The imaginary palace King Solomon built for the queen is what Hilton International set out to construct with this imposing example of grandeur: a palatial entrance capped with a pillared dome rises between two turrets, with a wing of more than 200 rooms on either side. Khaki-colored curtains cover the windows of the 40-foot-high lobby, and Italian mosaics of biblical animals cover the floor. The queen must have loved cats—images of them are everywhere. The bedrooms have
gold-framed mirrors, taupe-and-orange carpeting, Egyptian-motif black-and-taupe bedspreads and curtains, and marble bathrooms with hand-painted murals. Rooms on even-numbered floors have balconies (some with Jacuzzis) facing the sea or the marina. Opened in late 1999, the 14-floor hotel was developed by Itzhak Tshuva (who recently snapped up Manhattan's Plaza Hotel) and designed by the Romanian-born architect Shlomo Gertner. Transparent gold-cage elevators offer views of the atrium as they rise.