Arrival/Check-In: After driving through the Judean desert to Jerusalem, we stopped at a popular spot to enjoy a panoramic view of the city. Given my family’s religious background and love of movies and history, I felt like Judah Ben Hur returning to capture what was rightly mine.
The Waldorf is located close to the center of the city and Mamilla Mall, a high-end shopping strip with international and local stores and many restaurants and cafés where one can stroll through the neighborhood. Beyond the mall lies the entrance to the Old City at David’s Gate. We felt perfectly safe our entire time in the ancient city.
Check-in was a little confusing, and I was doing my best as I had secured all the reservations. During the process, the hotel seemed to have lost one of our reservations, but in a few minutes all was resolved and we headed to our rooms at the beautiful new property.
Guest Quarters: The lovely room offered spectacular views from the balcony — wonderful sunsets over the city of Jerusalem. Entering the room, one encounters a small hallway with an elegant table. Directly left of the entrance, the bathroom features a large soaking tub and separate shower with an overhead rain showerhead. The large and luxurious bathroom offered nearly every amenity one could want including soaps, shampoo and conditioner from Salvatore Ferragamo.
Farther left down the hallway, the bedroom featured a king-sized bed flanked by two night tables, one with a spectacular multimedia docking station for an iPhone or iPad. A wing chair sat between the bed and the balcony for viewing the birds as they flew over the Holy Land. A small glass table next to this chair held a welcoming bottle of Barkan Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon.
Opposite the bed a workstation included all the plugs to make business (and pleasure) more enjoyable. To the right a large, flat-screen TV displayed a nice welcome message when we arrived.
Services/Amenities: We stayed at the Waldorf for two nights and, of course, we had a full daytime schedule, as this was our first time to Jerusalem. The superb breakfast in The Palace Restaurant offered multiple buffets of fresh fruits, breads and cereals.
Chef Itzik Mizrachi heads up the King’s Court bistro restaurant, offering kosher Italian fusion cuisine. Here we sipped wine from Israel and enjoyed a fascinating conversation with our server. Having the gift of gab, I discovered she was not born in Israel but hailed from the United States. She told a fascinating story about her parents, who visited Israel on just two trips and announced to this New Jersey girl the entire family was moving to Israel when she was just 14.
The Experience: Even with the check-in faux pas, we enjoyed a wonderful stay and the attention to detail and the newness of the hotel. The hotel displays some beautiful glass sculptures and mobiles, one three stories high made of flying glass birds.
Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem
Gershon Agron St. 26-28
tel 972 2 5423333
Once you’ve boarded Regent’s Seven Seas Grandeur, it is immediately apparent this recently launched cruise ship delivers what the name promises. Jewel box opulence dominates in most of the public areas, while quiet luxury teamed with clever function defines the cabins (save for the individually decorated top-tier suites). The ship, designed by internationally acclaimed Studio DADO and constructed by Ancona, Italy, ship builder Fincantieri, holds up to 746 guests and is serviced by a staff of 548 for optimal passenger-to-staff service.
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