As I handed my passport to Perach, one of the staff members manning the reception desk at the new Royal Beach Tel Aviv, a fellow guest checked out alongside me, seeking to clarify a few details about the hotel’s plans as she did so.
Seemingly satisfied with the answers, she declared: “I’ll be back.” If I didn’t know any better I could’ve been forgiven for thinking my entrance into the first large, non-boutique hotel to be built in the city for a decade had been carefully choreographed. Of course it wasn’t, but if I’m honest I’d already formed a pretty favourable impression before even reaching the check-in desk.
Step into the spacious lobby of this latest addition to Isrotel’s exclusive collection and you can’t help but be struck by the marriage of modernity and ageless class. Scanning the lobby – featuring a stylish bar that wouldn’t be out of place in any big city hotel – and later the spectacular pool on the fourth floor – were two of those rare occasions when what greets you is more striking than the photos that had attracted you in the first place.
Opened in June on Hayarkon Street, overlooking the beach, the Royal Beach offers 230 rooms and suites, with prices starting from $350 per night. This hotel aims to cater as much for the business traveller as the sun-seeking tourists and families; and guests shouldn’t expect the broad range of leisure and dining facilities of the hotel’s namesake in Eilat.
As you’d expect with any new hotel, General Manager Moshe Kanyas acknowledges that there have been some teething problems, principally with getting the lifts fully operational – but those have now been ironed out. So there’s no excuse not to immerse yourself in the hotel’s dining and relaxation opportunities.
And while failing to sample Tel Aviv’s nightlife or saunter to nearby Charles Clore Park to enjoy the distinctly non-British climate would be practically criminal, for those days when the very thought of steeping out leaves you needing a schluff, you could do far worse than visit the spa, state-of-the-art gym or grab some lunch at the chill-out bar by the pool. Don’t be surprised if you feel the urge to whip out your camera phone when first setting eyes on the latter; guests are greeted by what appears to be an infinity pool with the water seeming to run continuously into the Mediterranean below.
The pool itself is covered but there’s ample space for catching some rays poolside or simply lounging on one of several four poster bed-like structures. Time perhaps to take advantage of free wifi to email that image you’ve just snapped to loved ones anticipating snow back home. For those guests that have worked up a healthy appetite the a la carte menu at the kosher Westside restaurant – which has already received high praise – awaits. Offering indoor and outdoor seating, the restaurant also offers a huge Friday night buffet and breakfast daily.
Consider yourself lucky if you’re served by the infectiously enthusiastic Michael, who on a brief break from darting between tables waxes lyrical about his time working in Spain and jokes that he “reads minds” when I enquire about his seeming ability to know when guests need something.
Aside from Michael, it’s the unique touches which really stand out at the Royal Beach hotel. The corridors along each of its 19 floors offer a stage, replete with theatre-style curtains, for 19 young artists to showcase their photographic work, and for guests and visitors to enjoy a hotel-wide ‘gallery’.
The rooms also betray the keen attention to detail that is a mark of the work of international hotel designer Harald Klein – from the ability to alter the lighting colour to the large triangular sea-view balconies enjoyed by most guests to the decision to house the toilet and shower in separate rooms. The small gap in the ultra-modern sliding doors to the shower room is certainly an eyebrow-raising touch.
Guests staying on the executive floors from 15 to 19 also enjoy free access to the always-quiet business lounge where snacks and drinks are available until 11pm and where I find a further example of the pride the hotel’s staff take in their work and environment.
When I make a comment about the stunning lobby to Ralitsa, who seconds earlier had jumped up to greet me by the door, she smiles broadly and says “Thank you”, as if I’ve just complimented her on her own personal handiwork. Still blissfully unaware that she was talking to a journalist, she goes on to tell me how chatting with guests is among the best parts of the job. “Many people have problems in their lives. I love seeing them come in and relaxing.”
Despite the hotel’s modern feel and plans to introduce a DJ into the lobby in the evenings, Kanyas insisted it aims to attract guests of all ages with “a young state of mind”. With the Royal Beach among the city’s pricier options and much competition from more established hotels nearby, the hotel is certainly setting its sights high.
“At Isrotel improvement is our magic word,” said Kaynas, who has worked at the hotel chain for 22 years. “We are now working towards enhancing the hotel’s ambiance and positioning it as a leading hotel.
“We aim to turn the lobby lounge into the trendiest bar in Tel Aviv. The combination of this and the restaurant will make the Royal Beach Hotel Tel Aviv the perfect dining and entertainment experience for both hotel’s guest and locals.“
Click on www.isrotel.com and to make a reservation contact your local travel agent.