This Sleek, Modern Hotel Is Just Outside Jerusalem’s Old City – Hotels Above Par


A favorite of visiting diplomats and tastemakers, the Hotel Mamilla sits just beyond the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem, near Jaffa Gate. Opened in 2009, it’s part of the Set Collection, whose chic sister properties include Hotel Lutetia in Paris, the Conservatorium in Amsterdam, and Hotel Café Royal in London, among others.

Designed by Israeli architect Moshe Safdie with interiors by Italian designer Piero Lissoni, the hotel exudes a tasteful contemporary style. As soon as you enter the airy, double-height lobby, the first thing you notice is the sculptural steel staircase that contrasts against the pale limestone walls. The long reception desk is on the right; to the left there is a small bar and lounge area; straight ahead are several seating areas with an eclectic arrangement of furniture, including antique Chinese chairs and a Barcelona sofa by Mies Van Der Rohe.

The hotel is kosher and has two restaurants: one for meat and one for dairy. Set in a bright tiled space on the ground floor is Happy Fish, which serves Israeli and Mediterranean dishes like falafel, mezze, and catch of the day. The rooftop restaurant, which offers stunning views of the city, offers burgers and grills. A buffet breakfast with continental dishes and Israeli specialties like shakshuka is served in the ballroom. The Mirror Bar is currently under renovation.

There’s a small indoor pool on the lower level, but the Akasha Spa is in a different building accessed via a pedestrian bridge that crosses Mamilla Avenue. Here you will find the gym, fitness classes and treatment rooms for massages, hydrotherapy in a watsu pool and hammam treatments.

Being a kosher hotel geared towards religious guests means there are quirks like a Shabbat setting in the rooms, which turns lights on and off at pre-scheduled times, and a special elevator that stops at each floor on Shabbat . (Religious Jews are prohibited from using electrical appliances and even elevator buttons on the Sabbath.)

Rooms have a clean design with neutral hues and pops of color like green or orange on the beds. The bathrooms have carved stone sinks and glass walls that change from transparent to translucent at the touch of a button.

Best takeaways:

Location: Jerusalem

The atmosphere: Sleek and modern with some eclectic design touches.

Evaluation: Five stars

Our favorite of the hotel: Fabulous design that feels modern yet warm and eclectic.

Food + Drink: Happy Fish focuses on dairy and, you guessed it, fish with light Mediterranean options. The Rooftop is an outdoor oasis for carnivores, with grilled steaks, lamb chops and burgers. A buffet breakfast with continental and Israeli specialties is served in the ballroom, also available for private events.

Approvals: indoor pool, spa, fitness center, three restaurants and bars

Nearby attractions: Jerusalem Old City, Jaffa Gate, Western Wall, Dome of the Rock, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Mamilla Avenue shopping promenade

Rooms: 194 rooms — our favorite is the Mamilla Suite, which sleeps three and has sliding partitions separating the bedroom from the living area.

Pricing: Rates start at $486.

Nearest airport: Ben Gurion is located between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, with trains to both cities.

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