Immerse yourself in the culture of Nazareth at the Blend Hotel

The Blend is Golden Crown Hotels’ third hotel in the city. Unlike the other two, it is an urban hotel situated in a prime location on Nazareth’s busiest street.

 THE BLEND’S architecture is unique in that it indicates both tradition and modernity.  (photo credit: GOLDEN CROWN)
THE BLEND’S architecture is unique in that it indicates both tradition and modernity.
(photo credit: GOLDEN CROWN)

A newly opened boutique hotel in Nazareth called The Blend is exactly that – a blend of colors, tastes, sights and experiences.

The Blend is Golden Crown Hotels’ third hotel in the city. Unlike the other two, it is an urban hotel situated in a prime location on Nazareth’s busiest street, just minutes away from the Old City and some of the city's most popular tourist destinations.

Everything about the hotel – architecture, food, location – cries “blend,” “fusion,” “variety,” words that our hosts repeated many times.

The architecture is unique in that it indicates both tradition and modernity. The building stands out in its roughness – gray slabs of stone jutting into the sky, a reminder of the mountainous terrain and humble beginnings of the ancient town. But the clean edges and environmental-friendly construction give it a modern feel as well.

The hotel’s rooftop has a breathtaking view and is an excellent way to become acquainted with the city. It is not fully developed yet but has the potential to become a tourist attraction in and of itself and is a special treat for the hotel’s guests.

THE BLEND’S architecture is unique in that it indicates both tradition and modernity.  (credit: GOLDEN CROWN)THE BLEND’S architecture is unique in that it indicates both tradition and modernity. (credit: GOLDEN CROWN)

Nearby venues and activities

After taking in the view, our hosts showed us the city, in a delightful tour that included history, food and modern culture. Within walking distance, we visited an Anglican church a stone’s throw away from the famous Church of the Annunciation, and learned from its pastor about its history and the school it runs in the city. 

We then visited a number of family-run stores full of fantastic smells and tastes, including the 100-year-old spice shop Al-Nabulasi; the excellent Tishrin restaurant; delicious kanafeh at Kanafeh Joz and Loz; and a visit to the Liwan Culture Café, which showcases art from up-and-coming Arab-Israeli and Palestinian artists.

Dinner was labeled as “classic Nazareth cuisine with a twist of up-to-date fusion.” We were treated to what felt like a never-ending array of dishes. One that stood out was a perfectly baked focaccia, topped with Middle Eastern spices and Italian smoked sausage – truly a blend between East and West. Some of the dishes were tastier than others, but the general sense was of interesting combinations and meticulous preparation.  

Our room was cozy and comfortable. The view from our window unfortunately was the elevator – and those coming out of it could see into our room if the blinds were not closed. This was not an accident though – situated in the heart of the city, the rooms either offer a view onto the street or inwards, presented as an “urban landscape.” 

Our room sat above the main eating area and the noise drifted up to us from below. We also awoke to drilling, as workers were completing the last touches during our stay. However, our complaints were received graciously, the drilling ceased at the manager’s request and noise was kept to a minimum.

The hotel has 70 rooms, beginning at NIS 900 per night for a couple, including breakfast.

DAY TWO included another tour, and equally as fascinating as the first. This tour focused on the underground. We were taken to the Sisters of Nazareth Convent, a beautiful rectangular building, and given a tour of the archaeology underground. The convent sits atop a site that was holy for Christians all the way back to the Byzantines, and was believed to have been the home of Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus.

 THE BLEND’S architecture is unique in that it indicates both tradition and modernity.  (credit: GOLDEN CROWN) THE BLEND’S architecture is unique in that it indicates both tradition and modernity. (credit: GOLDEN CROWN)

Next was the Church of Annunciation – but instead of entering the main basilica, we were given a tour of the archaeological findings adjacent to it. Tourists rarely visit the archaeological site, but its many findings are showcased in a small exhibition, and include pottery and glass artifacts, as well as elaborate carvings and other findings from the site’s rich history.  

Our day concluded with a visit to the delightful spa at Golden Crown Hotel, the largest of the chain’s three in Nazareth, located alongside the Mount Precipice.

The schedule of our visit ran overtime and since we had a long drive ahead, we inquired about the option to stay another night at the main hotel – and were offered a suite free of charge. This gracious gesture made our day. 

We enjoyed massages at the spa, its heated pool and wet and dry saunas, without having to hurry out to beat traffic. We then enjoyed a plentiful dinner (kosher) at the hotel’s chief dining area – which was full of groups of tourists from abroad, as well as Israeli couples and families. Breakfast in the morning was also plentiful and tasty.

The spacious suite had a beautiful view of the rolling hills south of Nazareth and the Jezreel Valley behind it. We enjoyed it immensely.

The hotel has an outdoor pool but it was closed for winter. However, the hotel between December 7-11 and 14-18 will hold its annual Christmas market on the pool grounds. Entrance to the colorful marker costs just NIS 40 for adults and NIS 25 for kids, and is free for the hotel’s guests.

All in all, we had a wonderful stay. The Blend has room for improvement, but its location, design and menu make it worthwhile in any case. Golden Crown Hotel was simply a pleasure. And the city itself – with its sights, smells, sounds, history and view – is a jewel.

The writer was a guest of the hotel.