(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Tel Aviv has always been an amalgam of cultures, styles, new and old, ramshackle and restored. Spending a few hours around the bustling area where Ben-Yehuda and Allenby streets meet provides that entire spec - trum and more. It’s a corner a few meters from the beach, an even shorter distance from the seedy nightclubs and smack in the middle of a dazzling array of architectural diversity that once was the home of Moghrabi Square – Tel Aviv’s Times Square until its fabled theater burned down in the 1980s.
Today, amid efforts to gentrify some of the dilapidated buildings in the vicinity, the Arcadia hotel chain has entered the fray with the Arcadia Tower, touted as the first boutique business hotel in Tel Aviv.
It’s located in the 16-floor sky - scraper known as Beit Migdalor. Built in 1977, it has a fortress-like mentality it shares with Dizengoff Center and other building from the period. Filled with lawyers, electronics import/export businesses, as well as the offices of many foreign consulates and the US Embassy Public Affairs Office, Beit Migdalor doesn’t seem like a natural fit for a hotel. However, the Arcadia Towers succeeds beyond all expectations. Situated on the top two floors of the building, with a reception lobby on the ground floor, the hotel functions independently of its surroundings.
Gilad, the charming young manager of the year-old, 44-room establishment, explained that in most hotels, guests spend time in the lobby, the elevator, their room floor and the dining room.
And the rooms here are worth the effort of riding the sometimes-challenging elevator system. The rooms and suites feature bird’s-eye views of the Tel Aviv skyline and its active rooftop culture and a modern, spacious design suitable for business and pleasure.
This month, the hotel has launched a number of new attractions, such as a business lounge on the 14th floor with all the electronic amenities business travelers require; a fitness room on the 16th floor; and a Happy Hour in the ninth floor dining room. The Happy Hour features a nice selection of Israeli wines, cheeses and fruit.
In the morning, the breakfast in the same venue provides everything one would expect of a boutique ho - tel, including fresh smoked salmon, bubbling shakshuka and arrays of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Another newly inaugurated feature for hotel guests is a complimentary Friday morning walking tour, in Hebrew or English, called “Following Allenby Street.” Pointing out venerable Tel Aviv shops, bakeries and bookstores, engaging street artist and tour guide Nero Taub enthusiastically leads his group down the bustling avenue with an eye looking upward where the history of the city is more evident.
A vacation in the middle of the grimy city is not for everyone, but when that city is Tel Aviv and the hotel is the Arcadia Towers, the swarming crowd becomes a little friendlier, and the glimpses of the beauty below, beyond the grime, are a revelation. ■ The writer was a guest of the hotel.
Arcadia Towers Hotel 3 Ben-Yehuda Street, Tel Aviv www.ArcadiaHotels.co.il