The new Hotel Saul puts guests in the middle of Tel Aviv

Named for famed poet Shaul Tchernichovsky (for whom the street also derives its name), the hotel utilizes Saul puns whenever possible.

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October 21, 2018 01:13
3 minute read.
HOTEL SAUL – lodging in the heart of Tel Aviv

HOTEL SAUL – lodging in the heart of Tel Aviv. (photo credit: BOAZ LEVY)

 
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Tchernichovsky St. is about as old-world-Tel Aviv-meets-modern-city as you can get. Small mom and pop shops, hole-in-the-wall shuls and dilapidated buildings bump up against shiny and sleek condos and hipster tattoo parlors.

You’ve got the famous PhotoHouse, the country’s oldest photography store that’s bursting with historic images of pre-state and early-era Israel, and you’ve got the bustling clothing stalls off of King George St. that abut the Carmel Market, with prices so cheap that the proprietors invoke a “no try on” policy. “What, at that price? Who cares if it fits?”

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Amid that tumult is an oasis called the Hotel Saul, a new 34-room, four-floor boutique hotel.

Formerly housing an office building and still featuring some of the original floors and corridor walls, Hotel Saul creates an upscale but down home ambiance, with restored street lamps, sidewalk tables and chairs and high ceiling with modern design. The nostalgia of the design is enhanced by posters that tell the story of Tel Aviv’s iconic buildings, vintage balcony railings and silicate walls of exposed concrete and iron.

If you want to feel like you’re in the middle of the city, with all of its close-by activities as well as its noise and grit, this is the place.

Named for famed poet Shaul Tchernichovsky (for whom the street also derives its name), the hotel utilizes Saul puns whenever possible. Staff walk around wearing “Saulmate” T-shirts “Saul food” is available on the premise at the Barvazi – hyped as Tel Aviv’s first gourmet sandwicherie.

As expected, with limited space, the room sizes can be challenging and rather than cover it up, Saul announces that the possibilities range from “shoe-box” and “cozy” up to “Roomy” and “Patio” – the latter of which describes two first-floor rooms with delightful outdoor garden areas with lounge chairs and tables.

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The rooms are frankly designed to sleep in while you garner the energy to explore Tel Aviv. There’s not a lot of walking around meterage. You might have to maneuver where to put your bags though, if you have a lot.

But each room is equipped with an Apple TV (featuring Netflix, YouTube and a range of cable stations) and a Nespresso machine with a variety of coffee flavors. The beds are extremely comfortable, the décor chic and the showers are great.

The staff was friendly, but didn’t seem to be too knowledgeable about environs and events, tours, etc. to recommend. That’s why there’s free wi-fi, so Mr. Google can do the searching.

Breakfast is not included in the price (ranging from NIS 600 for the shoe-box to NIS 1,200 for the patio rooms) and if you keep kosher, that’s probably just fine. The Barvazi, conceived by chef Raz Rahav (of OCD) features some decidedly treif fare among its breakfast selections. However, among the vegetarian options are a tasty egg salad on a croissant with aioli and mizuna leaves (NIS 29), and a Tzaziki sandwich – zucchini squash, lettuce and red peppers on a seed bun (NIS 18). The Barvazi offers a package deal, which includes a sandwich or an extra-large pastry and two beverages for NIS 45. An extra bonus is sitting outside to eat and watching the pierced, the elderly, the scooters and the Tel Aviv diversity wander by.

There are plenty of great breakfast stops, both kosher and non-kosher within a close proximity, as well as a number of restaurants, like the excellent kosher Asian Chooka on nearby Bograshov St. which is then a skip and hop to the beach.

Parking in an underground lot around the corner from the hotel will also set you back an additional NIS 55, but it is certainly more convenient than looking for your own place on the cramped streets.

Shaul Tchernichovsky may not have been inspired to put pen to paper if he had stayed at his namesake, but Hotel Saul should find a niche among those who want to live elegantly in the heart of the city and don’t mind if the rooms are compact.

 The author was a guest of the hotel.

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