There are not many hills in the world whose names have been recorded in history for thousands of years, fewer still with views that have inspired poetry and song — and fewer still of those with a luxury hotel perched on it. The Dan Jerusalem Hotel on Mt. Scopus overlooking the Holy City, therefore, represents a rare phenomenon — and reason enough to make the short list of places to stay in the Israeli capital.
The impressive hotel building itself has a history of serving luxury brands; it was a Hyatt Regency before being acquired by the award-winning Dan chain, which invested $8 million in refurbishing the marble-floored atrium and guest rooms. The King David Lounge, which offers extra amenities to guests of suites and the Executive rooms, was among the upgrades; it overlooks the Old City and boasts a telescope trained directly at the Dome of the Rock.
Quite a few of the hotels’ 505 guest rooms and suites have panoramic views of the Old City and East Jerusalem, some with balconies. All rooms feature new 42″ LCD TV’s with cable reception and multimedia outlets, personal safes, coffeemakers and mini-refrigerators, work desks, two-line telephones and superior mattresses and duvets. Each is superbly climate-controlled, with an adjustable thermostat operating the central air-conditioning and heating. There are also rooms and suites that accommodate disabled guests — and even a modified reception desk in the lobby that is handicap-accessible.
Not long ago, the Dan chain, in response to customer feedback, equipped all its hotels with free wi-fi that extends to guest rooms and public areas, even reaching both the indoor and outdoor pool areas. Similarly, the entire property is 100% smoke-free.
Another major perk for guests at the Dan Jerusalem (as indeed, at all Dan hotels) is its lavish complimentary breakfast buffet, with hot and cold buffet spreads, omelette and smoothie stations, and even a taboon — the regional stone oven for baking fresh flatbreads. There are several restaurants and snack bars on-site; but for fine dining there is no better choice than La Regence, at the King David Hotel, the Dan chain’s iconic property in Jerusalem.
It’s easy to get to any destination in the city from the hotel, as it is located just a short walk from the modern light rail system. The sleek tram is worth taking as a sightseeing experience as well as a mode of transportation. Parents can even take the day off and leave the kids safe and sound to play in Danyland, a popular program that operates at the hotel during school vacation times and keeps kids happy and occupied while parents tour or relax.
Adults will also find it easy to relax at the hotel, at one of the two swimming pools or the fitness and health club, which offers a fully equipped gym, Jacuzzis, saunas, Turkish baths, masssages — even Dead Sea mud treatments. And the real thing is not far away: one of the great natural wonders of the world lies only 25 minutes down the road from the Dan Jerusalem’s perch atop storied Mt. Scopus.
Text and photos (unless otherwise credited) by Buzzy Gordon, who was a guest of the Dan Jerusalem for purposes of review.