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The Jerusalem Luxury Hotel Triangle

Jerusalem is a city of wonders, both ancient and modern alike. The city’s welcoming contradictions blend 21st-century comforts with history-drenched relics from thousands of years ago. It allows visitors to be enveloped in a world of centuries past while still enjoying the trimmings of the modern world. This synergy of old and new is becoming increasingly apparent in the city’s luxury accommodation options. More specifically, Jerusalem and Israel, in general, are seeing a remarkable renaissance in terms of the range of hospitality choices on offer for visitors. Whereas once the luxury traveler options were relatively limited, there has been a remarkable progression in the Jerusalem luxury hotel landscape over the last couple of years.

Jerusalem Luxury Hotel Triangle Map
The Jerusalem Luxury Hotel Triangle Map

Three of the largest and most luxurious hotels in Jerusalem are located right near each other and form a triangle shape. We have conveniently termed this trio as “the luxury triangle.” At the top of the triangle is the Waldorf Astoria, while the base comprises the Mamilla and David Citadel Hotels.

The three triangle hotels are not alone in the luxury lineup of Jerusalem hotels, though. For example, the landmark King David Hotel is just minutes away from the luxury triangle. With that said, the three hotels provide unique offerings that, in our opinion, set them apart from the rest of the city’s luxury hotel pack. Aside from offering indulgent accommodations, various amenities, and top-notch service, the three triangle hotels are also unique because they are in prime locations. Within just minutes, a guest at one of these three hotels can find themselves within the walls of the storied Old City. Beyond being close to some of Jerusalem’s most historical sites, these hotels are also footsteps away from many of the city’s award-winning restaurants and trendy boutiques.

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Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem  

The Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem is the newest of the three luxury triangle hotels. Designed by Israeli architect Yehuda Feigin and Turkish interior designer Sinan Kafadarthe, the 226 room hotel officially opened its doors in 2014 to much fanfare and excitement. It took years and navigating of much red tape for the hotel to finally be completed. This arduous and lengthy construction process accompanies almost all projects that take place in the city of Jerusalem. After all, practically every excavation here results in the finding of some ancient and historical remnants, which in turn incurs delays for the antiquities authority to do their work.  

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Speaking of history, the Waldorf was built on the grounds and even used some original walls of the Palace Hotel, which was a British Mandate era hotel operating in the 1930s. Remarkably, this makes some of the structural aspects of the Waldorf Jerusalem older than the original Waldorf Astoria of New York City. The Palace Hotel was only in operation for a few years during the 1930s, though, with the grounds subsequently taking on various forms, including government offices for the newly formed State of Israel.

Fast forward to the current century, and the Waldorf Jerusalem is commissioned by the Reichman family of Canada, who purchased the property in 2005 from The Regency Group for approximately $20 million. The Reichman family are notable for being the backers of other renowned construction developments in years past such as London’s Canary Wharf. After being completed in 2014 and run by the Reichman’s for a few years, in 2017, the hotel was subsequently sold to Parisian Michel Ohayon for approximately $160 million. Ohayon is the hotelier behind the Waldorf Versailles, and InterContinental Bordeaux – Le Grand Hotel and a Jerusalem property was on his bucket list. The Waldorf Jerusalem ticked that box for him.

The Waldorf Jerusalem stays true to the Waldorf brand, with guests rating the hotel quite favorably with a 4.5/5 rating on Tripadvisor. The conglomeration of reviews speaks to the hotel’s core highlights, which include the comfort of the guest rooms, exemplary service, and delicious food.

Price

Besides being one of the most luxurious hotels in all of Israel, the property is also unique because it is one of the few hotels in Jerusalem where redeeming loyalty reward points for free or discounted stays are possible.  Waldorf Astoria belongs to the Hilton Worldwide luxury hotel and resorts brand. If one has either Hilton points or some other point currency transferable to Hilton, then dodging what can be a pretty high nightly rate becomes attractive.

Though much depends on the exact date in question, on average, the Waldorf Jerusalem is the most pricey hotel in the luxury triangle. The hotel has a range from the low end of approximately $300 to upwards of $800 per night. Unsurprisingly,  the most expensive rates clock around the high seasons, such as the Jewish holidays and summertime.

Dining

One of the most loved aspects of Israeli hotels is the famous “Israeli breakfast” at many of its hotels. Well, the spread at the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem takes the “Israeli breakfast” to new heights. The selection is seemingly never-ending. Indeed, it must be experienced in person to comprehend the grandeur of breakfast the Israeli way. Afterward, breakfast at home doesn’t seem to be the same anymore.

