A for­mer 19th-cen­tury French hos­pi­tal is now one of Tel aviv’s prime spots

Prob­a­bly not the first ar­chi­tect that would spring to mind for an au­gust re­boot of a his­tor­i­cal site, John Paw­son earned his now very es­teemed rep­u­ta­tion as a min­i­mal­ist.

Condé Nast House & Garden - - CONTENTS -

Open­ing shortly in Tel Aviv, The Jaffa ho­tel, lo­cated within a derelict 19th-cen­tury French pil­grim hos­pi­tal, and in­cor­po­rat­ing an ex­tra­or­di­nary an­cient ar­chae­o­log­i­cal site dis­cov­ered dur­ing the ren­o­va­tion, is the lat­est project of ar­chi­tect John Paw­son. Liz Mor­ris dis­cov­ers the magic

White boxes. Big, new, white boxes are his usp. so, it’s in­trigu­ing that he yielded not just a lit­tle, but flipped his aes­thetic at The Jaffa, which is all re­nais­sance-style arches and vaults and pil­lars and stained­glass win­dows dat­ing from 1879. But did he? It de­pends what you call min­i­mal­ism.

Maybe it’s more about a light touch? cer­tainly this was the ap­proach needed when, dur­ing the pre­lim­i­nary ex­ca­va­tions be­fore work be­gan, a cache of ar­chae­o­log­i­cal sites, in­clud­ing a wall that dates from the 13th-cen­tury cru­sades, and be­neath that more walls from pre­vi­ous in­va­sions – Jaffa city was es­tab­lished dur­ing the Bronze age – were un­earthed. John, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with a team of restora­tion ex­perts headed by lo­cal ar­chi­tect ramy gill, acknowledged that hal­lowed ground rules.

For both John and aby rosen, the new York real es­tate ty­coon who bought the site over a decade ago, it’s been a pas­sion project. ‘The Jaffa is a five-star ho­tel in the way a five-star ho­tel should be. You ar­rive as a guest and find your­self im­mersed in a dream, in a world of sto­ry­telling,’ he com­ments. Known for two of the most spell­bind­ingly chic hotels in new York, gramercy Park and 11 howard, aby’s style eye is ex­em­plary as a cu­ra­tor of sen­so­rial ur­ban edens, so when he says he was ‘in­volved in choos­ing ev­ery de­tail, each nu­ance of cre­at­ing a unique, mem­o­rable ex­pe­ri­ence’, you can be­lieve it. his vast art col­lec­tion though, save for the damien hirst Spin paint­ing and ge­orge condo sculp­tures

in the lobby, is not be­ing show­cased here be­cause there is no need. The walls at The Jaffa, re­stored to their orig­i­nal fres­coes and honey hued traver­tine, are beau­ti­ful enough naked. This is the point, pos­si­bly, of John Paw­son. ‘While pay­ing close at­ten­tion to de­tail and sim­plic­ity, to pro­por­tion­al­ity, what we cre­ated is in fact com­fort. an en­clave of quiet and beauty, with nat­u­ral flow be­tween the spa­ces. Be­yond the vast cul­tural and his­tor­i­cal con­text, this is first and fore­most a place where one can be com­fort­able, a place that gives ar­chi­tec­tural com­fort and a sense of in­ti­macy,’ John ex­plains.

so, what’s the ho­tel like? It’s con­tex­tual cool. a marvel­lous com­mu­nion of an­cient and con­tem­po­rary with dreamy views over the old town and port of Jaffa. There’s the old part, for­merly the French hos­pi­tal and clois­ter, and a new build­ing, com­pris­ing 120 ho­tel rooms and suites. The in­te­ri­ors jux­ta­pose con­tem­po­rary de­sign and his­toric cul­ture to cel­e­brate and con­nect to Tel aviv’s vi­brant Jaffa neigh­bour­hood, which is hip, artis­tic and movie-set ready in real life. Play­ing a fea­ture role in the de­sign of the ho­tel’s lobby area is the ex­ca­vated cru­sader wall, made all the more strik­ing by the overt con­tem­po­rari­ness in the rest of the space.

There’s an out­door pool and lounge, great restau­rants and a deli, but The chapel Lounge & Bar is pos­si­bly the most marvel­lous of all as an ar­chi­tec­tural blend of the past and present. In the evenings, with lit can­dles and mu­sic, it is a mag­i­cally trans­portive space. There’s an el­e­gance, and a deft con­ser­va­tion of vis­ual in­for­ma­tion, in fact just enough, to prompt you to feel in the now, in a ro­man­tic past life and yet com­pletely some­where new. The Jaffa is a mem­ber of Mar­riott In­ter­na­tional’s The Lux­ury Col­lec­tion brand. The Jaffa

the­jaf­fa­ho­tel.com; John Paw­son john­paw­son.com


the lobby of the jaffa ho­tel in tel avivop­po­site page an­cient and con­tem­po­rary meet in the ho­tel’s im­pres­sive bar and lounge, the chapel

clock­wise, from top left john paw­son; aby rosen; the re­stored walls fea­ture min­i­mal art and adorn­ment to show­case the orig­i­nal colour­ingop­po­site page, from topre­stored de­tails in the up­per parts of the chapel; the de­tailed bal­conies of the ho­tel

the rooms are dressed in neu­tral, calm­ing tones

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