Ambitious hotel-shopping complex going up in Jerusalem

An upscale, five-star “business hotel” is coming to Israel’s capital city in early 2008, with the debut of Israeli hotel and real estate magnate Alfred Akirov’s Alrov Mamilla Jerusalem Hotel.

The 207-room hotel will act as the centerpiece within the Mamilla Alrov Quarter, which has been designed by respected Canadian Israeli architect Moshe Safdie. Located just outside the walls of the Old City, the complex will also feature a majestic 25,000-meter pedestrian mall and shopping center. A substantial number of the shops will be within the Mamilla Quarters’ original 19th-century homes that are being meticulously restored brick by brick.

Within this setting, hotel guests, tourists and Jerusalemites alike will have the opportunity to dine and shop at trendy kosher bistros, chic fashion outlets, art galleries and bookstores.

The project has taken Safdie nearly three decades to complete. “To see this project realized after all of this time, well, it’s actually looking better than what I expected,” he said. “Despite all of the starts and stops because of the local bureaucracy, this new urban space is destined to change the gravity of tourism back to the heart of Jerusalem, where it rightfully belongs.”

Akiro has personally overseen construction of the $400 million project, visiting the site on a regular basis to ensure that his vision is realized. “Everyone knows that this project has financial benefits for Jerusalem and is a tremendous attraction for both foreign investors and tourists,” he said.

The hotel intends to set a new standard of luxury and business services within the industry by offering rooms that reflect both the ancient and modern beauty of Jerusalem. The rooms will feature liquid-crystal glass dividers between the bathroom and bedroom, to give the rooms an expansive feel. Amenities will include large LCD TVs, Dead Sea cosmetics and well-stocked minibars. There will also be a state-of-the-art business center, themed bars and restaurants, rooftop sun terrace, executive lounge, gym, health club and spa.

“Jerusalem hasn’t seen a major new hotel built in over a decade,” said Moshe Sand, general manager of Alrov Luxury Hotels. “We know that there are people looking for something hi-tech, something trendy.” He described the new project as “the ultimate multi-dimensional luxury hotel, business center and shopping complex.”

Several restaurants and clothing stores in the complex will open for business in June. The hotel is slated to open in early 2008, with future reservations already being booked.