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In addition to breakfast and room service, the Waldorf has three core dining options.

The Palace Restaurant is the hotel’s main dining area. Breakfast, dinner, and the meals of Shabbat are served here. The restaurant is quite pricey, but the food is top-notch. There are special culinary events throughout the year, such as where visiting chefs from other Waldorf Hotel properties will visit and run the kitchen for dinner service. For example, recently, the chef from the Waldorf in Paris headed up a well-reviewed dinner.

The Kings Court Lounge is the hotel’s lobby bar and cafe. At night, the lounge is quite popular among those on dates or meeting friends.  

During the warmer months, guests can take advantage of the Garden Terrace. Located on the hotel’s fourth floor, the views and zen-like energy that the terrace offers are quite magnificent. Tapas-style menu items and craft cocktails can be enjoyed while relaxing among the trees and shrubbery that adorn the terrace.

On the subject of food and related services, the hotel has the largest hotel ballroom in Jerusalem and can host events, and in specific weddings, that are truly second to none. After all, is there anything more magical for a lover of Jerusalem to get married overlooking this mystical city?  

Service & Rooms

Upon entering the Waldorf Jerusalem and it’s opulent guest rooms, it is apparent that much effort went into balancing modern comfort with the extensive history of the city and the grounds the hotel stands on. From the outset, incorporating Israeli artisanship into the aesthetic and interior of the hotel was an essential part of the design ethos. For example, the wall panels throughout the hotel were created by Kibbutz Neot Semadar, a local collective specializing in creating unique design items.  

The Waldorf Astoria brand is known for emphasizing traditional notions of hospitality, and the Jerusalem Waldorf does not depart from this tradition. Anyone who has spent a significant period of time in Israel is likely aware that there is sometimes a unique idea of what constitutes service that may not align with what perhaps service means in the United States. Well, at the Waldorf Jerusalem, that could not be farther from the case. The hotel is run with excellence from the top down. This is illustrated by the fact that the hotel sources its senior management strategically and with intention. Take, for example, the current general manager, Avner On. Mr. On has decades of experience and has managed various Hilton branded hotels across the globe. Before Mr. On, the legendary Guy Klaiman managed the hotel and set the foundation for excellence in hospitality. Guy was subsequently lured away to lead the newly opened Ritz-Carlton Herzliya, part of the Marriott brand. This stress on first-class management often shows itself through small things. For example, a recently announced concierge book service at the hotel will provide guests with books at their bedside based on their literary preferences.

Another highlight of the hotel is the rooms that have balconies. These are quite a unique feature for a Jerusalem hotel, and there is genuinely nothing like taking in this breathtaking city from a balcony off of your guestroom. Perhaps you are even sipping an espresso while lounging. Setting the scene?

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With a great location, uniquely designed decor, and world-class service, it should be of no surprise that Condé Nast Travelers named the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem as the top hotel in the Middle East. We suggest that anyone who loves this amazing city to stay at this hotel at least once. It is hard for Jerusalem to get any more enjoyable, just as it is, but staying at the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem somehow takes the city to new heights.

Click Here To Book The Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem

David Citadel

As one walks past the Waldorf Astoria and heads toward the old city, they will see quite a large and grand structure on the right-hand side. Well, folks, this is the David Citadel. The Citadel originally opened as the Jerusalem Hilton in 1998. Shortly after that, though, it left the Hilton brand and operated under the Alrov Group’s auspices. The Group, founded by Alfred Akirov, also owns Mamilla Hotel, the other hotel at the triangle’s base.

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Designed in the shape of a horseshoe by the world-renowned architect Moshe Safdie, many of the 384 rooms that make up the David Citadel’s 11 stories offer mesmerizing and panoramic views overlooking the hotel’s pool and the Old City. The hotel went through a robust interior redesign spearheaded by the renowned Italian architect Piero Lissoni that was completed in 2016. The new decor is unique and took what was a fine hotel and made it exquisitely magnificent. Furnishings that are luxuriously sleek and modern finish the room but the natural light that floods many of the rooms strikes the right balance by making the accommodation feel comfortable and homelike. The dark wood tones are trademark Lissoni and add a certain sense of sophistication to the rooms.

The luxury and thoughtful design combined with the facilities make the David Citadel a gathering spot for delegations, celebrities, and dignitaries alike. The hotel’s GM, Rodney Sanders (an alum of Hilton brand hotels), can be seen greeting such VIP’s regularly. Like other world-class hotels, management here has a wealth of hospitality experience and knows what makes an enjoyable stay. Take Mr. Sanders, for example. A hotel industry vet with 45+ years of experience. If you are ever lucky enough to have a chat with Rodney, bring up cycling, a passion of his with personal meaning.

