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Friday, December 19, 2014

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Hotel helps make a visit to Jerusalem dreamlike

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Dan Panorama Jerusalem lobby

The view from the 9th floor balcony patio of the Carmel Executive Lounge at the Dan Panorama Hotel in Jerusalem is exhilarating. It stirs the imagination. It calms the soul. 

The hills and promontories outside the balcony roll south and west to the many-peopled rising heights of Judea and to the red and orange sunset that quickly fills the sky and then just as quickly disappears toward tomorrow. To the north, one looks up Keren Hayesod Street to the heart of Jerusalem’s downtown core. In all, it is a wonderful sight especially when viewed while sipping a restorative cappuccino and snacking on light refreshments in the extreme comfort of the lounge. I can attest to the supreme delight of the experience as I was recently a guest at the Dan Panorama Hotel in Jerusalem and was able to relax in the lounge throughout my stay.

But relaxing was not restricted to the executive lounge. Relaxation and a sense of calm repose were the chief consequences in general of the amenities, services and helpful devotion to detail by the friendly hotel staff for the duration of my visit there.

So often in Israel, the hotel lobby is the reunion site for the urgent but tender embrace of relatives and friends who are seeing each other after long gaps in time, if not for the first time. The Dan Panorama Jerusalem’s lobby is a perfect reunion site. Recently renovated, it is a warm, softly lit, WIFI accessible, wood-paneled welcoming area, with sufficient numbers of distinct configurations of chairs, sofas and tables that allow for private discussions, effusive or discrete exchanges of emotions or simply the quiet space in which to remove one’s shoes after a long day of walking and exploring. The hotel bar, similarly appointed in soft light and dark tones of colour, is adjacent to the lobby and offers an additional refuge.

Part of the storied Israeli luxury hotel chain, the Dan Panorama Jerusalem, hews to the high standards for which the chain’s 14 Israeli hotels are renowned. The hotel’s famous Israeli breakfast is a cornucopia of morning delectables that encompasses an inexhaustible range of salads, cheeses, fishes, cereals and the oh-so-very-delicious offerings of different kinds of breads. Breakfast at the hotel was an activity in itself to be experienced, savoured and remembered. Should they choose, guests can rest and “recover” from the incomparable breakfast experience by stretching out on the rooftop pool. Alternatively should they wish to prepare for the next day’s breakfast extravaganza, guests can exercise in the hotel’s exercise room. In addition to the welcoming atmosphere of the hotel and its crowning achievement as a comfortable place of lodging, its central location sets it far above many other hotels in the city. Its location is ideal.

In all directions, the hotel is within easy walking distance of so many of the iconic historic, cultural and national sites of Jerusalem. East and a tad north, a short walk past the famous YMCA and the Dan’s flagship King David Hotel, a guest can stroll to the new Mamilla promenade and the Jaffa Gate of the Old City. Heading south from the front door of the hotel, a guest can walk to the storied neighbourhood of Yemin Moshe, to see the Montefiore windmill and the artists’ Mishkenot Sha’ananim. From there the walk leads past the Menachem Begin Heritage Museum, and with a short jog west to the German Colony and the trendy district of Emek Refa’im. Alternatively, the hotel guest can choose to walk north from the hotel along Keren Hayesod to the busy pedestrian mall on Ben Yehuda Street. In a very real sense, the hotel is a hub in all directions.

A stay at the Dan Panorama helps fulfil and make dreamlike a visitor’s tour of Jerusalem, whether it is the first visit or the 1,000th.

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