A luxurious stay at the slope of the Bahai Gardens

Botanical gardens from around the world served as the inspiration for the recently opened Botanica Hotel from Fatal’s Limited Edition collection.

 THE INTERIOR of the Botanica Hotel in Haifa is inspired by the lush flora of the neighboring Bahai Gardens.  (photo credit: AYA BEN IZRI)
THE INTERIOR of the Botanica Hotel in Haifa is inspired by the lush flora of the neighboring Bahai Gardens.
(photo credit: AYA BEN IZRI)

Botanical gardens from around the world served as the inspiration for the recently opened Botanica Hotel from Fatal’s Limited Edition collection. This luxury hotel, designed by architect Guy Arbel and interior architect Nestor Sandbank, is situated in Haifa’s German Colony. In addition to being a concept hotel, it is also a pampering hotel that features an infinity pool overlooking the view of the Bahai Gardens, a spa, and an expansive cocktail bar.

We were welcomed at the hotel with specialized aromatic hibiscus tea and spicy Turkish delight, an introduction to the botanical atmosphere. The hibiscus tea infusion is part of the hotel’s signature; it is also offered at the entrance to the dining room, in the spa, and in the hotel’s cocktails. At the reception, we were introduced to the hotel’s services, which include a concierge who assists in finding trips, restaurants, entertainment, and more. From here we made our way via the beautiful lobby to the elegant rooms.

The Botanica Hotel is decorated in lush colors inspired by the flora of the Bahai Gardens. Flower arrangements are everywhere, including the lobby, in the rooms, and even in the bathroom! These are changed according to the season, the holiday and the theme – such as shades of red, silver and gold during the December holidays. Throughout the hotel, a variety of artworks of figurative-realistic style inspired by nature sprout from the walls.

Each floor’s décor has its own color: yellow, light blue, blue and red. The carpets in the corridors, the room design and the furniture are inspired by the designated color. During our stay, we were assigned to the blue floor. As we made our way along the blue corridor, there was a carpet with a graceful orange tree pattern, and we entered our blue room through a blue door. Yet the blue didn’t overtake us; it merged into the room’s design as a leading color.

We stayed in a Bahai room – a corner room that is closest to the Bahai Gardens. Its two French windows open to views of the gardens– a mesmerizing sight that changes throughout the day and night as the light changes. When in bed, instead of watching TV, we watched that view! One of the French windows turned out to be a small standing balcony. 

 THE INTERIOR of the Botanica Hotel in Haifa is inspired by the lush flora of the neighboring Bahai Gardens.  (credit: AYA BEN IZRI) THE INTERIOR of the Botanica Hotel in Haifa is inspired by the lush flora of the neighboring Bahai Gardens. (credit: AYA BEN IZRI)

The Bahai room is also more spacious and has a seating area (blue of course). The room is equipped with a Nespresso machine and amenities such as a mini bar, a safe and a bathroom with aromatic L’occitane perfumes and a pampering rain shower.

The Botanica Hotel is also a venue for leisure and relaxation. It has a seasonal pool, spa and gym. The hotel’s infinity pool and sun deck is on the third floor and overlooks a spectacular view of the Bahai Gardens. Although it is not open for bathing during the winter, we sat there with a drink and enjoyed the view and the great air. The atmosphere here is particularly calm, as the hotel is limited to those aged 16 and older.

The late afternoon was a great time for me to relax in the spa. The spa, featuring a dry and wet sauna, is also inspired by the Bahai Gardens. The treatments combine special oils extracted from plants and flowers that characterize the Bahai Gardens. Even before the treatment, I was impressed by the professionalism; for example, the treatment questionnaire included preferences for areas to be massaged and the preferred intensity of the massage – a great idea! The massage was excellent. Efi, the masseuse, used Shea butter and her touch was dreamy.

The catering services at the hotel currently include breakfast and light meals in the lobby. However, Shabbat dinner is served under the direction of the hotel’s experienced chef, Haim Dayan. The breakfast buffet is served in a special way so that beyond the buffet along the wall, a central sweets table divides the space and is attractively decorated with flower arrangements. 

When we were seated, the waitress took our order for an omelet and coffee; by the time we went to the buffet and brought back salads and cheeses, they had already arrived. The diversified breakfast buffet managed to surprise me. I found Spanish-style olives stuffed with pepper, and creamed portobellos. The coffee came with foam in the shape of a leaf.

The menu in the lobby mainly includes cold plates such as sandwiches, cheeses and fresh salads, its highlight being the excellent French pâtisserie of the hotel pastry chef. The showcase cakes are splendid and look and taste fabulous. The black forest cake was decorated with a white-dotted red praline “mushroom” that put a smile on everyone’s faces. 

The Paris-Brest dessert with pistachio cream was light and the topped roasted pistachio upgrades it to the level of a delicacy. In addition, the hotel has a mixologist who prepares spectacular cocktails with botanical allusions in the flavor of the signature hibiscus tea, clementines, pineapple, smoked rosemary and more. During our stay, we had at least two different cocktails, which can be ordered without alcohol. Even if you are not a guest at the hotel, I recommend sitting in the lobby and ordering a cocktail and cake.

Where is the hotel?

THE HOTEL is located in the heart of the German Colony, and along Ben-Gurion Street you’ll find many restaurants and cafes. The hotel concierge can recommend a restaurant according to your preferences and even make a reservation for you. One of the excellent restaurants in the area is the Colony Grill, which will soon open a branch right on the hotel grounds. It specializes in meat, which is aged in a special refrigerator located right at the entrance to the restaurant. This aging refrigerator has salt walls that prevent moisture, preserving and sealing the meat for about a month. The result is exceptional!

The Colony Grill offers a selection of very good starters, such as salads, bread with dips and melt-in-your-mouth beef Carpaccio. But the main attraction here is the meat on the grill. There offer a “Plancha”-style selection of meats that is served in a ceremony in which the smoking pan is revealed on the table to the admiration of the diners. 

We chose whole cuts – fillet on the bone, sirloin and entrecôte. All cuts are served with wine sauce, garlic or chimichurri, a cooked vegetable and a side dish of your choice. The meat was cooked perfectly – tender and tasty – and we enjoyed every bite. The restaurant itself is not kosher, but the meat comes from a kosher slaughterhouse. There are also desserts.

Botanica Hotel’s location is especially suitable for exploring the German Colony, the Bahai Gardens, Wadi Nisnas, the museums, Ben-Gurion Street and the city’s nightlife scene.

The entrance to the Bahai Gardens (open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) is directly across from the hotel. At the first observation balcony, be sure to take some memorable photos, and enjoy the view of the German Colony and the port. The best time to visit is in the afternoon when the light is soft.

For more information, visit www.fattal-hotels.com 

The writer was a guest of the hotel and businesses mentioned.