Price

While the price of David Citadel shares many similarities in terms of cost to the Waldorf, the core difference is the lack of ability to use reward points. This distinction becomes pretty significant as during the Jewish holidays and summer months, the cost of hotels in Israel and especially Jerusalem skyrocket. With that said, during the less popular seasons, the nightly rate hovers in the range of $350. For the more popular times, such as that of Passover, prices can exceed the upper $600 range.

Dining

Headed up by Chef Avi Tourgeman backed by Sous Chef Moti Pinchevsky, and a food service crew numbering more than 80, the David Citadel takes culinary service seriously. To ensure ultimate guest satisfaction, all food, whether for room service or in one of the dining rooms, is made to order.

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With a world-class hotel such as the David Citadel, it is of no surprise that they offer a strong lineup of dining options that range from casual to fine dining.

Scala, located on the hotel’s fourth floor, is the hallmark fine dining option and features Jerusalem style meat fare. As huge fans of the Jerusalem mixed grill at numerous places in the city, that dish is our recommendation for the meat aficionados. Scala’s menu in both English and Hebrew can be viewed here.

Seasons is the hotel’s communal dining area where buffets and meals for special occasions are generally served. This includes the great breakfast spread as well as Shabbat and holiday meals.

The hotel also has a sushi bar, which is on the 4th floor opposite the lounge. Speaking of the lounge,  it offers dairy and related cafe-style fare and opens to the terrace with views of the Old City walls. A variety of alcoholic beverages can also be enjoyed in the lounge too. The menu for the lounge’s food and drink offerings can be viewed here.

As if the already explored food offerings were not enough, the Citadel also has a grill and bar located adjacent to the hotel’s magnificent pool. American BBQ favorites such as various kinds of hamburgers can be enjoyed outdoors while taking in the almost not to be believed views from the pool. Your favorite alcohol-infused beverage can be enjoyed poolside as well. View the complete poolside menu here.

Service, Rooms, & Amenities

If you stayed at this hotel before the renovation, any future visits would feel like you are staying in a different yet vastly improved property. The core difference, in our opinion, is the change in decor that was undertaken. Lissoni brought the hotel and its rooms from relatively outdated and unremarkable to be capable of going toe to toe with some of the best luxury properties out there. The world-class interior design combined with the array of different room offerings, excellent service, and seemingly unbelievable views makes the David Citadel the trifecta of a stellar Jerusalem hospitality experience.

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The hotel also has a full feature gym with various scheduled classes such as the current fad-favorites of spinning and yoga. There is also a full-service spa at the hotel, which can be a much-needed treat of zen in a great but very hectic and bustling city.

The Citadel stays true to its catering to business travelers and those in the government sector by offering an executive lounge that provides convenience, comfort, and capabilities for various business-focused needs. These include a conference room, conferencing technology, and on-site dining options.

The David Citadel Hotel is a beautiful contradiction. The modernity and comfort that the hotel provides right amid immense history and antiquity are truly unique. Being a guest at this hotel should be on the bucket list for anyone who treasures amazing hospitality experiences.

Click Here To Book The David Citadel Hotel

Mamilla Hotel

Just across the street from The David Citadel and adjacent to the Mamilla Avenue shopping promenade stands the chic and modern Mamilla Hotel. Like The Citadel, Mamilla is also owned by the Alrov Group. In contrast to the larger Citadel Hotel, the Mamilla is smaller and stresses a bit more of the boutique and ultra-modern style.

In addition to the common ownership and proximity, there are several other similarities between the David Citadel and Mamilla hotels. Most glaringly, like the David Citadel, the architectural and interior design of the Mamilla is also a design combination of the storied Moshe Safdie and Piero Lissoni.

The interior of the Mamilla, especially when it comes to Lissoni’s interior, stands in stark contrast to the design ethos embarked upon for the Citadel. Most notably, the Mamilla boasts sleek and contemporary modern decor, while the Citadel, which is modern and still has traditional hues such as the wooden accents throughout the interior.

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The Mamilla Hotel sits on quite a historic spot. The hotel is located in a small Jerusalem neighborhood called Mamilla. This neighborhood was one of the first commercial areas built outside the walls of the Old City. This makes sense as the Mamilla shopping promenade, which at present makes up the majority of the historic neighborhood, is literally adjacent to the Old City. In that way, the Mamilla Mall & Hotel acts as a bridge from the ancient and revered Old City into the bustling Jerusalem downtown area. Though some find this stark transition to be jarring, the Alrov Group, who developed the mall in addition to the hotel, preserved the structural integrity of buildings that composed the Mamilla district to maintain some of the historic look and feel. To this day, when strolling through the mall, it is hard not to notice the numbering of the bricks that make up the exterior of the shops. This is because, during the mall’s construction, these buildings were taken apart and then reassembled based on the numeric codes mapped out prior.

