A balance of old and new

The Alegra is a charming, romantic boutique hotel in Ein Kerem.

Alegra Boutique Hotel (photo credit: Courtesy)
Alegra Boutique Hotel
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Yishai Malka and Gadi Delman, the owners of the Alegra boutique hotel in Ein Kerem, didn’t know that the meaning of the word in Spanish was “happiness” when they named their hotel after Alegra Bello. She was a beautiful Jewish woman who, 100 years ago, fell in love with Jabra Francis Rachil, a young Christian Arab from the village of Ein Kerem, near Jerusalem. The lovers eloped to Bethlehem and married secretly. In 1930 they returned to Ein Kerem and built a dream house chiseled in stone as a symbol of their love.
After many years of functioning as a private home, a club and then a Bible museum, the building underwent massive renovations two years ago and was converted into a boutique hotel with seven suites and a chef’s restaurant.
Delman, who is an architect, designed the place in a romantic fashion that combines old and new. The partners, graduates of the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, opened a gallery there as well, presenting exhibitions by young artists.
The restaurant, headed by chef Yaron Winkler, offers a convivial culinary experience in the hotel’s central lounge, around an open kitchen that has a taboon. Diners sit at a large table and can talk to the chef while watching him in action. The dinner, served in a communal format, includes seven to 10 courses.
The hotel suites contain particularly large beds, marble bathtubs, a generous toiletry kit, a television with a DVD and an espresso machine.
The hotel also has a spa with a wet sauna and a splashing pool.
Alegra’s garden includes an orchard, intimate sitting areas, a rooftop sundeck and a bar that overlooks a scenic a view of Ein Kerem and its environs.
The hotel hosts couples only, including families with children who can rent the whole hotel.
Prices: NIS 2,000 per night on weekdays; NIS 2,300 for weekends, including dinner.
Contact information: 13 Derech Ha'achayot, Ein Kerem, www.hotelalegra.co.il