Elma Arts Complex & Luxury Hotel Zichron Israel

ENFNTSTERRIBLES

Where Culture and Comfort Meet: The Elma Arts Complex & Luxury Hotel

An architectural masterpiece, museum and hotel in one… some buildings just have it all. The Elma Arts Complex & Luxury Hotel is far from another fancy resort. It was constructed in 1968 and used to go by the name Mivtachim sanitarium. Its clean, yet innovative design gave Israeli architect Jacob Rechter immediate international recognition. In 2005 the building was purchased by philanthropist Lily Elstein and she transformed it into the hotel and cultural hot spot it is right now.

Mivtachim Sanitarium

In the late sixties Jacob Rechter became the designated architect to provide Mount Carmel in Zichron Ya’akov with one of the most beautiful buildings in Israel. He designed a serpentine shaped modular structure that appears to be squirming around the hills. The building earned Rechter the prestigious Israel Award for architecture in 1973. In the rest of the world his masterpiece didn’t go unnoticed, the sanitarium appeared in plenty of international magazines and books.

The front of the sanitarium consisted of guest rooms, all with individual balconies overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. At the back of the building were the entrance hall and reception with access to the town of Zichron Ya’akov.

Elma Arts Complex & Luxury Hotel Zichron Israel
Elma Arts Complex & Luxury Hotel Zichron Israel

From Sanitarium to Art Complex & Hotel

When the building was put up for sale in 2005, Zichron Ya’akov-born art collector and Teva Pharmaceuticals heiress Lily Elstein decided to invest in the old sanitarium. Former attempts to give it a new purpose failed, but that didn’t stop her from pursuing her plans. Lily Elstein saw the bigger picture. Other than it being a place where visitors could spend the night, have a swim and enjoy the view, she also wanted them to have a cultural experience. And most importantly, she wanted to provide contemporary Israeli and international artists with a location to expose their work.

In order to complete her plans, renovations needed to be done. Elstein wanted to create extra room for art galleries, installation spaces and even a large concert hall. All of this without dishonoring the original structure of the building, which was a serious demand from the public. So she hired Amnon Rechter. Who better than Jacob Rechter’s son to lead the renovations? Together with experienced hotel architect Rani Ziss, he successfully turned the sanitarium into the Elma Arts Complex and Luxury Hotel.

Elma Arts Complex & Luxury Hotel Zichron Israel
Elma Arts Complex & Luxury Hotel Zichron Israel

The Elma experience

When entering the hotel it “simply” looks like a beautiful luxury resort. Sigalit Landau’s impressive marble sculpture immediately catches the eye, but besides that everything looks pretty normal (compared to what you get to see next). The true amazement surprises you once you cross the halls to the back on the building. That’s where you can fully admire the astonishing beauty of Jacob Rechter’s creation and the breathtaking view. It left us speechless for a couple of minutes and we can assure you that something like that rarely happens.

The same experience counts for the hotel rooms. The rooms are absolutely perfect. However, they turn into something extraordinary once you open the curtains and watch the amazing view from your private balcony. Every unit was designed in such a way to fully enjoy the environment without being bothered by your neighbors. Honestly, there’s nothing more relaxing than enjoying a beautiful sunset with a glass of wine while wearing a soft hotel robe.

Elma Arts Complex & Luxury Hotel Zichron Israel
Elma Arts Complex & Luxury Hotel Zichron Israel
Elma Arts Complex & Luxury Hotel Zichron Israel

Arts Complex

The Elma isn’t just the next best exhibition space. Apart from every corner of the building being dedicated to art, there’s also the Elma Hall, the Cube and the Elstein Galleries.

The Elma Hall is a high-tech concert hall with a classic vibe. Israel’s most renowned artists and musicians performed here. It was designed by New-York based Arup/Artec Consultants, an acoustics design and theater planning firm that’s one of the best in the world. More intimate performances are held at the Cube, a venue that has more the look and feel of a bar than a concert hall. There unfortunately wasn’t a performance planned during our stay but we’d be happy to go back to experience it.

In the Elstein Galleries, which are three spaces specifically dedicated to art exhibitions, artists from Israel and all over the world get the chance to show their work to the public. But as we already said, you’ll find paintings and sculptures in every corner of the building. We were especially intrigued by the massive sculpture from Sigalit Landau located in the courtyard, right when you enter the complex. Made from Carrara marble, it made us think of Italian masters such as Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Michelangelo.

It was a blessing that Lily Elstein stumbled upon the sanitarium, all the way back in 2005. This magnificent building couldn’t have had a better purpose than the one it has right now.

Elma Arts Complex & Luxury Hotel Zichron Israel
Elma Arts Complex & Luxury Hotel Zichron Israel
Elma Arts Complex & Luxury Hotel Zichron Israel
Elma Arts Complex & Luxury Hotel Zichron Israel

Photo credits: ENFNTS TERRIBLES

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