The Mamilla Hotel in Jerusalem captivates guests the moment they enter the lobby. Most five star hotels have nice and often elaborate lobbies, but what sets the Mamilla Hotel apart is that the space feels like a designer showroom and the modernistic decor almost contradicts its historic and conservative location near Old Jerusalem. I am a huge fan of mid-century modern and contemporary design, so I felt right at home at the Mamilla. While some fine hotels feel stuffy, the Mamilla made me feel like I wanted to envelop every square inch of the space.
One of the challenges of being a professional travel blogger for such a long time, is that fewer and fewer experiences are really remarkable. Take hotels for example, I have stayed at four and five star hotels all over the world, and while they are always quite nice, most are not remarkable enough for me to string together a series of words to eloquently describe…often what I end up penning seems cliche. The Mamilla however, is a hotel that I joyfully share with you.
After checking in and walking toward the elevators, I stopped as I was struck by the grand staircase which was made entirely of thick gauge iron plate steel. As someone who has a fair amount of experience working with metal, I could appreciate the craftsmanship. The perfect bends and twists of such thick gauge steel is not an easy maneuver to achieve. The staircase also has subtle designs cut out of the plate steel, while the stair treads were also made from iron. It actually took me a while to make it to my room as I kept stopping to admire a piece of furniture, artwork or design element. Once I exited the elevator on my floor, I noticed how sleek the walls were, almost as if the walls and doors blended together harmoniously. As I inserted my key into the door and tugged to open it, I noticed how thick and solid the door was. As I moved forward, letting the door close behind me, my senses were in overdrive taking in all of the design features and elements.
Immediately to my left was the bathroom which was completely walled in by clear glass. At first I thought there wouldn’t be much privacy for couples, but after flipping a few switches, I quickly learned that with the flip of a switch, the glass turned from clear to opaque. There were essentially three rooms within one. There was the toilet area with its own frosted glass door. The vanity with a square stone pedestal sink, and then the bathing area with a rain shower and a wonderful soapstone rectangle-shaped tub. The walls and floor were lined with what appeared to be some sort of Italian stone, I’m not sure if it was travertine or perhaps a marble. The bathroom was essentially an Italian modern masterpiece.
The king-sized bed had wonderful down pillows and comforter with high thread count Egyptian cotton linens. There was a nice desk and a large screen T.V. which was placed inside a steel frame, the bottom of which was used to store the remote control and other utensils. The closets and mini bar area were also designed to perfection, the drawers and doors had slow-close hinges to minimize neighbor disturbances. I will say that for a five-star hotel I was surprised by how petite the room was, while it was perfect for my needs, I could see it being a little cramped if a couple were staying in the room. For this level of hotel I might have also expected to see a bidet in the bathroom, but those are my only two critical observations.
I stayed at the Mamilla Hotel for four glorious evenings, during which time I got to experience other aspects of the hotel. One area I found myself enjoying several times was the sun deck which overlooks Old Jerusalem, an extraordinary spot to take in the solace of the city. There is a bar/restaurant at one part of the rooftop deck, but I did not partake, I merely took in the views and snapped a few photos. I did, however, indulge in a wine tasting at the Mirror Bar, a chic and shimmering ambience with a mix of elegant and contemporary decor. At both the Mirror and Wine bar they offer a large selection of kosher Israeli wines from some of Israel’s most prestigious wineries.
While I did not take advantage of the swimming pool, I did have a look at the indoor oasis while exploring the hotel. There is also a wellness center, a few restaurants, an espresso bar and several other amenities at the Mamilla Hotel. During my stay I had access to the executive lounge, which was a nice place to relax after a long day at the travel conference I was in town to attend. At the executive lounge there is a nice spread of food, cocktails and sweet treats to enjoy.
Because I was attending meetings everyday, lunch and dinner were provided, so I didn’t have an opportunity to try the restaurants at the hotel, with exception to the magnificent breakfast buffet each morning.
I don’t typically mention architectures or designers when I write, but in this case I would be remiss if I did not honor the extraordinary talent that dreamed and crafted the masterpiece that is the Mamilla Hotel. The collaborative project was created by Moshe Safdie (lead architect) and Pierro Lissoni (designer). Pierro is an Italian architect and designer and his heritage is felt throughout the design. I’ve often said that when it comes to fashion/clothes/shoes, cars, art, architecture, leather and furniture, no one in the world does it better than the Italians. Mamilla comes from the Arabic phrase meaning “That which comes from God,” which seems about right when it came to creating Mr. Safdie and Mr Lissoni, two extraordinarily talented people with a vision for creating something so remarkable as the Mamilla Hotel.
If you’ve ever stayed at the Mamilla Hotel, please leave a comment below and share your experience.
Mamilla Hotel Information:
Address: 11 King Solomon Street | Jerusalem 9418238
Phone: 1-8888-665-338 (U.S.) +972.2.5482200 (local)
Rates: $375-$1100 depending on accommodation level and booking method