Tourism is booming in Tel Aviv. Here are some exciting additions to the hospitality scene in the most intriguing neighborhoods of the White City.
A whole new crop of remarkable hotels opened this year in Tel Aviv-Jaffa, mainly in the trendy southern neighborhoods near the Jaffa flea market and port, Carmel Market, Nahalat Binyamin artisans fair, high-tech Rothschild Boulevard, artsy Neve Tzedek and hip Florentin.
Other new hotels are sited in central or “Old North” Tel Aviv for a more traditional taste of the city. All are just a hop, skip and jump from the city’s famous Mediterranean beaches and vibrant nightlife options.
Here are nine of the best new hotels in Tel Aviv:
DAVE GORDON HOTEL: Best new low-budget boutique hotel
If you’re looking for relatively low-cost accommodations in Tel Aviv, this quirky property from Brown Hotels’ new “Son of a Brown” brand fits the bill. Its central location near the beach gives equal access to the artistic and professional faces of Tel Aviv in a prime shopping district.
Dave Gordon’s no-elevator four-story preserved Bauhaus building is furnished with flea-market finds and “funky, weird, daring and fun” novelties. Guests get vouchers for meals at two neighborhood cafés and a discount on a nearby gym.
Address: 17 Gordon St.
Amenities: Video game console, library, sitting courtyard, bike rentals
Parking: In nearby public lot on Frishman Street
THE DRISCO: Best new restored hotel
The Hardegg Jerusalem Hotel, built in the 1860s by John and George Drisco, was the region’s first luxury hotel until it was taken over in 1940 as a British military headquarters and later as a shelter for Jewish refugees from Europe.
A $35 million investment and 10-year restoration project brought the hotel back to life earlier this year as The Drisco, part of the Leading Hotels of the World group. Situated in South Tel Aviv’s American-German Colony, The Drisco has 42 rooms, some offering views of the Mediterranean and others overlooking Jaffa or the hotel’s courtyard.
A second historic building, the Norton House, is part of the complex. This three-story wood structure, renamed The Villa Drisco, has a five-room suite and Maine-style porches.
Address: 6 Auerbach St.
Amenities: Lounge bar, rooftop bar, and chef restaurant Zada featuring a contemporary spin on the Ottoman cuisine
FABRIC: Best new theme hotel
The Atlas boutique hotel chain’s 10th Tel Aviv property takes its name from the fabric district concentrated in this vivacious area of South Tel Aviv.
Fabric was designed as a “neighborhood saloon” featuring a rough, industrial design and furniture along with colorful art throughout its 43 rooms. In keeping with Tel Aviv’s dog-friendly ambiance, pets are allowed on request.
A variety of room configurations includes those with bunk beds – rare for a hotel that’s not a youth hostel. Fabric’s all-day bar (“from coffee till cocktail”), the Bushwick, is a joint collaboration with Tel Aviv’s famous Imperial Cocktail Bar group.
Address: 28 Nahalat Binyamin St.
Amenities: All-day cocktail bar, free happy hour, free bicycle rental
Parking: In nearby public lot
THE JAFFA HOTEL: Best new Jaffa hotel
The Jaffa was built within the walls of a 19th century complex that once housed Jaffa’s French Hospital. Architects John Pawson and Ramy Gill transformed the original structure into a blend of modern-meets-historic.
In the lobby you can see the remains of a 12-century Crusader-era wall uncovered during more than two decades of renovations. The hotel offers 120 rooms and suites overlooking Jaffa, the Mediterranean, and a hotel courtyard.
Address: 2 Louis Pasteur St.
Amenities: Don Camillo Italian restaurant, L. Raphael Beauty Spa, The Chapel meeting/reception/party space
Parking: Valet, underground parking garage
LIGHTHOUSE BY BROWN HOTELS: Best new youthful hotel
Soft-opened in September, Brown’s Lighthouse Hotel is located in a 1970s Brutalist-style former office tower at the corner of Ben Yehuda and Allenby near the beach.
