Elma Arts Complex Luxury Hotel — Zichron Ya’akov, Israel
Located in Zichron Ya’akov - a small town just north of Tel Aviv - at the rim of Mount Carmel’s ridge, Israel’s newest hotel is set over 28 acres of open space, offering breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea and beyond. Housed in a building originally designed as a sanitarium in 1968 by the late Israeli architect Jacob Rechter, Elma (an acronym for Elstein Music & Art) embodies the vision of Lily Elstein, an art collector and patron of young artists. Despite living in Tel Aviv for many years, Elstein still maintains strong links to her hometown of Zichron Ya’akov and when she heard the deserted structure faced demolition, she decided to save it. ‘I could not allow them to pull down such an iconic building,’ she says. After acquiring the site, Elstein restored it to its former Brutalist glory and turned it into an international arts complex and luxury hotel. Original rooms were restructured to create 38 new guest rooms and a group of 22 cottages were also added as a separate ‘neighbourhood’. Culinary options are all kosher, while the spa offers eight treatment rooms, a pool, a gym and a hammam. The culture centre, however, is the heart of the hotel: acoustic engineering specialists Arup and Artec designed the 450-seat Alon concert hall, which boasts a unique pipe organ, built by Orgelbau Klais in Germany, and two Steinway Concert Grand Model D pianos.