Tali Sharon
travel, culture, culinary, sports, fashion, beauty

The Orient Hotel Jerusalem — Heritage meets Leisure at the German Colony

Orient Rooftop Pool, photo: Ori Ackerman
Orient Rooftop Pool, photo: Ori Ackerman

The Orient hotel has become famous for its unique architecture and location at the German Colony in Jerusalem. However, it is much more than that, it is a pampering leisure hotel with a full-fledged spa, rooftop swimming pool overlooking the old city, excellent culinary and remarkable service.

The Orient hotel is situated at the edge of the German Colony, a neighborhood dating to 1873. The entrance to the hotel is a plaza with two authentic buildings on its sides, the schools of the German Templers that were conserved and are a cornerstone of the old-modern architecture of the hotel.  The hotel belongs to Isrotel’s Exclusive Collection and is entirely modern, but its unique architecture brings the heritage of the German colony into the hotel.

The hotel is 10 stories high but it goes below the surface and its heart is an open courtyard (patio) two levels down that serves as an outdoor dining area. It can be seen from almost everywhere in the hotel – glass walls bring in the light, the view of the patio, and the old houses. What I especially liked in the décor was the way the old and modern merge together.  The center of the lobby is a three-dimensional old-style circular staircase. The décor has a touch of blue in the rooms that is very lively, and besides brining the sky and sea ambience, it makes it young and vivid.

Orient Architecture, photo: T. Sharon

Although only recently opened, the Orient has become one of the leading venues for conferences, including for the government. This is not surprising, as the lower level includes state of the art events facilities that can serve up to 800 people. And it is available for rent for private events, weddings, bar mitzvahs, etc.

The location

The Orient hotel is situated at the northern edge of the German Colony, and its back faces the old station, where many restaurants, boutiques and cafes are open all week long. It is less than a mile from the Tower of David and there’s a free shuttle from the old station to the old city. Also, the Train track park starts here and stretches from the station for over 7 km and is ideal for walking, running or riding bikes. I find this location and its history an unusually romantic place to stay at.

Each Saturday, the hotel offers a complimentary tour of the German Colony in Hebrew and English (not to be missed!). Ilan, the guide, was raised here and knows each and every interesting building and its story. As we walked along the narrow streets and alleys of the colony, we learnt about the history of the colony and the German Templers who settled here. We also stopped at the nostalgic Smadar cinema, this is the original cinema house that has been operating since the days of the Templers!

When at the lobby, go down to the lower level, where there is an exhibition of old artifacts from the colony and an interesting digital presentation.

Orient Heritage House, photo: M. Sharon

Rooms and Suites

The hotel has 243 rooms and suites, some on the heritage buildings that were renovated in the spirit of the neighborhood. All the rooms are modern and include supreme décor and the utmost comfort.  We stayed at the heritage house, where each room is different, as the conservation work kept the original walls. However, it was totally renovated and is modern with the historical appeal of a standing bath, Jaffa ceramic floor tiles and a hanging balcony.

Heritage suite, photo: M. Sharon

Most of the rooms have a view of the city (and/or the old city), but nothing compares to waking up to the view of the walls of Jerusalem, Tower of David and Mount Olives!

Spa and Recreation

While the Orient may look like a city hotel, it is also a leisure hotel. It has a small but luxurious branch of the Carmel Forest spa located on the lower floors of the hotel. The spa facilities include an impressive indoors pool, Turkish bath, sauna, gym and rest area. The quality is high and ambience perfect – just like in the well-known Carmel Forest spa hotel, but on a smaller scale. Still, the spa offers more than 70 body and beauty treatments!  I started the day with a Swedish massage in one of the 7 luxurious spa rooms and I can highly recommend it; the therapist was very professional and I felt so refreshed and ready for a busy day after it!

Beyond the spa, the real gem of the hotel is the rooftop pool! Wow what a pool! It is a 20m long endless pool with the breathtaking 360’ view of Jerusalem, mount olives and the walls of Jerusalem! The pool is heated and there are cabanas and seating areas, and a rooftop bar – perfect! and there’s also morning Yoga on weekends. We spent some time there in the evening and came back for a morning swim as well!

Orient Rooftop Pool, photo: Ori Ackerman

Culinary

Do you fancy a tasting tour of Israel? Of the local markets? No need to travel far, as I discovered in the morning – breakfast at the Orient is like a culinary tour! The heart of the breakfast buffet is a stand of fresh pastry similar to what you would find in the local outdoor markets, alongside it are hot plates with local specialties such as green and red Shakshoukas, Kenafeh and other local delights. The buffet is divided to authentic quarters including Mea She’arim (Gefilte Fish, Kugel, etc.), Machane Yehuda (local Halva, nuts, jams), the old city, Jordan Valley (dates and almonds), the Mountains (cheeses from the Galilee), and others. And there are of course sweet pastries (croissants, cakes, waffles, pancake, etc.), fresh fruit, coffee and eggs by order. All we had to do was to load our plates, sit at the patio and enjoy the summer breeze while eating and having good coffee. I feel confident to crown it the best breakfast in Jerusalem!

Orient Breakfast, photo: Ori Ackerman

The lobby restaurant “The Khan” offers dairy meals during the day and evening, and I was told that they are planning to offer concept dinners at the dining room soon, so there’s something to look for in the future. And meanwhile, there is also a dairy lounge.

When I came to the orient hotel, I thought that it is going to be yet another expensive hotel in Jerusalem; nothing prepared me to that pampering experience! Take my word and come here, even just for breakfast or a spa-and-dine package – you will thank me afterwards!

Information: https://www.isrotel.com/isrotel-hotels/jerusalem/orient/

The writer was a guest of the hotel.

About the Author
Born and lives in Israel, married and a mother of 2, loves sports and fun.
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