8 fabulous art hotels in Israel

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    This goes way beyond the ubiquitous poster prints of Matisse or Picasso found in hotels everywhere.


    Art hotels are all the fashion around the world and Israel has a handful of its own. These hotels go beyond the ubiquitous poster prints and lobby sculptures found in hotels everywhere.

    In Israel, some hotels host exclusive exhibits – like the Carmel Forest Spa Resort and the Mizpe Hayamim Spa Hotel. There are bed-and-breakfast rooms in the Ein Hod Artist’s Colony near Haifa and in Moshav Aniam artists village in the Golan Heights.

    But true art hotels are usually dedicated to a certain kind of experience for guests interested in culture. Waking up beside a masterpiece or alongside an installation can give you a creative jolt to start your day.

    So, if you daydream about living with art or having a private museum (even if only for a few days), be sure to book a room at one of these 8 art hotels in Israel.

    Diaghilev Live Art Boutique Hotel, Tel Aviv

    Diaghilev-eating: Backstage is a bar-cafe in the Diaghilev Live Art Boutique Hotel. Photo: courtesy

    Diaghilev-eating: Backstage is a bar-cafe in the Diaghilev Live Art Boutique Hotel. Photo: courtesy

    Diaghilev Live Art is named after Sergei Diaghilev, an early 20th century Russian art critic, publisher, patron and ballet founder. The décor takes its cue from Diaghilev, who was known for combining different artists and styles into new experiences. Opened in 2010, it displays some 600 pieces by 40 Israeli artists in its common spaces and unique art pieces in each room. Guests won’t find the same display or even style of art on return visits.

    The Art Gallery Hotel, Haifa

    This Bauhaus-style hotel has nine exhibitions of Israeli art installed throughout the building every day. The hotel encourages the public – as well as its guests – to come and view the art being produced by the local creative community.

    Back in 1938, this hotel was designed to host statesmen such as David Ben-Gurion, Yitzhak Rabin and Moshe Sharet. Later, the structure became an office building. But in 2006, a group of entrepreneurs decided to restore the hotel’s past glory. Four years later, the Art Gallery Hotel opened.

    By the way, take a look at the mezuzahs on every doorpost – no one is the same. Artist Gila Klein created each one using a unique technique that meshes glass with ceramic art.

    On Saturdays, guests can take a free guided walking tour of Haifa art and architecture.

    Elma Hotel, Zichron Yaakov

    Elma hotel

    Elma hotel

    Not only does the Elma Hotel serve up breathtaking views from its location atop the hills of Zichron Ya’akov, but this complex creates a cultural sensory experience. Arts patron Lily Elstein bought the building in 2005, intending “to create a world-class center for the arts and boutique hotel.”

    The hotel boasts two enormous galleries devoted to visual and plastic art paintings and sculptures by artists from Israel and abroad, plus four studios for artists-in-residence and two full-size concert halls.

    According to the Elma mission statement, “In a world in which art is too often roped off from the rest of life, we believe it should be part of every day, even every moment. And we strive to weave it into every guest’s experience.”

    Artplus Hotel, Tel Aviv

    The Artplus Hotel in Tel Aviv, just steps from the beachfront promenade, is dedicated to Israeli art. The Atlas Hotel Group converted it from an ordinary hotel by commissioning local artists to create murals and art pieces for each of the floors.

    And no two floors give off the same vibe. In the common areas, you can find Zadok Ben-David’s sculpture “Evolution” and Sigalit Landau’s DVD triptych “Dancing for Maya” alongside retro-style furniture. The small hotel is meant to give guests a sense of the cultural aura of Tel Aviv.

    Bezalel Hotel, Jerusalem

    The Atlas Hotel Group’s second art hotel is located in the heart of Jerusalem, near Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design — Israel’s national school of art. The new 37-room hotel, which opened at the end of 2016, promises guests a “unique collection of Israeli contemporary art together with original furniture and local craft [that] will ensure a fascinating and unique experience.”

    Leonardo Art Hotel, Tel Aviv

    A hallway in the Leonardo Art Hotel, Tel Aviv. Photo: courtesy

    A hallway in the Leonardo Art Hotel, Tel Aviv. Photo: courtesy

    The Leonardo Art Hotel, one of many seafront hotels in Tel Aviv, is also an art gallery boasting more than 300 original artworks from the Shiff collection of leading Israeli and international artists. Most of the artworks are in common areas and hallways though some can also be found in the guest rooms.

    The Efendi Hotel, Acre (Akko)

    This boutique hotel doesn’t claim to fit the art hotel definition. However, the hand-painted ceilings and detailed fresco from 1878 make this a culture-infused place to stay nevertheless.

    Opened in 2012, The Efendi consists of two 19th century Ottoman-era mansions reconstructed under the supervision of the Israel Antiquities Authority. Artisans from Italy were brought in to restore the ceilings and fresco. Each of the 12 ornate rooms has an exclusive style and character, including Turkish marble floors, contemporary Italian furniture and regional antiques.

    Casa Doña Gracia Hotel and Living Museum, Tiberias

    If you’ve ever wanted your own night in a museum, this is your chance. The Casa Doña Gracia Hotel and Living Museum claims to be the only hotel museum in the world.

    Exhibitions and dioramas bring guests into the life of Gracia Mendes Nasi (also known as Beatrice de Luna), one of the wealthiest Jewish women of Renaissance Europe. The museum is devoted to her life and deeds as a keen businesswoman who tried to establish Tiberias as a refuge for Jews escaping the Inquisition.

    The 66-room hotel effuses 16th century character; each floor is decorated according to one of the Renaissance-era cities in which Doña Gracia lived: Lisbon, Antwerp, Venice and Constantinople.  

    By Viva Sarah Press  ( Israel21c)


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