If location is almost everything for a hotel, then the Yam Hotel in Tel Aviv can rightfully boast everything – plus.Built on the site of a former parking lot, the city’s latest boutique hotel is situated directly across from the main entrance to the Tel Aviv Port, on the tiny Yordei Hasira Street off bustling Hayarkon Street. It’s literally a four-minute walk to the port and the beach in one direction, and a twominute walk to Dizengoff Street in the other direction.With 43 rooms spread across seven floors, the spanking new building that opened its doors three months ago is already making a splash in Tel Aviv – perhaps due to its emphasis on the nearby sea.“If you haven’t noticed, the motif of the hotel is the sea,” explains the Yam’s personable manager Regis Halimi, sitting in the cozy, terraced lobby during the 5-7 p.m.Happy Hour that offers complimentary wine, fresh juice, pastries, fresh vegetables and dips on a daily basis.Nearby is a group of Eastern European tourists sitting around a large table celebrating their vacation with a toast, an Israeli- American architectural team going over a design on a laptop, and assorted couples enjoying the late-afternoon sun.“We’re attempting to show the sea and surf culture of Tel Aviv through all aspects of the hotel’s design,” adds Halimi, pointing out the extensive use of blue in both the walls and furniture, the picture windows allowing in sunlight, the nautical items hanging on the walls and the chalkboard that lists the day’s sea and surf conditions.Upon arrival in their rooms, guests are greeted with a canvas bag containing the ubiquitous Israeli pastime matkot paddles and ball, as well as suntan lotion. On the bed is an inflated beach ball just waiting to be kicked.But you don’t have to be a sea bum to enjoy a stay at the Yam, the latest in the Atlas hotel chain. Landlubbers can also feel at home. In addition to offering free Wi-fi in all rooms, the Yam has a number of tiptop condition bicycles available for guests’ use, whether to coast down the promenade toward Jaffa or explore the bicycle paths of nearby Hayarkon Park.Back in the rooms, one of the highlights is sitting on the porch with a view that overlooks the port and the sea (all the rooms from the fourth floor up feature porches). The rooms, while not spacious, are bright, clean and airy, and the beds are large. More importantly, despite being so close to one of the nightlife capitals of Tel Aviv, the noise level is minimal.When I go to a hotel, though, whether I sleep well or not really doesn’t matter – what’s important is the breakfast. And here, the Yam did not disappoint. A far cry from those mass-produced, assembly-line hotel repasts, the morning buffet was a culinary delight, displaying the chef’s personal touch in every dish.A wide selection of breads, healthful salads including quinoa and Greek, deliciously spiced white fish and smoked salmon, and a pan of bubbly shakshuka were just some of the highlights, in addition to the freshly brewed coffee and justsqueezed selection of fruit and carrot juices.Of course, those healthy selections were immediately countered by an array of homemade pastries, including rugelach that rival Marzipan’s in richness and flavor.The lobby and adjacent terrace, which doubles as a dining room, is slightly cramped, but it didn’t detract from the thorough enjoyment of the breakfast. In fact, the intimate size of the hotel creates a homey environment in which the staff and guests are able to interact multiple times instead of experiencing an anonymous hotel experience.“We try to give personal service, and when you see the guests a few times a day, it’s easier to learn about who they are, what they’re looking for and how we can best help them,” says Halimi.For the Yam Hotel, the surf is definitely up.Prices for a couple midweek range from NIS 650 to NIS 800, including breakfast. The writer was a guest of the hotel.