Tel Aviv hotels are experiencing a renaissance. At long last there’s a host of credible, creative lodging alternatives to the aging and often ungainly hotel towers lining the city’s famed seaside promenade (and most are actually quite close to the beach). Rates vary widely and fluctuate by season but, as elsewhere in Israel, they always include breakfast.
The best-known and arguably best boutique hotel in Tel Aviv makes its home in a refurbished 1922 building in the heart of the Bauhaus architecture district. The 12 rooms are luxuriously furnished and feature wood floors, high ceilings and tall windows; bathrooms are stocked with amenities by Olia, a Tel Aviv-based company noted for its high quality olive oil products. The hotel’s French-Vietnamese restaurant occupies most of the lobby, and is perennially one of the most popular in town. Rooms from $380
This very new hotel’s original Bauhaus building, now completely renovated, was designed in 1934 as the office for the newspaper Haaretz. In front of the reception desk there are rotating art installations; behind it you’ll find staff with the kind of all-knowing affability they can’t teach you in hospitality management school. It’s almost like having a small team of doormen to speed you along to one of the 54 rooms and suites which look and feel more like furnished apartments than hotel rooms: upscale and not overly fancy.
Israeli art and photography lines the corridors and walls, varying by floor, and regular gallery evenings bring home the point that the Diaghilev exists to pay more than lip service to the creative spirit. Request a room with one of the typically rounded Bauhaus balconies. Rooms start at about $170.
Israeli art collector Doron Sebbag is the owner of this Tel Aviv original where five Israeli artists had a free hand to dress up a corridor. If the free-ranging artistic expression you’ll see on your way to your guestroom doesn’t float your boat worry not, because here the rooms are minimalist and sleek, with white the predominant color.
Things are much more varied at the simply fetching breakfast buffet (taken inside or out) to boot – what’s not to like? The traffic noise, possibly, so request a room in the back. Otherwise, you’re looking at a fine little urban hotel, replete with a “chillout” roof terrace, and just minutes’ walk from the beach. Rooms from about $200
With just five suites, this upscale place is almost too small to be called a hotel – and there is no formal lobby – but if luxurious rest and relaxation is what you’re after you will find it here in spades. The location is in the heart of Neve Tzedek, which was the first neighborhood settled in Tel Aviv and today one of its prettiest, leafiest and trendiest.
The suites here are large, airy and bright, with exceptionally comfortable sofas and beds. with a color scheme the mixes pure white with lovely pastel shades. Check hotel site for rates
Not strictly speaking a boutique hotel (270 guestrooms making it a bit too large for the category), The Carlton nevertheless has a fun non-chain hotel flair. The rooms pack all the modern conveniences but tend to be small, so do request a room with a sea-facing balcony.
The Israeli breakfast buffet here is really extraordinary, from its freshness and variety to the sea views. Note that during Tel Aviv’s Gay Pride week (in June) The Carlton is the hottest property in town, thanks to its forward position on the seaside promenade, flanking the approach to Tel Aviv's gay beach. Rooms from about $280
6. Hotel Savoy
There's something extremely appealing and relentlessly cheerful about this small, totally renovated and often overlooked hotel. Oversized fabric headboards with faintly erotic floral motifs rise above comfy beds and hardwood floors. Sliding glass doors open to small balconies with Careless Whisper-worthy sea views. This is a perfect example of a mid-sized non-chain hotel that offers uncomplicated contemporary comfort away from the urban fray and virtually across the street from the beach. Rooms from about $150
7. Cinema Hotel
The bleach-white curvilinear façade of this centrally located and budget-friendly hotel asserts its Bauhaus identity with ease. This onetime movie house is now home to 82 guestrooms. You’ll find old film projectors, movie posters and, best of all, free popcorn in the lobby! But worry not, the vintage flavor does not extend to the modern rooms. Also, chill out on the roof top terrace or catch a late-night movie in the cineplex across the street. Rooms from about $213
8. The Brown
You don’t have to like earth tones to appreciate The Brown, but it wouldn’t hurt, because it’s brown up and down at Tel Aviv’s newest boutique hotel. From the lobby to the guestrooms, if you go looking for black, white or other you’re not going to find it, the sole exception being the partitions between the bedroom area and bathrooms: those are made of transparent glass.
Nifty, yes, but unfortunately no design sleight of hand can disguise the fact that the rooms here are unusually tiny, meaning not only is a big suitcase going to get in the way, but that noise from neighbors’ doors can be an issue. Rooms from about $170
So you want to be thisclose to the beach but you don’t want to finish the day in a generic hotel room? The new and aptly-named Shalom & Relax hotel may be just what you’re looking for. The deliciously fragranced lobby is a restrained but posh study in blue and white, with lots of comfortable armchairs, making for beach house atmosphere more akin to Cape Cod than the Mediterreanean.
But speaking of the water, the best part of the beach is just across the street. Now, it’s ultra-busy Hayarkon Street we’re talking about, so request a room in the back to avoid noise issues. The 51 guestrooms are nicely designed and immaculately clean, but most are on the small side. Rooms from about $263