The Scots Hotel

by Francis X. Gallagher

Nov 1, 2016

Arrival/Check-In: Arriving late after touring the Sea of Galilee, we chose to overnight at The Scots Hotel in the closest town, Tiberias. The Church of Scotland built the original structure as a hospital, set up by David Watt Torrance, a Scottish surgeon who saw medicine and treating the sick in the Holy Land as his calling.

When we arrived, there was little help to take our baggage, and I never saw a more disinterested group. After a little convincing, the bags were taken into reception. We registered and then walked through a beautiful courtyard. The hotel combines a newer structure with the former hospital and surgical theater, in use through 1949, after which it became a maternity ward. The hospital closed in 1959, and in 1999 the Church of Scotland decided to open a hotel as a cultural center for its guests traveling to Israel. The courtyard boasts many beautiful statues and works of art worth seeing.

Guest Quarters: Our room, well … it could use a little updating. It had a Hilton-esque look from the 1980s with tired wood finishes and outdated carpet and upholstery. It did have a decent desk with an outlet within easy reach. However, I had to rig a way to keep all our electronics plugged in while propping up the adapter so the electricity would continue to flow. The shower/tub combination came with an elaborate shower contraption, including a handheld sprayer and a rainfall showerhead that actually worked well. My wife got a kick out of the all-in-one hair dryer and shaver combo unit mounted on the wall — it produced hardly any air, and the name on the front of it was Shaver 2000. I was equally impressed with the minibar which had a proud brass and silver plaque on the front but was completely empty. The room did come with a comfortable king-sized bed and a host of Verveine Agrumes bath amenities and hair products.

Services/Amenities: The Torrance Restaurant serves as the hotel’s main dining experience and serves a complete breakfast as well as lavish dinners. Brunch is available both Fridays and Saturdays. This is the site of the hospital’s former maternity ward.

As we were late and not overly hungry, we settled on the Ceilidh Bar, located on the second floor of the building. The bar boasts approximately 80 whiskeys, nearly all of them from Scotland. We settled on a light fare including a fresh green salad that came with an unwelcome guest — a happy and healthy Israeli cricket! As you can imagine, this came as a shock to us and the two lovely ladies who were serving us at the bar. They took a few pictures to report to the management.

Down the hallway, one can access the roof for fine sunset views of Tiberias.

The Experience: The hotel is in a great location along the Sea of Galilee and features lovely, historic architecture as well as a gallery of works of art.

The Scots Hotel

Gdud Barak Street
Tiberias, 14100, Israel
tel 972 4 671 0710


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