Jerusalem’s Herbert Samuel Hotel is a new beacon in the heart of the capital.
By SHAWN RODGERS
Jerusalem’s Herbert Samuel Hotel is a home away from home. Located in the heart of the city, just at the intersection of Jaffa and Ben Yehuda Street, the hotel is a beautifully refurbished old building that retains the authenticity of its origins, while at the same time providing every modern facility. It is also within walking distance of the Old City and the Western Wall.As we entered the hotel, we were struck by the beauty of even the entryway. The reception area is warm and friendly. Rich wood and soft, inviting fabrics make up the lounge and comfy couches. Everything feels opulent and sophisticated without being stuffy or pretentious. The main design of the hotel is a contemporary homage to Mandatory Palestine and of course Herbert Samuel, who served as high commissioner in the region from 1920 to 1925.The Herbert Samuel is part of the exclusive Orchid chain of hotels that includes Setai Tel Aviv and the Setai Sea of Galilee. In all, there are 134 rooms in the hotel, three of which are luxury suites.After the splendor hits you, the next thing that you will surely notice is the friendly and professional attitude that all of the staff members display here. We arrived a couple hours early and they allowed us to check in immediately.Spacious, clean, light, airy and comfortably furnished, our room was everything you need, and more, and the design makes maximum use of the space, complete with very comfortable beds, lovely squishy duvets, a writing desk, large flat screen TV and free Wi-Fi. There is complimentary bottled water, a kettle with tea and coffee, mini-fridge and even a Nespresso machine. As an added personal touch, the management presented us with a platter of fruit, a chilled bottle of white wine and chocolates in our room.We marveled at the gorgeous bathroom with its separate frosted glass rain shower, which was large enough to accommodate three people!The beautiful shower was equipped with an overhead waterfall shower and a hand-held nozzle. It has been some time since I have savored a 30-minute shower, but I literally had to wrinkle like a raisin before finally getting out!After settling in to our lovely room, we donned the provided bathrobes and slippers to head down to the hotel’s spa. Located at one of the bottom levels of the hotel, every aspect of the spa is well thought out, beautifully designed and immaculately maintained. And it’s the details – from polite, relaxed staff to imaginative lighting – that make this place well worth a visit.The spa offers a wide range of holistic practices, rejuvenation and beauty treatment experiences for body and spirit. Some of the various treatments offered to hotel guests and outside visitors alike include deep-tissue, Swedish massages, as well as facials and aromatherapy . While the spa is obviously aimed at the Herbert Samuel guests, it is open to the general public as well. When making an appointment for treatments, guests are asked whether they want a male or female staff member. If this is important to you, make sure to double-check the roster beforehand.In addition to the spa, there is a workout room, fully outfitted with the latest equipment, plus a dry sauna/steam room as well as a heated indoor swimming pool with a lifeguard.Our deep-tissue massages were fantastic and we never once felt rushed. The massage studio was tranquil and extremely clean with wonderful aromas and an inviting warm table. They set the mood with some very calming and relaxing music as well as the low lighting. During most deep tissue massages I’ve had at other places, the masseuse would weaken as the massage would progress. Not this time! She maintained the same pressure throughout the entire massage. I was so impressed.After a wonderfully relaxing afternoon that concluded with dinner in Mahaneh Yehuda, we decided to call it a night and returned to our delightful room. It is often difficult to fall asleep in a bed that is not your own, but these beds and, most importantly, the pillows, were extremely comfortable, and we slept soundly.Our breakfast the next morning was excellent. Located on the 11th floor, we chose to have our meal outside on the terrace, while appreciating the breath-taking views of the city.There were separate areas for salads and spreads, eggs, fish, cheese, fresh and dried fruits, cereal, yogurt and an assortment of breads and cakes. They even offer a falafel corner, whereby they supply all the individual ingredients to make your own pita.The service was friendly and efficient, even though the meal was self-serve. There was also a separate coffee station where attendants make up cappuccinos and espressos to order. All food in the hotel is kosher.All in all, it was a wonderful stay. We could not have been more pleased with the location or the services provided. An added bonus is that the hotel offers bikes to use, free of charge, to explore the city. Herbert Samuel caters to guests with an appreciation for the finer things, and its prices reflect its target audience. It is the perfect place to relax, indulge and rejuvenate.For more information about Herbert Samuel, visit www.orchidhotels.co.il or call (02) 560-0600.The writer was guest of Herbert Samuel.
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