Akiva ben Avraham
Akiva ben Avraham

The Tzefania Hotel: a Jerusalem Landmark

When I got divorced at the end of 2012, I left Israel and went back to the states for awhile.  I permanently came back in August of 2015.  I hosteled and stayed in some temporary accommodations for awhile.  However, one of the most interesting historically was the Tzefania Apartments Hotel at 4 Tzefania Street in Geulah.  It services the needs of tourists who are interested not just in the nearby Old City, but also in the historic neighborhoods of Mea Shearim and Geulah.

If any of you have read my postings before, you know of my love of history.  That is why I love this hotel!  It is full of history and antiques that take you back to the early history of the New City.

The Tzefania is one of the oldest heritage hotels in the city of Jerusalem and meets the specialized, individual needs of small groups from abroad who wish to celebrate private, unique and outstanding family events that will last for generations.  The staff excels in personal treatment of the clientele, catering to their needs individually, regardless of their background or religion. Jerusalem is the home address for all of humanity for heritage, history and culture and certainly the hotel and the neighborhoods of Geulah and Mea Shearim are no exceptions either.

The hotel building was begun in 1930 by the Persian Giladi family, although it was not opened finally for business as a hotel in 1947.  The family itself is a piece of the Jerusalem heritage and history.  The present owner, Yitzhak Giladi’s father was a plumber and a metal worker.  He worked in his spare time in the construction of the building at 4 Tzefania St. while the family lived in the Kerem Avraham neighborhood.  He did work in many important Jerusalem buildings and the family counted themselves as neighbors of and knew famous Israeli personalities as writer Amos Oz and the poet Zelda.

Since opening its doors, it has always been run by a select and high quality staff as well as the Giladi family.  Yitzhak Giladi, now 77, was born and grew up in the hotel.  His personal memories of the building, the neighborhoods of Geulah and Mea Shearim and the Old and New Cities will enrich any visitor’s knowledge of the heritage of Jerusalem.

What I really like about the hotel is that the Giladis wish to maintain it in its historic character.  While small and simple, a lot is packed into the environs.  The courtyard is walled and quiet with beautiful gardens.  The antiques are inside and out, as you will see in the ongoing video coverage.  My first coverage will simply be a teaser, but will give you the flavor of a building that still retains the flavor of more than a century.

Inside, the rooms are continually maintained and upgraded, while retaining 19th century furniture, parquet floors and chandeliers.  This is no corporate enterprise.  Similar Golder’s Green or Swiss hotels in this class have lost the family touch and show they are owned by a big company.  Unlike these places, the Tzefania is a stop that will give the visitor the feeling of living in Jerusalem the way a Jerusalemite does now and in the century previously while still getting a real value for your budget.

Get in the time machine folks and come for a visit.  The ride is fun!

About the Author
Akiva ben Avraham is a former community college adjunct, US Army intelligence analyst and officer, and a caregiver.