I love to visit and shoot hotels that tell a story. And if the stories are colorful and photogenic, it is even better!
One of the most intriguing, colorful and photogenic hotels I shot recently is Alma Hotel & Lounge, considered as one of the most talked about hotels in Tel Aviv these days. The hotel, which was recently opened in the heart of Tel Aviv, immediately set a new standard in luxury boutique hospitality in Tel Aviv and in Israel.
Alma in Hebrew means a young unmarried woman. It is also becoming a trendy name for girls these days. In Latin, Alma means "soul" I'm not sure if the hotel is named after a certain woman, but the name definitely adds a mystery and kind of appeal to it.
Imagine walking in dark long corridors that lead into 15 colorful rooms, each one is different from the other. Imagine opening each room's door, not knowing what to expect. But each room is a marvelous surprise. This is how I felt while I was shooting Alma Hotel.
Everything is well planned in Alma Hotel; from the choice of the building's location to the Bulgari soaps in the bathrooms or the colors of the pens in each room. I know it might sound like a cliche, but Alma has a rhythm and a character of its own.
Alma is located in Yavne street, at the heart of Tel Aviv UNESCO White City, among a collection of old but restored historic Bauhaus vivid buildings. The building's history goes back to 1925, as the first private residence designed for families to live side by side in the heart of Tel Aviv. The facade of the building was colored in olive-green and the windows and shutters were colored in a darker shade of green.
But this is just a hint to what is happening indoors. The restored identity of the hotel is a collaboration between the leading architecture and interior design studio Shaltiel Kastiel and the mosaic and glass artist Lauri Recanati.
The hotel has eight spacious deluxe rooms and seven studio suites, each uniquely designed, telling a different story of the building's bohemian past. The furniture is a mix of vintage and heavily embellished unique furniture (hand-picked for each room) with contemporary furniture and art.
One suite has the feel, as Recanati says, of "an English boarding school on acid." The suite has turquoise and black walls with diamond shape mirrors. The red colored rug is a great contrast and blast of color to the room. It matches perfectly with the red background of the bookshelves.
Another, has a marvelous back bed of a French or Dutch aristocratic woman. The turquoise-colored wall matches the purple rug perfectly. By the bed, there are two beautiful bedside tables made of wood and a mosaic of ceramic, glass, metal and fabric, by the artist Lauri Recanati.
On the street level there is an "oriental feel" suite. Painted in greens and reds (with an amazing red-white-black wallpaper) and an iconography image of the spice trail as a back bed; this suite is a real gem. The heavy brown curtains create a perfect isolation from the busy street. This suite has the perfect oriental look bath tub of green-blue shades that match the colors of the windows.
And if you are looking for a great restaurant, then you have it right there. Alma Lounge is a bohemian chic space with a mix of Georgian inspired furniture blended with local contemporary Art. The chef, Yonatan Roshfeld, is a well-known figure in Israel and the restaurant is one of the most expensive restaurants these days in Tel Aviv ($300 dinner for two). It is a good way for visitors to meet the trendsetters in Israel -- restauranteurs, bankers, public figures in addition to expats.
If you are looking for one of the best hotels and the best experiences in the heart of Tel Aviv, look no further. Alma's professional crew will take care of you -- from arranging a personal trainer, special tours in Tel Aviv and Israel, wine tasting, local deliveries, airport transportation, car rentals and even cooking lessons with the in-house chef -- you name it.