Chain Reaction
Wed, 02/27/2013
Special To The Jewish Week

High-end hotels are blooming in Israel these days like, well, so many spring flowers. 

Three premium hotel chains — the Hilton Corp., the Ritz Carlton and the Jewish state’s Isrotel — will open new venues in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Herzliya in the next few months, in time for the summer travel season.

Hilton is transporting New York’s Waldorf Astoria experience to site of the former Palace Hotel in the form of the 226-room Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem. The new venue blends the architectural grandeur of old Jerusalem with the hotel’s renowned state-of-the-art amenities; it is set to open just before the start of the summer tourism season.

Given the large expenditure from the Hilton chain and the hotel’s owners, expectations are running high. “Our high-end customers will enjoy the best of everything,” says the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem’s general manager, Guy Kleiman, “from unprecedented service and beautiful rooms to incredible gourmet kosher food prepared by our executive chef, Franco Luise, who was the executive chef in one of the most exclusive restaurants in Venice.”

Kleiman said the hotel has already attracted many advance bookings all the way into 2015.

In Tel Aviv, the 23-story Royal Beach Tel Aviv Hotel, which is set to open in May, is the newest addition to the Isrotel chain’s “Exclusive Collection” of five-star luxury hotels. The 240-room facility, which is located on the beach promenade in the heart of the city, is, like the Waldorf, aimed at the high-end traveler. “For many years, Isrotel was known as a typical hotel company that operated some quality hotels in Eilat for the locals and European winter tourists,” says the chain’s CEO, Lior Raviv. The Royal Beach, he suggests, will be different, with large rooms with ocean views, a high-quality spa and a chic beachfront kosher restaurant. “We decided to change our strategy and aggressively target the business traveler and upscale tourist markets, because we believe that the high-end service we already provide in our Exclusive Collection hotels (Bereshit, Carmel Forest Spa, etc.) as well as the new Royal Beach Tel Aviv, will enhance our image as offering the best ‘destination’ hotels.”

(In June, Isrotel will also open the Cramim Spa Hotel as part of its Exclusive Collection. The 156-room boutique hotel, which is located in the scenic hills between Jerusalem and Modiin, will target young couples and business travelers who can enjoy a unique spa experience amid the beauty of the area, which is adjacent to forests and mountains,” says Raviv.)

Within the scenic Herzliya Marina (located just north of Tel Aviv), the Ritz Carlton Hotel chain is preparing to open its first luxury facility in Israel in June. The hotel, which sits atop the tony Herzliya Arena Mall, features 197 rooms and 82 suites, with balconies overlooking the marina and the Mediterranean coastline. Amenities will include a rooftop pool, multi-level spa and health club, as well the chain’s first kosher restaurant.

Spring Deals

Many of Israel’s finest hotels are offering a variety of deals, upgrades and new amenities during the next few months. Here’s a quick rundown:

◆ Inbal Jerusalem Hotel (www.Inbalhotel.com). The award-winning five-star hotel is extending its popular Hertz promotional deal, where guests receive a free car rental based on a three-consecutive-night stay in one of the hotel’s Superior rooms. Within the next few weeks, the outdoor pool and Splash bar will be open for guests, alongside the hotel’s state-of-the-art health club. New bathrooms, featuring Italian marble, are also being installed in rooms on the sixth and eighth floors.

◆ Rimonim Hotels (www.rimonim.com). The chain recently promoted Nissim Levy, the executive chef at the Rimonim Eilat, to head chef of the entire 10-hotel chain. His promotion is part of Rimonim’s new lobby restaurant experience. Together with Ilan’s Coffee, a well-known chain of upscale coffee shops, Rimonim will feature a menu of healthy dishes beginning shortly after Passover. Chef Levy’s VIP upgrades include homemade cookies, fresh apples and premium chocolates by Roy, one of the country’s best-known boutique chocolatiers.

◆ Isrotel Hotels (www.isrotel.com). Reservations are being taken for the new Royal Beach Tel Aviv, which will open in a few months. Each room includes a queen-size bed, a large bathroom, a work corner, an LCD TV offering a range of Israeli and international channels, complimentary Wi-Fi Internet access, and a minibar. The majority of the rooms also feature a sea-view balcony overlooking the Mediterranean and Tel Aviv’s cityscape.

◆ Fattal Hotels (www.fattal-hotels-israel.com). In the Tel Aviv suburb of Rehovot, home to many high-tech companies and the prestigious Weizmann Institute, the country’s largest hotel chain has opened the Leonardo Boutique Hotel, an upscale facility catering to business travelers. The 116-room Leonardo has been fashioned by leading architects with a soothing modern interior design that is spread across its 10 floors.

◆ David InterContinental Hotel (www.intercontinental.com). Boasting sweeping views of the Mediterranean, this Tel Aviv hotel is considered to be a chic sanctuary and a mecca for business travelers. Located in the trendy Neve Zedek district, the David is opposite the city’s eclectic outdoor market and near historic Old Jaffa. An upgraded wellness center will reopen in the coming weeks.

◆ Sheraton Tel Aviv Hotel (www.sheratontelaviv.com). In recent months, this acclaimed five-star facility has fine-tuned its culinary offerings by hosting renowned French chefs; it has also upgraded its lobby menu and erected a posh new restaurant alongside the newly refurbished outdoor pool. The hotel’s Olive Leaf restaurant, which is helmed by its executive chef, Charlie Fadida, has been hailed in the local media as being, “one of the finest upscale kosher restaurants in Tel Aviv.”

◆ Alexander Hotel (www.alexander.co.il). Aimed at business travelers, the Alexander Tel Aviv is a 70-room upscale boutique hotel located at the entrance to the trendy Port of Tel Aviv. The suites feature a working area with a large desktop, a meeting and entertaining space for hosting private business meetings, as well as large LCD screens and a Nespresso coffee machine. ◆