Bezalel Hotel, Jerusalem – An Atlas Boutique Hotel

Bezalel and the joy of Jerusalem

Bezalel Hotel, JerusalemAn Atlas Boutique Hotel

Jerusalem has been attacked 52 times, captured 44 times, besieged 23 times and destroyed twice. And still she stands. A marvel. Battered and bruised, proud and unnerved. One of the most iconic, one of the oldest cities in the world – a must-see on anyone’s bucket list.

The days of down-trodden donkeys beating a well-worn path are thankfully long gone, postcard clichés have been replaced by a new high-speed rail network taking you from Ben Guiron Airport directly to central station in Jerusalem in under 20 minutes. Jerusalem has been upgraded since Biblical times, and yet strangely, it feels like coming home, a warmth and calmness exudes. A respect for a bygone era that continues to profoundly influence the world.

The Old Town is a melting pot of different cultures and religions. Today, sellers will peddle pomegranate juice, keyrings with ‘Jesus was here’, ashtrays, and Israeli Defence Force t-shirts. Bartering on the Via Dolorosa is a part of life, and one suffers if one doesn’t haggle.

Pilgrims flock from far and wide. Tour guides with unopened umbrellas held aloft, a marker to follow the leader, their voices barking commands above the bustle. Beetling through the cobbled streets, matching fluorescent baseball hats, not daring to stop for too long to paw over the merchandise, lest your group disappear into the throng pouring down the alleyway to the Western Wall.

This is Jerusalem, old meets new, a blessed melange.

The Bezalel Hotel is an integral part of this new world. Part of the Atlas Hotel Group, with 16 boutique hotels across Israel, it encompasses art and design in a way that perhaps its older counterparts lack. Quirky yet sophisticated, a style of its own.

It is a stone through from Machane Yehuda Market. Many Jerusalemites see the market as the emerging symbol of Jerusalem, not the Western Wall or the Tower of David. ‘MachneYuda’ as it is affectionately known is a hive of activity. Food, culture, art, drinks, shopping, all wrapped in an endless buzz of chatter and laughter.

The aromas will seduce you in, the flavours will keep you there.

Purchase a bite card, it entitles you to try a variety of products, Kubbeh Soup, meat Patty a la Plancha, washed down with an Israeli boutique beer. Refreshing.

In keeping with this hip and exuberant vibe the Bezalel ensures art and design is at the heart of the hotel.

The courtyard is unassuming, sandstone walls and bikes for rent do little to warn you of the artistic flair inside.

The Bezalel Hotel is an integral part of this new world. Part of the Atlas Hotel Group, with 16 boutique hotels across Israel, it encompasses art and design in a way that perhaps its older counterparts lack. Quirky yet sophisticated, a style of its own.

Entering the reception, you are struck by the mosaic tiled wall. Vibrant blue, green and black patterns offer a refreshing welcome, as does the homemade chocolate and expresso. All very warranted after a reasonably long trek.

The hallways are tastefully decorated by Israeli artists and photographers. One such black and white photo shows Menashe Kadishman, a famed sculptor who’s works can be seen in Habima Square.

Dark wooden doors flank the light sandstone walls. Aromas of spices, honeyed warm breads and sultanas waft from the kitchen.

The lounge and dining area have wooden shutters keeping the blazing sun out during the day and keeping in the ambience in the evening. Books are everywhere. Uplighters, ornaments and more books. Contemporary and cultured.

There are 37 rooms, each one designed to be cool and restful, mixing art with comfort.

A birdhouse is installed on the wall, local food on the dresser; grapes, nuts and of course dried pomegranate. There is a fully installed coffee maker, kettle and teas, alongside homemade biscuits.

Hessian cushions on the bed are emblazoned with ‘Imagine Jerusalem’. A welcome bottle of Cava chills on the bedside cabinet. The luscious grey blackout curtains are a welcome addition, ensuring the air conditioner works only as hard as it has to.

Breakfast is a delight. Freshly cooked eggs to order, or feel free to eat from the buffet, a celebration of Israeli cuisine. Bikes are available free to rent, a very eco-friendly method of exploring the city. Happy hour is complimentary, imbibe at will.

The Bezalel has a lot to offer in this eclectic city, refreshingly vibrant with a reverend nature.

‘Imagine Jerusalem’. For many, it will not be what you were expecting, it will be so much more.  If you choose to visit the holy city stay at the Bezalel, you will feel blessed to spend time here.

More information: www.atlas.co.il/bezalel-hotel-jerusalem

Photo Credit: Sivan Askayo

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