One of the amazing things about traveling around Israel is the mixing of so many different cultures and traditions. Imagine my astonishment when our hotel on the shore of the Sea of Galilee turned out to be like a visit to the Scotland of a hundred years ago!
Bordering the Sea of Galilee in Tiberias, the Scots Hotel in Israel boasts an exceptional blend of fascinating cultures, both local and foreign. Founded by a Scottish surgeon on a medical mission, Dr. David Watt Torrance came to Israel and built a hospital in 1894. This hospital transitioned into a maternity hospital in the 50s, and in 1999, the Church of Scotland opened a hotel that would serve as a commonplace of peace for all guests passing through. The only Reformed church in Galilee, the Church of Scotland often uses the Scots Hotel as a host for concerts and religious groups of all persuasions, a place where multiple cultures combine. This open atmosphere was the perfect setting on which to base our trip to the holy land, providing us with exceptional service during our exploration of the rich history surrounding the Scots Hotel.
Tiberias is located on the western shores of the Sea of Galilee and has long been associated with health and processes of healing. It is a popular holiday destination, combining the best of relaxation, nature, history and culture.
The reconstructed antique rooms of the hotel are located in two separate buildings. These incredible rooms bring guests back to the end of the 19th century with a few key, modern improvements. Plasma screen TVs, espresso machines, and hair dryers are some of the few amenities that founder Dr. David Watt Torrance certainly didn’t have access to back in the day. These rooms are located in what was originally his house, or, in the nursing school that was also home to the minister.
Our room was a deluxe room located in the main building. These rooms offer a modern take on classic Scottish style, many of which offer a beautiful view of the Sea.
The David building is host to the Torrance Restaurant, where you can enjoy a truly different dining experience while on a balcony surrounded by gorgeous gardens. Originally the maternity hospital, the Torrance Restaurant plays with traditional Israeli cuisine and Scottish influence, creating a culinary twist on two very different styles of gustation. With herbs grown from the hotel’s garden and ingredients from local vendors, you are guaranteed a true taste of Galilee.
Thousands of wine bottles from the wineries of the North make up the wine cellar at The Scots Hotel. What was once the hospital’s stove now contains bottles from wineries in Galil Mountain, Daltan, and Basalt (to name a few) as well as select wines from France and Italy. The Knight’s Table in the cellar plays host to whisky and wine workshops and tastings, and can sit up to 20 diners for meals and private events.
There is no question as to which culture has laid the foundation for the Ceilidh Bar: the majority of the 80 types of whisky available are imported from Scotland. Located in the David building’s lobby, it is commonplace for guests to sip whisky or indulge in one of the seasonal fruit shakes while listening to the featured performers or demonstration of the soiree.
Guests can enjoy the instant gratification of waking up and running straight out to the water; the grassy areas behind the hotel give way to the enchanting Sea of Galilee. There is also the hotel’s enormous swimming pool, an enclosure large enough to hold events of up to 400 people. The area known as “The Beach Garden” and displays a unique variety of plants and flowers, it’s also a great spot for events or performances.
You can take advantage of the nourishing minerals yielded by a landed blessed with the best of the mountains and the sea. The Lakeview Wellness Centre & Spa by L’Occitane invites you to relax in the tranquil atmosphere provided by expert therapists and rejuvenating treatments. Whether you seek a traditional Hamman Treatment or are incensed by the aromas of the French-inspired L’Occitane therapies, you are sure to emerge feeling revitalized.
The hotel also has a large gallery with original works of art of Jewish, Moslem and Christian artists mainly from the Galilee region displayed indoor the galleries and outside the hotel gardens areas. Make sure you stop in and see the collection.
The Scots Hotel is centrally located in Tiberias Old City, and adjacent to Saint Peter’s Church and within a 10-minute stroll of Tiberias Marina. The hotel offers free breakfast, free parking and free Wifi in rooms and public areas. If you are coming to Tiberias book a room here, you won’t regret it.