Intel Hotel: Tel Aviv is full of beach resorts, boutique openings

Heather Reisman, CEO of Indigo, is co-developing R48 Hotel and Garden.

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Israel has reopened to foreign travelers just in time for spring celebrations, and the hospitality industry is announcing several new establishments in Tel Aviv.

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The range includes premium resorts and trendy boutique hotels, such as R48 Hotel and Garden, a heritage treasure developed by Toronto couple Heather Reisman, CEO of Indigo Books & Music, and Gerald Schwartz, CEO of private equity firm Onex Corporation.

Tel Aviv is known for its vibrant nightlife, beach bliss and fabulous cuisine, all fueled by over 300 days of sunshine a year. The food scene is a paragon of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine, with local wine and a wealth of vegetarian options.

“Many tourists come just for the cuisine, which is both casual and fine,” said Gal Hana, Israel’s tourism director for Canada. “The flavors of Israel mix so many religions and so many cultures. This diverse melting pot is unique.

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Also a forerunner in technology and medical advances, Israel pioneered COVID research and recently opened the border to foreigners with PCR tests.

Many landmarks have been modernized, including the Charles Bronfman Auditorium (aka the Tel Aviv Cultural Center). Opened in 1957, it is the home of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and has featured legends such as Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand and Michael Jackson.

Here is an overview of the new hotels in Tel Aviv.

The R48 Hotel and Garden, a boutique hotel developed by Toronto business moguls Heather Reisman and Gerald Schwartz, will open in late summer or fall.
The R48 Hotel and Garden, a boutique hotel developed by Toronto business moguls Heather Reisman and Gerald Schwartz, will open in late summer or fall. Photo by Dor Kedmi

Canadian content: The R48 Hotel and Garden, a boutique beauty in a Bauhaus architectural masterpiece, will open in late summer or fall with 11 exclusive suites, a lush garden and extraordinary cuisine, in collaboration with the hospitality virtuoso Rutie Broudo.

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“The restoration of this piece of jewelry is a labor of love,” Reisman said. “R48 has an iconic location on Rothschild Blvd., a stone’s throw from Independence Hall where David Ben-Gurion signed and announced the Declaration of the State of Israel in May 1948.” R48 also refers to the Rothschilds, the aristocratic family fundamental to Israel’s early development.

Additionally, Reisman and Schwartz are discussing a project with Meir Teper, the Israeli partner of the Nobu Hospitality triumvirate, which also includes Robert De Niro and super chef Nobu Matsuhisa.

The MGallery Elkonin Tel Aviv will include a restaurant from the Joël Robuchon group.
The MGallery Elkonin Tel Aviv will include a restaurant from the Joël Robuchon group. Photo of MGallery Elkonin Tel Aviv

Around the city: The sensational David Kempinski Tel Aviv opens this month on the city’s bustling promenade along the coveted coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The 32-story hotel offers 250 rooms and suites (plus an adjacent condo tower) and five-star living with fine kosher dining, a cigar and whiskey bar, gym, spa, and two outdoor pools ( one reserved for signature suites).

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There will be plenty of mouth-watering food. The Joel Robuchon Group, with a record 32 Michelin stars in its global empire, will operate L’Epoque in the new Accor MGallery Elkonin Tel Aviv hotel. MGallery will open mid-year in the upscale neighborhood of Neve Tzedek, in an ornate vintage building that was Tel Aviv’s first hotel in the early 1900s. With 44 luxury rooms in soft colors of ocean aqua, rose seashell and pale sand, it feels boutique, but it will be full-service, with an outdoor pool and a Clarins spa.

Hotel BoBo, a Brown Hotel, is a “bourgeois bohemian” mix with a golden sheen of classic glamor and contemporary touches such as concrete columns. A standout 200-room design near Rothschild Blvd., BoBo features a rooftop playground with a cocktail bar, sun deck, hot tub, and plunge pool. Méli-Mélo is BoBo’s “kitchen bar,” where celebrity chef Meir Adoni combines Israeli-Mediterranean cuisine with Japanese and French flavors.

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A sister property, the Debrah Brown, also offers rooftop loungers and loungers, as well as Dvora, a kosher restaurant by celebrity chef Eyal Shani. This culinary maestro has more than 20 successful locations around the world, including North Abraxas and HaSalon in Tel Aviv and HaSalon in New York.

Debrah Brown, by Brown Hotels, features a rooftop pool and a kosher restaurant by celebrity chef Eyal Shani.
Debrah Brown, by Brown Hotels, features a rooftop pool and a kosher restaurant by celebrity chef Eyal Shani. Photo by Brown Hotels /.jpg

The Ink Hotel is a sensational new boutique near the Carmel Market and the shopping and culture of Sheinkin St. It is a new construction with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Tel Aviv’s Bauhaus White City buildings . The Ink has luxe urban-chic decor, balconies, rooftop gardens around a pool, plus a gym, massage room, and conference space. Perks include pillow menus, Nespresso, and late check-out (subject to availability). Ink’s lively bar and restaurant, Sun Young, is a hot spot for a world of wine, cocktails, sushi and a modern fusion of Asian cuisine with Mediterranean accents.

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Swissôtel South Beach Tel Aviv, another chic Accor brand, will be a wellness resort in Bat Yam with 236 rooms in two glass towers, plus wellness and water galore: spa treatments, a Dead Sea pool, an Olympic-size indoor pool and an outdoor infinity pool. Bat Yam, south of Jaffa, has some of the most beautiful stretches of beachfront in Israel, attracting both surfers and sun worshippers.

The Ink Hotel is home to Sun Young Restaurant and Bar.
The Ink Hotel is home to Sun Young Restaurant and Bar. Picture of Hotel Ink

If you are going to

Tourism in Tel Aviv: visit.tel-aviv.gov.il. Tourism in Israel: info.goisrael.com. For COVID-19 testing and border requirements, see israelsafe.com or corona.health.gov.il.

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