Like most historic cities, Tel Aviv’s coastal city of Jaffa – once home to quiet, gold-cobbled streets and aged buildings with their histories written on every brick – seems to be in danger of losing its soul to modernisation.
Construction cranes are as common as the swaying palm trees that line the roads, and glitzy glass buildings seem to overwhelm the stooped brick houses of centuries past – which is why developments like the newly opened Jaffa Hotel Tel Aviv are so remarkable and vital in preserving the cultural heritage of the city, especially one as storied as Jaffa.
Located on a hilltop of what was once a crumbling 19th-century French hospital, The Jaffa has been updated – but not overhauled – to create an intoxicating blend of 4,000 years of heritage and modern luxury. Restored stained glass windows and sweeping Roman arabesques are coupled with all the plush trappings that modern travellers expect in each of its 120 rooms and 32 residences.
You’re just as likely to find backgammon boards in the secluded courtyard for guests to play a quiet round or two as you are to find a poolside bar serving up mid-day cocktails. Rooms are sleek, their clean lines and minimalist aesthetic mixing with earthen tones to create an atmosphere of warmth. Private balconies also offer panoramic views of the neighbouring Mediterranean sea.
The Jaffa encapsulates the soul of its historic city without compromising on the comfort of its guests. Israel’s rich heritage and warm hospitality are on full display at The Jaffa, which, instead of detracting from the culture of the city it exists in, instead aims to reconcile that gap. ◼
© This article was first published in Dec-Jan 2019 edition of World Travel Magazine.