BRUTALIST MITVACHIM SANATORIUM BECOMES ELMA ARTS COMPLEX AND HOTEL
In 1968, the Mitvachim Sanatorium opened in the hills of Zichron Ya’akov, less than an hour north of Tel Aviv in Israel. Designed by architect Yaakov Rechter, the wave-like two-story structure gained international attention for its brutalist design, seeming to float above Mount Carmel, winning Rechter the Israel Award for Architecture in 1973 (more photos and drawings from back then are here).
Like so many others before it, the building fell into disuse and was to be torn down, until it was purchased by Israeli philanthropist Lily Elstein a decade ago to create a ‘world-class centre for the arts and boutique hotel’. With the help of Yaakov Rechter’s son, years were put into restoring the building according to the original plans and materials, with the end result being this: the Elma Arts Complex Hotel.
As expected, art is everywhere. Elma Hall is a 450-seat auditorium and concert hall, there is an orchestra pit ‘for complex productions’, four amphitheaters, the Elstein Galleries for paintings and sculptures, and interactive master classes conducted by dancers, musicians, actors and authors.
The hotel has 95 rooms and suites, split between the main building and a range of cottages. Many have far-reaching views from their balconies and terraces. Four ‘artist rooms’ are generally reserved for artists in residence, who use them as their base for ‘extended periods of creative work’. There is a Mediterranean restaurant, a spa with eight treatment rooms, a hammam, and both an indoor and outdoor pool, the latter with poolside restaurant and bar.
Rates for a standard room in the main building start at 1,050NIS (around £190 / €240 / $270).
[Photos: Elma Arts Complex Hotel]