You don’t really need a reason to go to Israel, but there are many in 2019. For starters – cue big drum roll – there’s the Eurovision Song Contest from May 14-18 at Tel Aviv Exhibition Ground.
This will be the first time Eurovision has been hosted in Israel for 20 years, so unless you are one of Queen Netta’s cousins, start thinking about where you will be staying.
Add to that Gay Pride, The International Festival of Puppet Theatre in Jerusalem, events staged around food, film and art across the country and family to throw your arms around, well, it’s time you booked into a great hotel and for a range of budgets.
New to Jerusalem’s city centre are Ibis City Centre and Ibis Styles by Accor Hotels. Both are on Jaffa Street, just a minute away from the Old City and kosher, which is a real plus as kashrut observers know there are surprisingly few.
Stylish, comfortable with their signature ‘sweet beds’ and affordable, both are ideal bases for easy exploring. (ibis.accorhotels.com)
Sometimes the design of a hotel is reason enough to stay there and that is Jerusalem’s David Citadel, a modern landmark juxtaposed against the ancient world. Israeli architect, Moshe Safdie whose work includes Yad Vashem teamed with interior designers, Piero Lissoni to create the property which is theatrical in its use of furnishing, light and local stone.
This runs through the rooms and suites which all have uncompromising views of the city and matched by those at the pool. There is a spa too and several restaurants, one being sushi and the other Seasons where Executive chef Avi Turgeman is renowned for his global menus. (thedavidcitadel.com)
A stay at David Citadel could spoil you in much the same way as the Mamilla Hotel does. Rightfully claimed as one of The Leading Hotels of the World (LHW), The Mamilla is also the work of Piero Lissoni and takes its name from the 19th century neighbourhood in which it stands adjacent to the Jaffa Gate and where Theodore Herzl first stayed in 1898.
Egyptian cotton linen, Bulgari ameneties, luxury rooms and a panoramic rooftop terrace are just part of the properties appeal along with fresh catches at the Happy Fish restaurant and the Mirror Bar which is for those who like their nightlife stylish. (mamillahotel.com)
Stars refuse to stay anywhere but the super deluxe 280 room Dan Tel Aviv, which was the first luxury hotel to be built in Israel and it is more than nostalgia that keeps guests coming back.
It also has the gourmet kosher restaurant Hayarkon 99. It is the reliability of Dan Hotels that their returning guests enjoy.
With Dan properties in key cities and by the sea, it is the King David in Jerusalem that remains the jewel in the crown, garnering excellent references from the likes of Prince William.
The Setai, Tel Aviv, belongs to the renowned Nakash brothers (Joe, Ralph and Avi) who have brought their good taste to this dynamite property in Old Jaffa by Clock Square. “Luxury Meets History” is how the brothers pitch The Setai, TelAviv which was a fortress during the Crusades and then a prison in the Ottoman period.
Not that any of its previous residents would recognize it now with all the modern oak, leather furnishings and 120 rooms and Suites with rainfall showers and 49-inch IPTVs. Add to this a spa, hand-crafted cocktail bar and the Jaya Chef Restaurant blending the culinary heritage of Jaffa with the Setai’s Turkish roots and nothing will keep you away. (thesetaihotel.co.il)
Be sure to take a good look at the website for Tamares Hotels. Their beautifully decorated properties are in great locations like the Daniel in Herziliya and the Dead Sea, the West Boutiques in Ashdod and Tel Aviv.
Then there is the showcase Shizen with spa in Herziliya Petuach which has offers 40 elegant Japanese styled rooms and a roster of yoga and aerobic classes. (tamareshotels.com)
“We didn’t want to leave” wrote a guest on Trip Advisor summing up his stay at the Carlton Tel Aviv. “The staff are all professional and courteous, and the place is so very clean. The best way to begin each day is breakfast at the unique indoor/outdoor setting on the beach.
There was food from front to back, all fresh and just made.” And that is all anyone needs by way of a recommendation for this panoramic sea-view property with roof top pool, spacious rooms and chef Meir Adoni who makes innovative Jewish food in the Lumina restaurant. (carlton.co.il)
In Netanya The David Tower by Sofitel is by the long promenade overlooking the sea. A good size with only 75 exclusive rooms and suites, there are fewer guests to compete with to enjoy the Spa with indoor heated pool, Turkish Hammam, Sauna, Fitness Centre and numerous beauty treatments. Be sure to be up for the excellent kosher breakfast. (sofitel.accorhotels.com)
There’s something to be said for ‘ come as you go’ accommodation and the Okeanos Aparthotel which sits between Herzliya’s beaches and the hi-tech business district more than ticks the box. Okeanos are the Wembley Arena of apartments delivering both in size (they’re enormous) and quality. Let’s just say there is more than enough space to work and socialise in and each comes with a fully-equipped kitchen.
The marina, shopping mall, restaurants and bars are just outside, but you may prefer to make your own coffee, sit on the balcony and take in the view. (okeanos.co.il)
Molcho Neve Tzedek
And so to the Molcho Neve Tzedek which manages to combine the freedom of an apartment with the amenities and atmosphere of a luxury boutique hotel with suites furnished in the way you would hope to do your home. Painstaking renovation of the original 1910 building has turned this place into a designer dream from the objet d’art to the wooden shutters.
It has all the charm of a vintage residence but with all the luxuries plus staying in the artistic area of Neve Tzedek which spins the experience. (nevetzedek.com)
Have you got a big event coming up that you would like to celebrate in Israel? Would you like to take your family, a few cousins and a good friend or two with you on this vacation? What if you could all stay in the same villa but each in a luxurious room of their own?
If this sounds tempting you need to look around The Elysee Villa in the centre of Sadot Micha as the seven bedrooms make it ideal for hosting a large group of people and the magnificent swimming pool, immaculate garden and exquisite furniture makes it a holiday.
That this luxurious villa is built in the shape of a castle is a bonus, along with several well equipped kitchens, gorgeous bathrooms, a spacious dining area and a Presidential Suite with an eight metre high ceiling and round bed covered with crocodile leather.
The latter is made for a wedding night and the owners are happy to take bookings for bachelorette and birthday parties.
On a bigger scale The Woodland (Lev Hachoresh) Estate in Shomera, west of the Galilee has three luxury villas – the Asperg, Gladiola and Orchid which can accommodate 16 people with each getting their own bathroom.
Two of the villas have game rooms complete with Sony Playstation, air hockey and a Smart TV and all of them have fully equipped kitchens with a large refrigerator, oven, and dishwasher plus all the pots and utensils. The living rooms all have satellite and cable and snooker tables and each villa has its own pool – heated and covered in the winter, a spa Jacuzzi, ping pong table, BBQ area and sun beds. Children’s beds and play-pens can be arranged and there is a synagogue nearby. Now tell the family. (www.hayokra.co.il)