Art Gallery Hotel Haifa - History


In 1938 the High Commissioner Arthur Grenfell Wauchope retires and leaves Israel and the period of growth and prosperity draws to a close. The Commissioner supported the Zionist movement and contributed to the accelerated development of the settlement and the Aliah project. The Haifa port which was established 5 years before was bustling with action and the city turned into a center of trade and activity as well as a gate to the Western world and a bridge to the Middle East. New neighborhoods were built and there was momentum and revival anywhere you turned. The prevalent building style was Bauhaus: clean straight lines, functionality, stark contrast to the ornamented oriental style. The traditional stone building was replaced with tall and smooth walls and the small houses were replaced by mansions alongside the streets that have become longer. A hotel was built among those houses: new, modern and big that was supposed to accommodate rich merchants, army and navy commanders. It was also designed to host statesmen and the heads of the Jewish Agency, HaHagana and the Histadrut. David Ben Gurion, Ygaal Alon, Itzhak Rabin, Moshe Sharet and many more frequented the hotel in Haifa.


In 1948 the hotel guests were standing on top of the roof and watched the British flag lowered down and the last of the British soldiers boarding the ship. The state of Israel was established and fought for its existence. The hotel accommodated the heads of the new and young state as well as IDF commanders and mayors of northern cities. The hotel corridors were bustling with activity: orders had been made and news about battles and triumphs spread. With time, the hotel lost its high position. It turned into an office building and nothing remained of its glorious past and the unparalleled receptions that were held by the mayors of Haifa throughout the ages: Hassan Shukri, Abba Schneller and Joseph Almogi.


A group of entrepreneurs decided to restore the hotel's passed glory. They replaced the technical systems but carefully kept the original design and decided on a design line of restrained prestige, functionality and modesty while also stressing the concept of contribution to the community: in conjunction with providing accommodation the hotel will become a nationalistic house for Haifa and the North. The name of the hotel was chosen to suit its purpose.


The hotel is characterized by a restrained combination of old and new, conservation and renewal, tradition and modernism. The rooms are comfortable and well-equipped and its walls provide opportunity to artists to reveal their works and creations free of charge. The atmosphere is quiet and there is personal touch and favourable attitude. No fewer than 9 exhibitions and open displays and stands are placed at the hotel encouraging the public to come and take a look.