The recent opening of the Tamar Residence has introduced a new trend in hotel accommodations to Jerusalem – the full-service apartment, which has become increasingly popular around the world in recent years.Located in the Baka neighborhood, adjacent to the lively German Colony, the Tamar Residence offers the feeling of living in Jerusalem to the vacationer or business traveler.Imagine having an apartment in Jerusalem with a full-service kitchen where you can prepare meals with groceries you selected yourself from the nearby market or have brought to you by the concierge service. I have been disappointed in the past while vacationing in Barcelona or Bombay when I couldn’t take home spices or local ingredients from the city’s colorful markets to try for myself in a hotel kitchen. The Tamar Residence offers that possibility. Not only do you have the feeling of actually living in a Jerusalem apartment, but the possibility of preparing your own meals can save you a lot of money, particularly on an extended stay or while traveling with family or young children.The Tamar Residence is surprisingly reasonable, with suites ranging from NIS 600 to NIS 1000 a night for up to a family of four, with the option of staying in a two-bedroom penthouse for NIS 2,200 a night. The prices fluctuate depending on the season. In addition to the reasonable prices, there are certain amenities that should be a given at any hotel but, unfortunately, are not: free wireless Internet service and free parking.Other amenities include laundry service, shopping service, a synagogue opposite the residence and 24-hour reception. The suites’ separate dining area, living area and bedroom offer an alternative to traditional one-big-room hotel accommodations.Baka has an authentic vibe and will even give someone visiting from Tel Aviv the feel of being abroad. The hotel is located on Bethlehem Road, which is lined with old Arab houses made of Jerusalem stone that predate the State of Israel. The Tamar Residence is built into the neighborhood, as opposed to many hotels that are often disconnected from their surroundings. A short walk brings you to the German Colony and its picturesque main thoroughfare, Emek Refaim Street, lined with cafes, shops and restaurants. The Tamar Residence offers the German Colony’s large English-speaking population a place to house visiting family members. The price and apartment-like amenities are particularly convenient for families.While the German Colony offers a wide array of restaurants and cafes to choose from, those staying at the Tamar Residence need go no further than the Grand Café, the hotel’s resident eatery. The kosher dairy restaurant is versatile and convenient and can serve your breakfast, lunch and dinner needs. The food is simple and good, and the prices are good as well. However, it is the design and atmosphere of the Grand Café that are the most striking. Seating is available outside and inside in a setting that is distinctly European. Of course, carnivores and those looking for a restaurant open on Shabbat have a plethora of choices in the artsy German Colony.Although the Old City and Jerusalem’s myriad tourist attractions are close by, the immediate neighborhood is charming and a pleasure for architecture fans. The diverse history of the area can be seen in its buildings, with influences from the Ottoman period, the German Templers and the British Mandate period.The hotel’s suites are simply designed, with comfort taking precedence in details such as televisions in the bedroom and the living room. Some suites are equipped with a small garden porch. The two-bedroom penthouse takes up the entire third floor of a building and is equipped with a magnificent balcony, offering a lovely view of Jerusalem. There is one penthouse in each of the hotel’s three buildings to go along with its 32 total suites.The feeling at the Tamar Residence is intimate, and the service is personal. The Tamar Residence is the initiative of Danny Rubinstein, one of the founders of Isrotel Hotels. He came to Israel from Australia in the 1970s. The concept of the hotel is new in Israel and offers a good alternative to traditional, impersonal hotels that keep you separated from the place in which you are vacationing. It very well could start a trend in the way people vacation in Israel. ■ firstname.lastname@example.org
The writer was a guest of the hotel.