The 100-room property eventually will include 60 additional rooms and suites, outdoor swimming pool, additional cocktail bar, gym and a sprawling 18th-floor rooftop with an active line of events.
Brown Hotels describes Lighthouse as “a high-energy hotel” geared to “young and fun-seeking” guests. To help set the mood, new arrivals check in at a hybrid reception-bar area, where you get a cocktail along with your room key. Twelve terrace rooms offer expansive balconies with outdoor Jacuzzis surrounded by greenery.
Address: Corner of Ben Yehuda and Allenby streets
Amenities: Rooftop Sky Bar, 2 sundeck terraces, spa, kosher Mediterranean-style dairy/fish restaurant, conference and event facilities
Parking: In nearby lot
LINK HOTEL & HUB: Best new art hotel
Contemporary street art is on display throughout the public spaces and guestrooms of this new Dan Hotels property. Curator/photographer Daniel Siboni, winner of a lifetime achievement award at the Cannes Film Festival, has dedicated each floor to a distinctive Tel Aviv street artist.
The hotel’s Hub includes a common area and a private meeting room. In the evening, the hotel offers cocktails and live music. A giant digital window displays information on nearby entertainment, dining, culture, shopping and nightlife. Pets are welcome at Link.
Address: 39 Shaul Hamelech St.
Amenities: Full-size pool table, board games and retro video games; Link café and Hub Kitchen & Bar (both vegetarian); virtual concierge app
Parking: Private lot
HOTEL SAUL: Best new business-district boutique hotel
Saul’s 34 rooms are described as having an industrial yet homey design concept: “Steel and exposed concrete are juxtaposed with walnut furnishings and restored street lamps to create an eye catching, contemporary feel that captures Tel Aviv’s unique interplay of old and new, of luxury and grit.”
Hotel Saul is not far from Carmel Market and Rothschild Boulevard. But rooms have been acoustically engineered to block out street noise for a good night’s sleep. Guests even get free Netflix and a bucket of popcorn.
This hotel prides itself on its multilingual staff (including Russian, Ukrainian, Latvian, Romanian, Italian, French, Spanish and basic Portuguese, and of course English and Hebrew).
Address: 17 Tchernikovsky St.
Amenities: Barvazi gourmet “sandwicherie,” fourth-floor games terrace, rooftop sundeck, free Netflix
Parking: In a nearby underground garage on Maccabi Street
SETAI TEL AVIV: Best new luxury hotel
This luxury hotel in Jaffa is the result of more than 20 years of preservation work led by the Israel Antiquities Authority to maintain the building’s original Ottoman-era character.
The structure was built as a fortress in 1886 and served as a prison and police station, but workers dug up artifacts dating back to the Crusader period.
Stone and marble corridors connect the property’s five buildings, featuring 120 rooms around a central courtyard.
Address: 22 David Raziel St. (top of the Clock Tower Square)
Amenities: Spa, Turkish hamam (steam bath), infinity rooftop pool, Jaya chef restaurant, Kishle bar, Mediterranean Lounge
VERA BOUTIQUE HOTEL: Best new local design hotel
The 39-room Vera at 27 Lilienblum Street collaborates with local talent (such as furniture designer Tomer Nachshon and lighting designer Ohad Benit) in order to introduce guests to Israel’s unique creative talent and craftsmanship.
The interior, designed by Yaron Tal Studio, combines the industrial style and roughness of the original 1950s office building, its raw floors and unplastered walls, with high-end design and an abundance of greenery.
A lobby vending machine dispenses cocktails created by local mixologists, who also operate the hotel bar. The Vera Magazine replaces traditional concierge service by offering insider tips and recommendations for experiencing the city like a local.
Address: 27 Lilienblum St.
Amenities: Lobby cocktail vending machine, cocktail bar, spa, rooftop sundeck
Parking: Limited on-site spots and public lot nearby
About the Author:
Abigail Klein Leichman is a writer and associate editor at ISRAEL21c. Prior to moving to Israel in 2007, she was a specialty writer and copy editor at a major daily newspaper in New Jersey and has freelanced for a variety of newspapers and periodicals since 1984.