Recently opened, the newest addition to the Scots Hotel in Tiberias is the
Lakeview Wellness Center. As part of a growing trend, the luxurious spa center is in a historic building that belongs to the Scottish Church.
history of the Scots Hotel dates back to the 1880s, when a group of Scottish
missionaries, led by Dr. David Watt Torrance, came to the Holy Land to
preach and to heal. Torrance built a hos- pital in Tiberias, which served
patients from as far away as Damascus. It later became a maternity hospital,
serving the population of the Galilee.
In 1959, the hospital’s three
buildings were converted into a hostel for pilgrims, and then a modest guest
house. In 2004, after an investment of some $16 million, the hos- tel was
upgraded and turned into a first-class boutique hotel.
The old buildings
were superbly refurbished, retaining the Ottoman feel of the late 19th
century, while incorporating some Scottish elements in the furnishings and
interiors. Beautiful gar- dens were laid out around the hotel, and today one
does not have to be a member of the church or a moth- er-to-be to enjoy
sitting in the shade of flowering jacaranda trees and date palms.
year the hotel was awarded four and a half stars by the Trip Advisor Internet
site. Why not five stars? A half was taken away because, as the site editors said, “a hotel such as this
should have a spa.” What they didn’t know was that the management was close to
sign- ing the contract with L’Occitane to open the spa center. Part of the
reason the negotiations took so long was that both parties wanted to be sure
that the place was run according to their strict stan- dards.
near the swimming pool, across the road from the hotel on the shore of the
Kinneret (with access from the hotel via a pedestrian bridge), the black basalt
building was constructed in 1896 as a shelter for orphans of all reli- gions.
The top floor housed the class- rooms, and the children lived on the ground
floor. In the 1950s, the building became a nursing school for the hospital and
later operated as a hostel for pil- grims and volun- teers who had come to work
for the church.
A tremendous amount of work was put into preserving the
old features and turning it into what it is today. While maintaining the
original structure, architect Edna Yishay-Wilson gave the old building a new
dimension by mak- ing use of the beautiful dark arches and combining them with
pristine white plaster. The doors were adorned with modern features, and the
furnishings all have old-world charm.
After their treatments at the spa,
patrons are invited to relax in the rest area overlooking the Kinneret,
surround- ed by wooden porches, palm trees and magnificent gardens. A huge
tree-shaded Jacuzzi, as well as an array of tables and chairs, offer more spots
in which to relax.
There are nine treat- ment rooms, all decorat- ed with
the basalt stone combined with blue ceramic tiles. There is one double room, a
yoga and Pilates room, a Turk- ish hamam, a well- equipped gym and a store that
sells L’Occitane products.
L’Occitane was founded in France in
1976. The company offers nat- ural cosmetics, guided by the principles of
herbal medicine, and advocates social and eco- logical awareness and
responsibility. The two bodies chose to work together because their values are
very similar. On the one hand, it is a quality boutique hotel that is run
according to very strict standards and has a unique character. On the other
hand, there is a cosmetic compa- ny that vows to use only the best, natu- ral
ingredients, grown in the fields of Provence. The result is the beautiful
three-story Lakeview Wellness Center.
All the treatments offered at the
spa were conceptualized according to L’Occi- tane’s guidelines, which are
adopted by top hotels worldwide. The staff was accordingly trained by the
company’s head of spa, who came to Israel to teach the routines, such as special
massage techniques and the signature aromatic oil foot and body massage that is
given at the beginning and end of every treat- ment.
Other new features
at the Scots Hotel are a library that offers Internet access and Friday
Twenty of the rooms were upgraded within the last year,
offering an interme- diary category class between the stan- dard rooms and the
Treatments at the Lakeview Wellness Center are offered not only
to the guests of the Scots Hotel. Visitors to the area, as well as guests of
other hotels, are wel- come to spend a few hours of their day at the
Prices range from NIS 220 for a 25- minute treatment to NIS 680
for a 90- minute facial. On average, most of the treatments cost about NIS
For more information and reservations, call (04)
The writer was a guest of the hotel