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The Glorious Restoration Tel Aviv is home to many great, even superb hotels – but The Jaffa Hotel is unlike any other. How so? Because of the layers of history steeped deep into every brick and stone of its structure. It took ten years to restore this exquisite edifice and transform it into one of the most luxurious hotels in Israel (and in the world). Here’s the story of how a 19 th century hospice became a 21 st century luxury boutique hotel / By Yulia Prilik-Niv
The Jaffa Hotel has been added to Luxury Travel Magazine Condé Nast Travel’s latest list of best hotels in the world. But it took a lot of imagination to envisage the ultrachic hotel it is today, when stood in front of the derelict ruins of the 200-year-old building on the corner of Old Jaffa’s Yefet and Louis Pasteur streets. And yet, 25 years ago, a group of visionary architects and investors did just that. After ten years of work and planning, they succeeded in bringing this diamond in the rough back to life (and making archeological discoveries along the way). Meticulous restoration and modern design The story of the Jaffa Hotel starts in 1995, when talk began of making changes to this area of the city. Once the Jewish-American real-estate investor and fervent Zionist Aby Rosen entered the fray, the project
took flight. He bought the land from the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph and recruited British architect John Pawson to join Israeli architect and urban planner Ramy Gill, who was already involved in the project, to work on the building’s transformation, and add an extra wing as well. Restoration projects such as this one, invariably involve overcoming numerous hurdles, and the bigger the project, the bigger the hurdles. Gill and Pawson were met with one such hurdle when the remains of a 13 th century Crusaders’ garrison were discovered underground, when work on the building’s foundations were taking place. The Israel Antiquities Authority stepped in, and the project was stalled, until the decision to integrate the remains of the garrison walls into the project’s design was taken. Today, the remains are visible as you walk into the lobby, and they continue right down into the beautiful inner courtyard.
Photos: Amit Geron
24 ATMOSPHERE FEBRUARY 2023
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