Price

As with practically all Jerusalem luxury hotels, the Mamilla hotel varies significantly when it comes to price depending on the year’s time in question. Jewish holidays such as Sukkot and Passover are usually the most costly, and staying during the summer comes along with quite a steep cost. There are also random times during the year when conferences or groups staying at the hotel can spike the price. We see a range of $300 for the less popular dates to $600 and beyond for the more hectic times. With that said, there are a variety of dates throughout the year where a stay at this unique and memorable hotel can be booked for under $300. Also, there are offers available such as the current discounted rate for stays of more than three nights.

Dining

When it comes to dining and food offerings, like Alrov’s other Jerusalem property, The David Citadel Hotel, The Mamilla does not disappoint. It also offers quite an array of dining options and some hidden gems in the spirits and smoke categories.

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Let us start with one of our favorites, which is the Mirror Bar. Mirrors do indeed line the walls of this lively disco style watering hole, hence its namesake. The bar is unique in the Jerusalem context as most bars in the city are more cavernous and have a vintage Jerusalem stone vibe. We love those bars as well, but Mirrors is certainly a nice change of scenery. Disco beats and modern pop are what we generally hear at Mirrors though some surprises come to the music that harkens back to seemingly far gone eras. Somewhat unusual for a bar, cigars are on offer via an adjoining room and can be smoked quite enjoyably on an adjacent balcony. A cigar with a glass of cognac on a terrace enjoying the Jerusalem air… for a few moments, life may seem perfect.  

The hotel also boasts one of the greatest views in Jerusalem via its rooftop. Offering sweeping multi-directional views, one can enjoy a drink and take in both the magic of Jerusalem’s ancient history by looking in the direction of the Old City as well as its modern reincarnation by looking toward the streets that make up the City Center.

Happy Fish, the hotel’s main restaurant, is headed up by the hotel’s chef, Cobi Bachar. Alrov Group certainly did not cut corners here. Cobi is an experienced culinary artist who has worked at Michelin starred restaurants and ensures that fresh and inventive dishes make up the hotel’s food offerings.

Mamilla Hotel adds quite the unique touch when it comes to Jerusalem hotels by way of its wine bar with an on-site sommelier. The wine bar is headed up by Efi Kotz and offers a broad selection with a concentration on the great vinos coming out of Israel.

Service, Rooms, & Amenities

Mamilla Hotel is made up of 162 rooms and 32 suites of varying sizes. As with other luxury hotels, there is also a magnificent presidential suite. There are family-friendly suites that offer more space and a way to configure into separate rooms via a sliding panel. The guest rooms’ interior design is the work of Piero Lissoni and features large windows that let in lots of natural light. The aesthetic is a blend of stark angles with light hues throughout to give a cosmopolitan feel. The ancient nature of the city is present as well by way of the trademark cream-colored Jerusalem stone. The bathrooms lend to the modern aesthetic and are feature-filled to include deep tubs, rainforest showers, and glass walls that turn opaque with the simple flip of a switch.

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Unique to the Mamilla Hotel, each guest room is assigned a personal host. The options for capitalizing on this amenity are numerous and range from the host booking tours to recommending and reserving dinner at Jerusalem’s most popular restaurants.

Beyond the comfortable rooms, the hotel has a spa called The Akasha Wellbeing Center. The Center integrates a combination of creative western and eastern practices that promote natural healing and rejuvenation. As part of the spa, a Turkish Hammam takes relaxation and renewal to new heights.

The hotel has a fitness center that offers a variety of classes that include spinning and yoga. Don’t forget to check out the sundeck that has excellent views and a relaxing vibe. For those with professional responsibilities, making use of the quiet executive lounge is a good choice and features a variety of conferencing capabilities as well as food and beverage service. True to its designer and culture-centric ethos, Mamilla has an on-premises gallery exhibiting artwork by some of Israel’s homegrown artists.

The Mamilla Hotel is a refreshing and chic option for anyone looking for a memorable stay in Jerusalem. It balances the ancient and historic city with modern comfort and style and provides for a peaceful oasis in what can be quite a hectic city.

Click Here To Book The Mamilla Hotel

The Jerusalem luxury hotel triangle awaits you…

Which hotel will you choose?