After a record-breaking year for Israel’s foreign tourism industry in 2017, with Jerusalem (33%) eclipsing Tel Aviv (24%) in overnite stays by foreign tourists for the first time in several years, (according to Israel’s Ministry of Tourism), 2018 is already showing tell-tale signs of yet another banner year for hotel owners across the country. The barometer revolves around the forthcoming Pesach vacation season, when thousands of foreign tourists, many of them from the USA, spend anywhere from 8-10 days in the Holy Land soaking up the unique spiritual atmosphere and inviting Mediterranean sunshine.
For Amir Bahat, the General Manager of Isrotel’s new flagship Orient Jerusalem Hotel, Pesach 2018 represents a particularly unique challenge. “This will be our first Pesach hosting guests from abroad in the new hotel after opening in late 2017. The challenge for me is to not only make this an unforgettable Pesach experience for our guests but to use Pesach as an example to show how we will transform the Orient Jerusalem into the best hotel in Israel,” said Bahat.
The Orient Jerusalem Hotel is located in the trendy German Colony, on a historic site once inhabited by the German Templar Society. It has been dubbed as the “Crown Jewel” of Isrotel’s Exclusive Collection of 5 star hotels, (Cramim, Beresheet, Carmel Forest Spa Resort, Royal Beach Tel Aviv, and Royal Beach Eilat).
The Orient Jerusalem’s prime location is one of its best selling points for tourists looking to explore the area. It is situated at the crossroads of Jerusalem’s historical, cultural, and leisure meccas-20 minutes from the heart of the Old City and just one minute away from HaTachana, the city’s first-ever train station (built in 1892), which has become a lively district of designer boutiques, trendy cafes, chef-driven restaurants, and unique galleries.
An amalgamation of old and new and a junction of East and West, the hotel itself comprises of 243 beautifully-appointed guestrooms and suites in its newly constructed central building, as well as a selection of opulent accommodations inside two expertly preserved Templar Buildings from 1882 and 1883. The complex underwent years of meticulous restoration by restoration architect Eyal Ziv in collaboration with the hotel’s principal architects, Yehuda, Dov and Yoel Feigin of Feigin Seamlessly blending high-quality stone, wood, tile, and glass, the property evinces Jerusalem’s past and present: a centuries-old city and modern-day metropolis all in one.
The Orient Jerusalem has also taken the recent hotel trend of injecting “artistic” elements into their surroundings to the next level.
The Orient Jerusalem Contemporary Art Collection is located throughout the grounds of the hotel. Previously displayed at both the Tel Aviv and Israeli Museums, the Collection was purchased by Isrotel – making it one of very few collections owned by a hotel chain.
Guests are also pampered by an array of amenities and personalized services that underscore a concerted effort to highlight elite international hotel standards. Recent visitors to the hotel have boasted that the Orient Jerusalem is one of the few hotels in Israel, where they can find staff members who actually speak American accented English. “We know our clientele and want them to feel at home, so yes, we have worked diligently to hire Anglos and Americans to our staff. Other members of our staff have been brought from our Beresheet Hotel, which has received high marks in the international media for its premier services. It’s also a place where many English-speaking tourists like to stay as well,” Bahat added.
Amongst the pampering services offered to guests is the spa and wellness center. Through a variety of ritualistic body therapies and beauty treatments, the services extend far beyond the basics, offering an authentic Turkish Hammam and a selection of rarefied experiences from the Far East, including Ayurveda and Shiatsu therapies. Managed by the Carmel Forest Spa (named by SpaFinder as the Best Spa in the Middle East several years in a row), the facility consists of two pools, including an awe-inspiring rooftop infinity pool overlooking the Old City and surrounded by plush private cabanas. “
Many five star hotels bank on the holiday culinary extravaganzas created by their Executive Chefs in order to lure and satiate the appetites of well to do guests, who know what superior food looks and tastes like. “Our clientele will actually have a choice of Pesach dining venues. Guests, who either stay with us for 3 days or throughout the 8 day holiday can partake in their own private seder in the main dining room or enjoy a public seder in our events hall, where a renowned chazan will lead the service,” Bahat revealed. “Our Executive Chef, Shlomo Ben-Eli, who has worked at the Waldorf Astoria and various Isrotel hotels is known as an innovative culinary expert, who has already prepared fascinating Glatt Kosher Pesach menus for guests.”
Lior Raviv, the Chief Executive Officer of Isrotel believes that Orient Jerusalem actually represents a turning point for the future of tourism in the region. ”Opening the Orient Jerusalem marks an important milestone in a line of tourism improvements in Jerusalem,” he claimed. “We are honored to see years of hard work and collaboration come to life as what is sure to be one of the top hotels in Israel and beyond.”