Monday, November 29, 2010

King David Hotel Jerusalem

Anytime that I feel I have overdosed on the ancient surroundings in Jerusalem, I know I can always visit one of the many luxurious and modern hotels that populate the city, standing in contrast to the historic world outside its doors. And that is just what I did last week, when I pressured Rafi to take me to visit the renowned King David Hotel. Actually, when we were considering getting married in Israel, this is the place that we would have gotten married. After a lot of research, however, we realized it would cost us the same, if not more, to have a wedding there, defeating half the purpose of having a wedding abroad. The other purpose being to have more of Rafi's side of the family attend the marriage. Anywhere we picked, it was a loss in some way and a gain in others.

Pulling up to the entrance of the hotel

Walking into the hotel's front doors

Regardless, I was eager to see the hotel in person. It looked beautiful in pictures, but I had never actually visited it in reality. My dad, when talking about the King David Hotel, would shake his head in a loss for words, signifying that there weren't words to explain its beauty nor was there a comparison for this hotel with any other in the world. It is that nice, he would say. Perhaps he was biased, I don't know. But, I had to see for myself.

Welcome inside the famous King David Hotel

King David Hotel's Walk of Fame
Visiting the hotel in reality did not disappoint. I will say that, after looking at the photos, they simply do not do it justice. Built in 1931, the King David Hotel is located in the center of Jerusalem overlooking the Old City and Mount Zion. The hotel attracts foreign heads of state, diplomats, presidents, royalty and the wealthiest bankers and businessmen in the world. Among the hotel's more famous guests include: Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Hilary Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Winston Churchill, Tony Blair, The Prince of Wales, Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Gere and Madonna, just to name a few. Heard of a few of them? Yeah, I thought so. If it was good enough for them, there is obviously something magical about this place. Also fun for curious visitors, there is a walkway throughout the hotel lobby, let's call it the "King David Walk of Fame", with the signatures of many of the hotel's famous guests, very similar in nature to the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Hollywood, CA. You can find many a guest ooh-ing and ah-ing at the signatures of the many famous visitors.

Once your eyes have had sufficient time to ogle at the "Walk of Fame", it's time to explore the rest of the hotel:

This is the view my eyes feasted on from the hotel lobby windows
Lunch on the terrace anyone?
That's the ceremonial wedding area behind me

Pool View

Getting closer to the pool 
Can we jump in, please?
Pretty florals, typical of Jerusalem
Taking a rest somewhere on the property
Rafi taking a break on the stairs, we had done a lot of walking! 
From the pool looking up at the hotel
Additionally, I was curious to see where the wedding reception would have taken place if we had chosen to get married here, so I took a peek into the banquet and ballrooms on the property:

This is where most large receptions take place - with a view of the old city!
Just across the street from the King David Hotel is Jerusalem's YMCA, yes they have a YMCA here! I hear they have great exercise classes and beautiful facilities in general:

Front view of the YMCA from King David Hotel
Another view of King George Street and YMCA from the King David
Just spending a mere hour inside the King David Hotel made me feel so relaxed and seeped in luxury. Pictures never capture the feeling as well as reality does; you have to smell the flowers, hear the clinking of the silverware, see the employees dressed in fine tuxes, hear the piano music throughout the foyer, feel the sun beaming on your skin and the breezes flowing through your hair, and experience being treated like royalty. You will just have to take my word for it. I will definitely be going back for coffee dates, lunches and maybe even a pool or spa day at best. It was so rewarding to be able to appreciate the antiquated surroundings from the comforts of a five-star hotel. It made me think that I should reconsider my career choice here and opt instead for working in the hotel industry. That way, I would be able to indulge in the opulent comforts that a quality hotel offers each and every day of the year!  

I was so impressed with my hotel visit, that I dragged Rafi to check out two more hotels nearby after our King David visit, each more impressive than the next. It's sort of become habit after the hunt for a wedding venue. Hotel hunting is one of my favorite things to do. Check back in the next few days for the follow-up posts on these other a m a z i n g hotels!

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