THE JAFFA TEL AVIV
Within the walls that once housed a hospital and a convent, the impressive hotel The Jaffa has now opened its doors. Today, people can restore their senses by taking a dive into the pool or having a cocktail in the most magnificent bar in the world.
Jaffa is one of the oldest cities in the world and it used to be an important port. It is now part of the city of Tel Aviv and Jaffa is a tourist hotspot that should not be missed. It offers a splendid view of the city, you can roam around the narrow streets where many artists have their galleries and workshops or visit the flea market. British architect John Pawson, famous for his minimalist designs, was commissioned for the interior and succeeded to create a contemporary hotel while retaining (part of) the old city wall. This wall simply runs right through the hotel lobby.
A game of backgammon under Damien Hirst
The hotel does not do knickknacks. There is no doubt that this is a luxury place. But it is not in your face. While passing the outside wall, you feel that something beautiful is hiding behind it but you can’t see it just yet. Once inside, a long hallway takes you to the lobby. The light filters softly through the windows and everything is designed around the wall that runs right through the lobby.
There is a seating area with Togo armchairs and couches by Ligne Roset, but my eyes are drawn to the backgammon corner: five tables with incorporated boards. Yes, the people of Israel take their board games seriously. As they do their art; the artwork hanging above the tables is by Damien Hirst. But this can also be due to the hotel owner as property developer and fervent art lover Aby Rosen also acquired that stunning Alexander Calder sculpture for the lobby of 11 Howard in New York.
Everything is, in fact, positioned around the patio that you enter from the lobby. A wonderful place to be during the hot summer months because you will always find a shady spot between the many plants. Here, you also find the restaurant where guests can have their breakfast and a Golda’s Delicatessen cafe. The cafe is renowned in New York and here they serve the same classics such as bagels & lox, cheeseburgers, and triple-decker sandwiches. The patio also leads on to the swimming pool: a dream come true. The architectural design is absolutely amazing: the interplay of lines created by the pool, the lounge chairs, the hotel walls and, last but not least, the old chapel above on the right is sheer perfection.
And now the showpiece of the hotel. The bar called The Chapel. Your jaw will drop when you enter this space which feels grand and, at the same time, radiates femininity with its thick pink curtains, stools, and yellow chairs (by the Italian designer Cini Boeri). The walls don’t have images of Mary and Jesus but of famous actors that once played a priest. The bar opens at 4 p.m. and is a must when you visit Tel Aviv – whether you stay at the hotel or not.
Check out: www.thejaffahotel.com