“What is the origin of the name Inbal Jerusalem?” I was speaking with Rony Timsit, general manager of one of Jerusalem’s most luxurious five-star hotels, and that was the first question that came to mind. He asked me if I knew what the word inbal meant. Even though I speak Hebrew fluently, I had to admit that I didn’t. Rony explained that an inbal is the clapper in a bell that makes the bell ring. Which led to my next question: What does that have to do with the name of the hotel? He noted that the Inbal is located next to Liberty Bell Park, which was donated by the Jewish Community of Philadelphia, home to the Liberty Bell. A replica of the bell can be found in the park, and because a bell without a clapper has no sound, the hotel’s name “is a way of proclaiming that the hotel is where the ‘sound’ of Jerusalem is centered.”
Walking into the Inbal, you’re greeted by a friendly smile and an open door. Your bags are immediately taken and you’re swiftly checked in. The lobby is decorated with fashionable and comfortable couches, and beautiful fresh flower arrangements that create a colorful ambience.
My room was majestic; airy and tastefully done in earth tones. A terrace facing the Old City allows you to sit and breathe in the sounds and smells of Jerusalem. A small table by the couch had a three-tiered cookie plate full of delicious treats, and leaning against it was a note written by Rony himself. (It wasn’t that I merited special treatment — he writes the notes for all the suites.) The bathroom was situated behind two large doors and I truly felt I was living a “lifestyle of the rich and famous.” To say the people who run the Inbal have thought of everything would be an understatement. It even struck me during my first day there that the suites are recessed so that no noise is heard from the hallway.
I started each day enjoying the hotel’s breakfast in the elegantly designed dining room. You can eat there or take your food outside and soak up Jerusalem’s sun in the hotel’s courtyard. Breakfast is a full and varied buffet. The menu includes Israeli cheeses and yogurts, a variety of seasonal fruits, savory salads, fresh vegetables, several types of fish, eggs cooked à la minute, a choice of muffins, and delicious breads baked onsite. And if you don’t see something you want, every effort will be made to get it for you.
Dinner at the Inbal’s 5-star restaurant, 02, was delectable. (The restaurant is named for Jerusalem’s area code, 02.) I was welcomed by Chef Nimrod Norman and treated to a dinner that included pumpkin steak with sour herb sauce and cilantro pesto, lamb neck shawarma with tender chickpeas, and sour tahini and tatbilla. The wine flowed and the desserts were scrumptious. The staff was friendly and always available. The restaurant concept and menu were selected and developed with the cooperation of the culinary teams of Jerusalem’s well-known Mona Restaurant and Anna Italian Café – under the guidance of renowned chefs Moshiko Gamlieli and Itamar Navon – together with Inbal Executive Chef Nir Elkayam.
The 02 bar combines classic design and specialty cocktails. In addition to cocktails, you can enjoy a wide selection of wines and beers, and an extensive and eclectic menu.
The Inbal is located approximately fifteen minutes from the city’s central shopping district. There is a bus right across the street that goes directly there, or one of the concierge workers will be glad to summon a taxi for you. Should you have any questions about where to go or how to get there, the concierge will point you in the right direction and even make reservations. (The Inbal is privately owned, making it easy to deal with any problems or make on-the-spot decisions.)
The Inbal Spa pampers guests with massage therapies, body treatments, and facials delivered by experienced therapists. With its holistic approach to mind, body, and spirit, the exclusive, full-service spa uses only the best natural oils and eco-friendly products, including AHAVA products and special treatments.
The exclusive Executive Lounge is an ideal place to unwind any time of the day with a light buffet and drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) and a quiet place to work. The lounge is elegantly furnished in contemporary design with a large balcony, featuring a pergola and a bar, that overlooks the historic walls of the Old City.
The heated lap pool, toddler pool, and sundeck are treats all year round – uncovered in the summer and covered in the winter. (A pool lift is available for the disabled). Surrounded by a beautiful border of thick green pine, the pool is a perfect hideaway in the center of Jerusalem.
Across from the spa is the Fitness Center. Its Technogym technology and equipment includes treadmills, reclining bicycles, elliptical cross trainers, personal TV screens and much more. The Fitness Center is open 24 hours a day, a real convenience for guests who are working or touring during the day.
While I was at the hotel I was invited to the Winter Soup Festival, held in The Lounge from November through February, Sundays through Thursdays. During the festival, six different types of soup are prepared daily by Chef Nir Elkayam, who preserves his grandmother’s special recipes. In addition to the soups there are many types of breads, crackers, cheeses and other accoutrements to choose from.
Sof sof (all in all), throughout my stay at the Inbal I felt wonderfully pampered and catered to. So will you.