Just over two years old, Jerusalem's Mamilla Hotel is probably the coolest and most beautiful hotel in the city. Its lobby, all exposed Jerusalem stone, suspended staircases, scattered sofas, low glass or wooden tables, antique rugs, and exquisite objects is the result of a joint enterprise between the internationally renowned architect Moshe Safdie, whose work includes museums, cultural centres and resorts across the US and the world, and the equally illustrious, Milan-based interiors designer Piero Lissoni.
The hotel's Mamilla café, also accessible from the adjacent shopping mall, is a local favourite, with live jazz and delicious food, while its Mirror Bar is worth a visit even if you are not a guest. Its rooftop restaurant has spectacular, views of the Old City.
Studio rooms are beautiful, have every amenity, including Frette sheets and L'Occitane toiletries, and are perfect for a short stay, though they lack the sort of space or storage that would encourage a lengthy visit. Bathrooms, integrated into the room and walled in glass that switches from clear to opaque in an instant, are aesthetically faultless, but the huge, angular white baths are not conducive to a long soak. Breakfast, served in the light-filled lower ground floor restaurant, lacks nothing in content or style, with fresh fruit buffet, salad bar, blinis, quails eggs, delicious breads and coffee.
While there is no outdoor pool, it has a beautiful – all cobalt tiles and exquisite lighting – indoor pool and a rooftop sundeck with loungers .
New this year is the Akasha Wellbeing Spa. Predictably beautiful, all zen-like calm, low lighting, flowing water, glass walls and carefully juxtaposed plants, it is an oasis in which to relax after a hard day's sightseeing, with a massage or a facial.