Opened in June last year, the 194-room Mamilla Hotel was the only Israeli venue on the Travel Sunday Times’ November list of top 100 hotels in the world. In October, Condé Nast India Traveller named it one of the 50 best new hotels in the world, along with Neve Tzedek Hotel in Tel Aviv. And in September, both Wallpaper and Fortune magazines listed the Mamilla as the only Israeli hotel among its contenders for best business hotel of 2010.
“From the outset, our goal was to open in Jerusalem a truly modern, world-class hotel that will be adopted and enjoyed by a global, well-traveled audience,” says Massimo Ianni, COO of Alrov Luxury Hotels Holdings, owner of the property designed by renowned Israeli-born architect Moshe Safdie and decorated by Milanese interior designer Piero Lissoni.
While English is the primary language heard in the hotel, all its European-trained hosts are multilingual. It’s their job to escort each guest from reception desk to room or suite, describing along the way the hotel’s luxury services and explaining how to operate avant-garde features such as the liquid-crystal panel between the bed and bath areas, the flat-screen integrated TV/PC, and the electronic version of the “Do Not Disturb” doorknob sign.
“You cannot imagine how many countries our guests come from,” hostess trainee Odelia Peleg tells ISRAEL21c in excellent English. “China, Japan, Australia, Germany, the US, the UK… everywhere you can think of.”
A tour of the hotel makes clear it’s positioning as a business travel and meeting destination, owing to its Macintosh-equipped Business Center, high-tech-enabled meeting rooms and amphi-style screening and lecture room – as well as its wine bar, cigar lounge and espresso bar. However, within its sleekly minimalist décor rich with floor-to-ceiling glass and its mix of bespoke, antique and Chinese furnishings, the Mamilla has family-friendly touches such as an indoor wading pool for kids and onsite childcare services.
The hotel stands at the juncture of King David and King Solomon streets, where tourists have their pick of luxury accommodations. Down the block is the historic King David, and across the street to the south is the Alrov-owned David Citadel. Directly across from the Citadel, the Waldorf Astoria is readying its 220-room Palace Jerusalem.
Jerusalem’s Champs Elysees
Rounding out the opulence of the ancient Mamilla neighborhood is Alrov Mamilla Avenue, a Safdie-designed shopping plaza intended as the Champs Elysees of Jerusalem. The hotel is accessible from the mall and both structures conserve the Jerusalem stone and Ottoman architecture to provide a modern foil to the timeless quality of the adjacent Old City walls. The rooftop sundeck of the Mamilla provides a rare view of the Tower of David and Jaffa Gate to the east and downtown Jerusalem to the west.
Hostess Peleg points out the specialty areas in the Mamilla’s new 1,000-square-meter Holistic Wellbeing Center, which includes not only workout and fitness class spaces but also a full-service spa, meditation room, music room, organic foods bar, sound and aromatherapy and Watsu pool for hydrotherapy. Myriad tiny ultramarine tiles line the indoor pool area and its health bar, which are available to non-guests for a fee.
Aside from the hotel’s guest dining room (where a full Israeli breakfast is included in the room price), all eight kosher eateries are open to the public, such as the Mamilla Café, the terrazzo-style Rooftop Brasserie and the Mirror Bar. Customized musical recordings are piped throughout the facility, chosen to complement each area specifically.
“Our hotel should act as a storyteller – a window through which guests can see and experience the very best of Jerusalem,” says COO Ianni.