The Jaffa Hotel, A Luxurious Encounter With A Storied City
Gently rising above the Mediterranean Sea, the ancient port city of Jaffa encloses millennia of history within its beige buildings and sun-kissed streets. Today, as Tel Aviv’s vibrant southern precinct, it continues to draw throngs of tourists to its biblical sites, bustling markets and fascinating museums. The Jaffa Hotel offers an immersive experience of these enchanting environs, from the most luxurious seats in the house.
Recently debuted by The Luxury Collection Hotels and Resorts, the Jaffa Hotel is the first of its kind in Israel, and arguably, the rest of the world. Breaking the mould of luxury hotels that shy away from the hubbub, it dives right into the heart of its historic precinct. Occupying the premises of a 19th century landmark – the French Hospital and its adjoining convent – it roots itself firmly in Jaffa’s urban fabric. Guests find themselves a short walk away from the bars, museums, concept stores and flea markets that give the area its hip new character. Upon retreating to their rooms, they are treated to gorgeous views of the ancient port and the Mediterranean Sea.
Location aside, the Jaffa Hotel’s architecture, interiors and creature comforts embrace heritage and luxury with equal fervour. The renovation of its heritage building is a collaborative effort by acclaimed London-based architect John Pawson and a team of local designers and conservationists led by Ramy Gill. Together, they transformed the premises of the historic hospital and convent into an ensemble of 120 luxurious rooms and suites. They also designed a modern adjunct housing 32 private residences, with both wings of the hotel converging around a verdant courtyard.
Pawson and Gill’s combined attention to history and modernity is visible in how the Jaffa Hotel retains the rough-hewn look characteristic of the ancient port city. There is a quiet dignity to the imposing stone walls and arched colonnades of its heritage building. The occasional glimpse of a stained glass window serves a delicate complement, while scores of trees and artful landscaping bring tranquillity to the ensemble.
The interiors of the hotel retain a plethora of original details and showcase a rich mix of architectural styles through masterfully restored 12th century stonework, Arabic trellises, and neo-Roman stucco. What is more, these historic elements are juxtaposed with carefully chosen furniture and finishes, resulting in fascinating journeys through sprawling, high-ceilinged spaces. The vast open lobby in particular offers a heady mix of Mid-Century furnishings, dramatic artwork, and original Arabic architectural details.
Rooms and suites within the heritage block pay a similar tribute to the old and the new, designed as restful havens in neutral shades, complete with high ceilings, tall arched windows and elegant marble bathrooms. Accommodations within the new annexe have more contemporary overtones, though they share the same colour palette, soft lighting, luxurious appointments and gorgeous views as the rest of the establishment.
The hotel houses a variety of alluring spaces, be it the atmospheric bar-lounge that resides within a former chapel. In addition, the stylish Italian-American restaurant with patio seating, the all-day deli with its distinctive New York City vibe, the serene pool area and outdoor bar, or the lux spa hidden away from it all. Relaxing yet indulgent, the experience of staying at the Jaffa Hotel is a fitting match for its refined good looks.