Time Out: The elements of (good) life

The new Akasha center at the Mamilla Hotel in Jerusalem offers body and soul treatments in luxurious surroundings.

Mamilla hotel 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Mamilla hotel 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
‘It is impossible to overdo luxury” is a French saying that came to mind when I entered the lobby of the Mamilla Hotel. Stepping into my room it felt as if the designers of the hotel came very close to overdoing luxury. The owners call it “a lifestyle Jerusalem hotel,” and it is the kind of lifestyle one can get used to in no time.
The Mamilla Hotel, located in the heart of Jerusalem, entered both the Sunday Times Travel Magazine’s “World’s 100 Best Hotels” list and Condé Nast Traveller UK and US editions’ “Hot List 2010,” and is drawing into the city guests who previously preferred to stay in Tel Aviv.
The hotel has exceptional rooms, a lovely dairy cafe, the excellent Rooftop restaurant, the Mirror bar for late nighters and much more. But the newest addition, the Akasha Spa and Holistic Wellbeing Center was the reason for my recent visit to the place.
The Akasha center is open to both guests of the hotel and members, and as health clubs go this one is a few levels above all others. It offers a wide range of holistic practices, rejuvenation and beauty treatment experiences for body and spirit, integrating Western and Eastern practices with natural healing techniques and very creative combination treatments, very happy and well trained personnel and amazing attention to detail.
Akasha is Sanskrit for the space where the four lifeenabling nature elements meet.
The center is comprised of four different areas corresponding to the four basic elements. Fire is represented in the gym, designed in orange-yellow colors; water is represented in the spa, enhanced with restorative water sounds, relaxing music, very special natural oil aromas and sophisticated blue lighting.
The organic health bar represents the earth part, with natural browns and greens; and air takes the more spiritual part where yoga, Tai-Chi and Pilates are practiced, offering intimate and personalized classes in rooms lighted in violet.
The spa is perhaps the best I have attended. It is equipped with luxurious showers and rest rooms, offering thick towels and robes, flip-flops, nice touches such as L’Occitane soaps and shampoos, large showerheads, and most important, professional, polite and responsive personnel.
There is a variety of exclusive hydro treatments in a Watsu pool, special hammam treatments in private rooms, and a variety of signature treatments, combining East and West, Chinese, Indian, Western and other practices. “All treatments are planned around guests’ individual needs,” says the spa manager, “as part of the personal approach, beginning when guests arrive at the hotel and even more so when they enter the spa.”
The gym, in the “fire” part, boasts the most advanced and cutting-edge fitness equipment such as the Kinesis machines, a spacious aerobics room and a private training room. Personal exercise trainers provide oneon- one instruction.
There is also an indoor swimming pool open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and a yachtlike sun deck, located on the hotel’s rooftop amidst a beautifully designed landscape garden, for those seeking the tanned look (against doctors’ orders), with great views of Jerusalem, both old and new.
If you treat yourself to a day in the Akasha Spa, don’t miss the Watsu treatment that is good for both body and soul, and the private hammam treatment that is both relaxing and invigorating at the same time.