Summer in Israel is the perfect time for a short getaway. You know we’re fans of many arty cities but for our personal vacation we chose to stay in Israel (while continuing to carefully craft art tours around the world for our clients). Only an hour drive from Tel Aviv, we easily reached the Elma Hotel, located up North in the historical village of Zichron Yaakov, on the edge of Israel’s Mount Carmel Ridge. 

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Elma - which is an acronym for Elstein Music and Art - was founded by philanthropist and art collector Lily Elstein at the end of 2014. She chose to locate Elma in what used to be the "Mivtachim Sanitarium", an award-winning architectural marvel designed in 1968 by Israeli architect Jacob Rechter, in a postwar brutalist style.

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The hotel which was renovated by Jacob Rechter's son, Amnon Rechter, along with the architect Rani Ziss, is today an interdisciplinary venue and cultural center offering concerts, exhibition spaces, conference rooms, residency programs and more. But if you're just interesting in relaxing, the pool is beautiful too, with brutalist motifs all around!

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As for the art, more than 500 pieces from Elstein's private collection are on display throughout the 95 hotel rooms, suites and in many of the hotel's public spaces. These include ambitious works by Sigalit Landau, like the unmissable sculpture "Thirst" made of marble where a nude couple is pushing a huge stone, located right in the middle of the lobby. As well as the iconic photographs from Landau's wedding dress project at the Dead Sea. 

We also enjoyed the temporary exhibition curated by Noemi Givon, of Tel Aviv's established Givon Art Gallery and Art Forum, which displayed the works of established and emerging Israeli painters throughout the hotel's corridors. We particularly loved Nurit David's pieces. 

Sigalit Landau

Sigalit Landau

Sigalit Landau

Sigalit Landau

Nurit David

Nurit David

In our lovely and spacious room, we were lucky to have a print by one of my favorite Israeli artists Nelly Agassi. The piece depicts what looks like a home or roof and a light bulb, with a pink and yellow background. It is delicate and strong like all of Agassi's works. This small gem combined with the magnificent view of Mount Carmel and the sea, made our stay unforgettable. 

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The hotel offers a perfect combination of Art & Leisure, with a vintage 60s flare (see photo below!), breathtaking Israeli vistas of the mountains and the Mediterranean, fused with contemporary Israeli design and art. 

Book here: https://www.elma-hotel.com/accommodation

Art Galleries & actvities in the area:

Umm el-Fahem art Gallery

Ein Hod Village

Haifa graffiti tour with Alternative TLV

Courtesy of Architect Amnon Rechter   Images by Sarah Peguine

Courtesy of Architect Amnon Rechter

 

Images by Sarah Peguine