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Maybe we had the date wrong but we could have sworn the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem was opening in August, not April (after missing a Summer 2013 opening date.) But whatever the reason for the mix-up, we don't care. Because the luxury hotel is now OPEN.
The Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem was built on the site of the former Palace Hotel within walking distance to the Old City and Jaffa Gate. Here is a gushing description of the hotel from the press release:
The breath-taking centrepieces of the hotel are the grand entry and lofty atrium promenade, featuring a retractable glass ceiling which floods the hotel with natural light throughout the day. Complemented by arched windows, this open-air architectural style creates the atmosphere of a Jerusalem city street. Drawing on the rich heritage of Waldorf Astoria, a towering, iconic clock rests in the atrium expanse, with four sets of numbers covering its four bold faces. Blending Greco-Roman, Gothic and Ottoman architecture, the hotel is a wonderful mixture of cultures, creating a fascinating space beyond the hotel’s beautifully preserved 80-year old façade.
Jerusalem's gettin' itself a fly new posh hotel (uh, when's the last time we started a story off like that?) According to the New York Times' "In Transit" blog, the big J is set to welcome Mamilla Hotel later this month, a 194-room hotspot inside a building designed by Moshe Safdie who also, apparently, designed Columbus Center in NYC.
Per the Times:
According to Jerusalem law, all new construction in the city must involve the use of Jerusalem stone, a light-colored local limestone, various forms of which have provided the principal building blocks of older buildings, walls and alleys since ancient times.
The hotel, obviously, incorporates the stone in the minimalist design, and inside the rooms you'll find "dark wooden floors, custom-made furniture and bathrooms with rectangular bathtubs and liquid crystal walls that frost over for privacy." Oh, and we spotted "Personal PC with internet access" among the amenities listed for each room.
Look out for an espresso bar in the lobby, a wine bar, The Mirror Bar (complete with a cigar lounge), a Lobby Cafe, and something called the Dining Room and party on, Jerusalem a rooftop lounge serving light fare with some killer views of the Old City.
The Times is reporting rates starting at $450, with a 30 percent discount will be offered through September 1st as an opening promo. No opening date is listed on the website, and to book, you have to contact firstname.lastname@example.org doesn't look like there's an online booking agent in place just yet.
WAC decided to renovate the historic Palace Hotel (built in 1929) and turn it into a 220-room hotel with 30 residences on site. Harry over at Jerusalemite, a Jerusalem Culture Guide, tipped us off as to what's been happening as of late:
The structure has been completely gutted, with the detailed outer walls, now a mere facade, serving as the only remnants of the original building. Despite its decrepit appearance, the former Palace Hotel is one of Jerusalem's most beautiful buildings, with numerous carvings designed as an amalgamation of Moorish, Roman and Arab architecture.
The hotel will open sometime in 2010. Go here to see what the hotel should look like when the renovation is completed.
No matter what your political persuasion, if you're a U.S. president heading to Jerusalem, there's one place to say: The King David. Sure enough George W. Bush is staying there on his first official visit to Israel.
Bush will be staying in a suite at the King David hotel that costs $2,600 a night -- for guests who are not president of the United States. Assistant General Manager Benny Olearchik would not disclose how much the Americans are paying to stay at his hotel, one of Israel's most expensive.
Bush's entourage already has taken up more than two-thirds of its 237 rooms, and will take over all of them once he arrives himself, Olearchik said. Unlucky guests who happened to plan their visits at the wrong time had their reservations canceled.
There's a word to the wise for people staying at hotels popular with heads of state: you may be kicked out and forced to rebook. We can just imagine the look on the face of the person who had already booked an expensive suite being told, "Sorry, you must stay elsewhere."
We hear security will be a tad tight. "More than 10,500 policemen and security personnel will be deployed to protect Bush and keep order during the visit..." If you're going to be in Israel, this would be a good time to head to the Tel Aviv Hilton instead.