For all its modest size, Tel Aviv, the commercial and tech capital of Israel, still punches above its cultural weight. Distinctive neighbourhoods including White City, where you’ll find the largest inventory of international-style buildings in the world, along with an extensive beachfront lend an engaging and easygoing atmosphere. This vitality is matched by a panoply of stylish hotels encompassing modest hostels and innovative restoration.
It’s easy to understand why American travel magazine Jetsetter voted The Norman the best boutique hotel in the world soon after it opened in 2014. Set in two restored 1920s buildings overlooking the charming King Albert Square on Nachmani Street, it has been leading the pack when it comes to luxury hospitality in Tel Aviv. In addition to 50 rooms and suites, it houses two of Tel Aviv’s favourite fine-dining restaurants: The Norman and the Tel Aviv branch of London’s Dinings. Besides fine dining, guests can enjoy delicious cocktails at the upscale Library Bar.
This opulent Miami hotel chain opened its Tel Aviv outpost in 2017, raising the bar for luxury accommodation in the city. The Setai, a five-star urban resort, is located in a restored historic compound next to the Clock Tower in Jaffa and was once a fortress and an Ottoman prison. It has a rooftop pool plus 120 luxurious rooms and suites, some with breathtaking views over the ancient port and the Mediterranean Sea.
Located in a former textile factory, Fabric Hotel has a design that pays homage to the industrial past of the building with exposed red bricks and wood panelling. Located in the Lev Ha’ir neighbourhood, in the heart of the city, it’s just a five-minute walk from Carmel Market, the Yemenite Quarter and Rothschild Boulevard. On site is a great spot for evening drinks: a New York-themed, all-day cafe-bar run by Imperial Cocktail Bar. And if you’re seeking a stylish yet more economical option, there are rooms with bunk beds.
When the work of local artists, designers and artisans are pooled, a gem like The Vera is born. This 39-room boutique hotel, located in a former office building, features a retro-industrial design and showcases the talents of homegrown artisans and artists, from bespoke furniture to bathroom soaps and liquor in the bar. Situated on Lilinblum Street in Lev Ha’ir , The Vera is ideally located if you’re seeking to explore the best of Tel Aviv.
Hotel Saul is nestled on a residential street near Tel Aviv’s top attractions, including Carmel Market. Inside, the industrial-chic design is an ode to the building’s former life as an office in the 1940s. Restored street lamps, exposed white brick walls and quirky artwork adorning the walls give a contemporary flair. The 34 rooms have high ceilings, pale walls and a modern design where exposed concrete and steel contrast with walnut furnishings. Comforts include hand-woven Turkish linens, toiletries from local artisans and flat-screen TVs equipped with Netflix. From compact, cheaper options to rooms with patios, this hotel caters to a range of budgets. For food, it is home to Barvazi, a gourmet sandwich shop run by one of the leading chefs in Tel Aviv, Raz Rahav.
Located in a restored Bauhaus building, with a trademark white, curved exterior, the Poli House is right next to Carmel Market. Inside, expect a bold, bright and modern interior, with futuristic red pods in the lobby. The 40 light-filled rooms are minimalistic and compact, featuring large windows, stripped floors and colourful furniture, while bathrooms have walk-in rainfall showers. Upstairs, the large, panoramic rooftop has a cocktail bar (which also offers lunch and dinner), a heated swimming pool and a spa, and guests also receive access to a nearby gym. Breakfast is served next door at the popular Loveat cafe, featuring Middle Eastern cuisine.
This luxurious boutique hotel is nestled in the picturesque streets of the American Colony in Neve Tzedek. It was built in 1866 by two American Christian brothers, John and George Drisco, who arrived in Tel Aviv as part of the New England Church of the Messiah’s mission to prepare the land for the second coming. The Drisco is the product of over a decade of restoration work by architect Ari Shaltiel. The 42 elegantly furnished rooms and suites are all different in style, but white walls, wooden floors and marble bathrooms are common features. Some rooms overlook the Mediterranean Sea, the suites offer private terraces with views of Tel Aviv and Jaffa, and you can also book a charming standalone villa. Breakfast at the Zada Restaurant features gourmet egg dishes and brioches, with toppings such as home-cured salmon and poached eggs. For dinner, enjoy a contemporary Ottoman culinary experience, while the Drisco Bar in the lavish lobby serves classic and speciality cocktails, wines and small bites.
This luxury boutique hotel is set in the tree-lined Ben Tsiyon Street in the heart of Tel Aviv, an easy stroll from Dizengoff Street, Rothschild Boulevard and the beach. Inspired by architect Le Corbusier, the property was initially a Bauhaus-style private residence in 1947. Inside, a spiralling marble staircase takes guests up the two-floor building. The hotel offers 18 rooms with a white-on-white colour scheme complemented by Italian furnishings and fireplaces. Some of the rooms offer balconies and patio access. A daily breakfast, with gourmet brioches, fresh cheese and bread, is served on the quaint porch.
Nestled in a side street off Rothschild Boulevard, this boutique hotel offers 23 small but comfortable rooms with a warm colour scheme. On the ground floor you’ll find Bellboy, the coolest speakeasy bar in the neighbourhood with superb, quirky cocktails and delicious bites (such as shrimp dim sum). Breakfast is found at the nearby Nehama VeHetsi cafe, which serves spreads of salads, eggs, fresh juices and coffee. For a treat, indulge in a massage in the hotel spa, which also offers a jacuzzi and sauna.
Amar Grover contributed additional reporting to this article.