(photo credit: Courtesy)
It used to be that the Tel Aviv hotel industry’s main attraction was the beach, with builders jostling for prime coastline land to develop every inch for tourism. Been there, done that.
The latest bed and breakfast frontier for Israel’s showcase city is turning out to be landlocked Rothschild Boulevard, one of Tel Aviv’s most iconic thoroughfares.
Replete with historical sites (Independence Hall), a mid-road promenade with outdoor cafes and some stunning, Bauhaus-era buildings, the avenue is also home to a growing number of boutique hotels that are offering urban comforts in a bustling location.
One of the newest is the 65 Hotel, named for its address, smack dab in the middle of the upscale Rothschild, around the corner from the luxurious Norman Hotel and just a cappuccino away from the landmark Café Noir.
“Our location is ideal, and there’s a trend among more and more Israeli couples to come to Tel Aviv to enjoy what it has to offer,” said Hotel 65’s manager Pini Natarevich. “We’re in walking distance to Neve Tzedek, the beach, Nahalat Binyamin and so many great restaurants.”
Distinguishable from all its surrounding buildings, the hotel’s structure, built in the late 1970s and formerly housing the Continental Bank, is perfectly round. Owners the Atlas Hotels Group spent four years and hired celebrity architect Haim Dotan (who designed the 430-meter-long glass bridge across a deep canyon in China’s Zhangjiajie National Forest Park) to renovate the building and add four floors to bring it up to its current eight stories and 74 rooms.
Opening its doors in September, 65 Hotel may not match the Norman’s extravagance but it’s no slouch in the luxury department.
Designed by local super-designers Lea Mahler and Arik Ben Simhon, the lobby is homey, if the home is a scion of society that collects offbeat, elegant furniture and art.
“We invested heavily in the interior design and the material,” explained Natarevich as he sat in the lobby overlooking the bustling avenue outside.
“We wanted to retain the elegant image of Rothschild.”
The rooms are equally deluxe, with elaborate attention to detail and plenty of space, unlike many city boutique hotels that provide minimum meterage.
The rooms on the higher floors offer a unique vantage of the ever-changing Tel Aviv skyline, as does a rooftop porch.
Each room is equipped with a Nespresso machine, a complimentary cosmetics case with Dead Sea skin products, and a mini-bar stocked with complimentary soft drinks. With that comes a price; however, it’s not as hefty as one would think.
“We’re providing a quality product and this is Rothschild Boulevard, so it’s not going to be an economy price. One the other hand, we’re not the Norman and charging $1,000 a night,” said Natarevich, noting that a night for two in the hotel including breakfast ranges from NIS 800 to NIS 1,200.
But it’s not just any breakfast, it’s one of the best in the city with a sumptuous array of homemade salads, cured salmon, fresh juices, baked goods that put the large hotel buffets to shame in the quality category. Entrees, ranging from Eggs Benedict to probably the tastiest French Toast in the country, are made to order and brought to the diner’s table by an extremely efficient and friendly staff. You can subtract off the hotel bill the amount of the lunch you won’t need to eat later in the day.
Natarevich explained that there is no kashrut certificate because, even though all the ingredients are kosher and the kitchen is only dairy, it operates on Shabbat in the same manner as the rest of the week.
Sealing the deal for 65 Hotel is the underground parking garage for guests (a huge plus amid the congestion in the area) and the complimentary happy hour between 5 and 7 p.m. daily, where guests can begin their stay with a glass of wine and finger food.
Tel Aviv has never been so accessible, or so much fun.65 Hotel Rothschild Boulevard, Tel Aviv
The writer was a guest of the hotel.