easy to come by in summer in Israel. But again, knowing that we can always drive home to Tel Aviv, booking ahead and paying premium price was never our preference.

Hulyo found over a dozen available rooms for us. Many were extraordinarily pricey but one of them offered a great family deal. A click on the offer brought me to galleries, reviews by other customers, and a description of the place.

Our front-runner was located 10 kilometers from the area where we will be: The Oak Hills Hotel (which I had never heard of, but that wouldn’t necessarily disqualify it) was even highlighted for me by the app as the “best” pick.

Booking.com sends Lebanese value deals. (screenshot)
Booking.com sends Lebanese value deals. (screenshot)

There was just one little problem: The Oak Hills Hotel is located in Lebanon.

Hulyo’s feeder service — Booking.com – truly did find the closest family hotel option. Of course, while the worldwide web is border-free, Israelis are not allowed to cross into Lebanon. So we’ll have to wait on that “great family deal” until the 10-kilometer stretch of road is indeed open to all.