When was the last time you stayed at a hotel that
really spoke to you? For me, it was last month when I spent the night
at the Art+ boutique hotel in Tel Aviv.
Located on Rehov Ben-Yehuda in the commercial and
cultural heart of the city, yet a five-minute walk from the beach, the
four-star Art+ is a little oasis of understated luxury. Part of the
Atlas management chain of concept hotels, the Art+ has art and
creativity as its theme, conceived together with Vision Hospitality. In
that vein, there's an accent on interactivity between the guest and the
The interplay begins in the corridor that leads to the lobby, where the guest encounters the metal installation Evolution and Theory
by artist Zadok Ben-David. Part of the private collection of the
hotel's owner, Doron Sabag, one of the largest art collectors in
Israel, the row of 13 one-dimensional sculptures begins with the ape,
develops to a human and then devolves to a small monkey.
It was food for thought as I entered the hotel and began to
absorb the bold colors, soft jazz and pleasant scent of the lobby -
designed to look like an art gallery. In addition to artwork from the
Sabag collection, comfortable sofas, chairs, tables, ottomans and
reading lamps abound in the large space, which is divided by a bookcase
replete with books on art and architecture.
The cordial reception
clerk gave me my room key, explaining that to turn on the electricity I
had to insert the keycard into a slot near the door. As I took the
stairs to my room, I passed a lounge with an alluring array of wine and
snacks, so I helped myself to some fresh fruit.
When I got to my room, I inserted my keycard and the
lamps, lights and air conditioning were at my disposal. When the card
is removed, it's lights out - a clever way to conserve energy in a
world where most people don't bother to turn off the lights when they
leave a room.
Now I could start to look around. And that's when the stylish
room began to communicate. "Sweet Dreams," the bedroom mirror said in
large print as I gazed around the immaculate room with its king-size
bed, LCD TV, coffee bar, carpeted floor and cork bulletin board with
brochures for local art galleries and exhibitions.
"Express Yourself," said the large pad of drawing paper on the desk, accompanied by five colored pencils.
And "Looking Good," said the bathroom mirror, reflecting gleaming white facilities and a shelf with high-quality toiletries.
On that note, I went to take a good look at the hotel itself.
In keeping with the hotel's concept, the curators of the Sabag
collection selected five Israeli artists and assigned each a floor.
While each corridor has its artist, every room on that floor displays a
segment of the artwork as well (there are 62 rooms in all).
The first floor is dominated by Ayelet Carmi's images of nature
and mythological women. On the second, Maya Attoun explores the body
with dramatic renderings of bones and blood vessels. On the third, Tali
Ben-Bassat's aquarelles depict the immensity of nature. Swiss-born Olaf
Kuhneman turns the fourth floor into the alpine forest of his
childhood. And on the fifth floor, Doron Rabina explores the interplay
of the artist and his art via his trademark eyelash painted on a
The fifth floor also has an elegant rooftop terrace, complete with citrus trees, flowering plants, tables and lounge chairs.
With such vivid images dancing in my head, I indeed had sweet dreams
that night. And the snow-white pillows and comforter were so fluffy that I
felt like I was sleeping on a cloud.
A sumptuous dairy breakfast is provided in the first-floor
lounge, which has a long table and several smaller ones, as well as an
outdoor patio. After the food is cleared away, the room serves as a
library with a large selection of art books and magazines. The hotel
also offers guided tours to local art galleries and exhibitions.
When it comes to creative concepts, the management seems to have thought of everything.
It was only when I was preparing to check out of my room that I noticed that the sign on the wall that read "HANGER" actually was a
hanger, with each letter protruding as a hook. The next time I stay at
the Art+ Hotel, I'll pay closer attention to what my room is saying.
Art+ Hotel, Rehov Ben-Yehuda 35, Tel Aviv. Breakfast is
dairy, but the hotel does not have kosher certification. For rates and
reservations, call (03) 797-1700 or visit www.atlas.co.il
The writer was a guest of the Art+ Hotel.